Congress Takes a Crucial Step for DC Representation

The results are in according to the Associated Press, and the House has made a 241-177 decision to grant DC voting representation in Congress. This legislation would increase the body of the House from 435 to 437 seats (additionally adding an extra seat for Utah as well to maintain Democrat/Republican balance). The bill now moves on to the Senate, then finally to the President (who has, once again, threatened a Veto).

I watched the debate preceding the vote on C-Span, and was pleased to see champion of such legislation and frequent Colbert guest Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) lay a verbal smackdown to the opposition. Hopefully this footage will surface online soon, because it was AWESOME. Tom Davis, a Republican of Virginia's 11th district (my home turf), also showed his support, stating that his fellow Republicans needed to "see through the fog of armchair constitutional analyses and do the right thing."

The "fog" that Davis is referring to is the argument that the language of the Constitution states that members of the House shall be chosen "by the people of the several states." Many Democrats, however, cited multiple examples where similar language has been bypassed by Congress in order to apply certain federal principles to DC citizens (i.e. Income Taxes, etc).

Furthermore, it is my sincere belief that this matter should be observed from a perspective that looks to the inherent morals and values of this country. We are a Representative Democracy. The 23rd amendment already affords DC residents the right to vote for President. There is no reason these people should not have equal say in the coequal Legislative branch. A citizen of DC is a citizen of the United States, and now for the first time in over 200 years, our government is treating them like one.


Yes, I found it!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

D.C. residents absolutely deserve a vote in Congress.

FEDERAL TAXES: Like the rest of Americans, and unlike other territories like Guam, D.C. residents pay FEDERAL taxes. They actually pay the highest amount in taxes per capita in the nation. Can you imagine paying federal taxes, but having no vote on how your tax dollars are spent???

SOLDIERS IN WAR: Like the rest of Americans, and unlike other territories, D.C. residents have also fought and died in every American war stretching back to the War of 1812. Currently, they have no vote on whether or not their residents get sent to war. Think of screwed up that is alone.

DEMOCRACY: D.C. is the only capital of a democracy IN THE WORLD that is not allowed a vote in their national legislature. Even the people living in Baghdad can vote for a federal representative. In this case, Iraqis have more democracy than America.

CONSTITUTIONAL: The Constitution gives the Congress the power to do whatever it wants with the District. It’s called the “District Clause,” Article 1, Section 8: “To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District.” In 1800, Congress took away voting rights from D.C. using that power. That same power gives them the right to give it back. Conservative thinkers like Kenneth Starr (Clinton impeachment) and Viet Dihn (author of the Patriot Act) have come to the same conclusion. It is fair and will stand. A Constitutional amendment is unnecessary.

NO NET GAIN: Since Utah will also get an extra vote in Congress, there is no net gain for either party. This follows the tradition of introducing states like traditionally Democratic Hawaii and traditionally Republican Alaska at the same time.

FOREIGN POLICY: D.C.’s denial of voting representation has actually impacted America’s ability to carry out foreign policy. Rogue nations with poor human rights records argue that America cannot claim total innocence as they deny voting rights to the residents of their nation’s capital city. This has been an effective tool for countries with horrible records to continue their abuses.

I realize that it is a lot to swallow. But truly, it is time to give the residents of America’s capital the right to vote in Congress.