Committee Files Report on Historic D.C Statehood Bill, Paving Way for House Vote Next Friday
Washington, D.C. (June 19, 2020)—Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, filed the Committee’s report after marking up the Washington, D.C. Admission Act in advance of the bill being considered on the House floor next Friday.
The bill, introduced by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton in January 2019, would admit the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth into the Union as a State consisting of most of the territory of the present-day District of Columbia.
On February 11, 2020, Chairwoman Maloney held the Committee’s historic markup—the first on a D.C. statehood bill in more than 25 years—and the Committee voted to pass landmark legislation and paved the way for next week’s vote on the House floor.
Below are highlights from the report.
- The status of the District of Columbia violates our nation’s founding principles. The Committee’s report states: “The principles of no taxation without representation and consent of the governed helped launch the American Revolution and are enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, but District residents are taxed without representation and governed without consent.”
- There is bipartisan agreement that the more than 700,000 Americans who live in the District deserve voting rights. For example, in 2007, Vice President Michael R. Pence, as a Member of the House of Representatives, said: “The fact that more than half a million Americans living in the District of Columbia are denied a single voting representative in Congress is clearly a historic wrong.”
- Congress has the authority under the Constitution to admit new states. The Committee’s report explains: “The Admissions Clause of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to admit new states. Congress has admitted all 37 new states by simple legislation.”
- The Constitution does not prescribe prerequisites or procedures for new states to meet or follow for admission. According to the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, “the Constitution permits the Congress great flexibility in admitting new States.”
- Trump opposes voting rights for D.C. residents because of how they could vote. As the President said about D.C. statehood: “They want to do that so they pick up two automatic Democrat—you know it’s 100 percent Democrat, basically—so why would the Republicans ever do that? That’ll never happen unless we have some very, very stupid Republicans around that I don’t think you do. You understand that, right?”
- The fundamental right to vote should not depend on political affiliation. The Committee’s report states: “The right of American citizens to have voting representation in Congress should not be dependent on the political parties of those citizens. The possibility that new Members of Congress might be from a different political party is not a valid legal or constitutional basis to deny statehood.”
The District pays more in federal taxes than 22 states.
The District pays more federal taxes per capita than any state.
The District has a larger population than two states.
The District has a higher per capita personal income than any state.
The District’s annual budget is bigger than 12 state budgets.
The District’s bond rating is better than 35 states.
Yet, D.C. residents have no vote in Congress, and they cannot consent to the laws that govern them.
The people of the District have been fighting for equal rights for more than 200 years.
In 2016, an overwhelming 86 percent of D.C. residents voted for statehood.