statehood

DC Statehood
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Why Statehood for DC

DC residents fulfill all of the obligations of US citizenship and yet are denied representation.

Washington, DC is large enough to be a state:

  • DC has 702,000 residents, more than Vermont and Wyoming and comparable with other states including Delaware, Alaska, and several others.

Washington, DC can afford to be a state:

  • DC residents pay the highest per-capita federal income taxes in the US.
  • In total, DC residents pay more in total federal income tax than residents of 22 other states, but have no say over how those tax dollars are spent..
  • DC now operates as if were a state with the exception of federal control over our courts and people in prison for committing felonies in DC.
  • DC receives between 25-30% of its budget from the federal government; as a percentage, this is less than five states and is on a par with three others.

DC residents are denied representation:

  • DC residents have fought and died in every war, yet those armed service members are denied the freedoms they have fought to protect.
  • DC elects a non-voting Delegate to the US House of Representatives who can draft legislation but cannot vote. The current Delegate for DC is Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
  • DC residents do not have a voice in Senate Committees or on the Senate Floor. This means that DC residents have no say in the determination of who should serve as leadership for federal agencies, Serve as U.S. Ambassadors to foreign countries, sit on federal court benches or serve in the U.S. Supreme Court. This is true even for the federal courts within DC's boundaries. 

Statehood for Washington, DC is constitutional:

  • The Constitution sets only a maximum size, “ten miles square,” for the federal district that is the “Seat of the Government of the United States.” Congress has the authority to redefine the borders of the federal district and shrink its size, as it did in 1846, when the portion west of the Potomac was returned to Virginia (now Arlington and Alexandria Counties.
  • Creating the new state will require a simple reduction in the size of the federal district to an unpopulated area which includes the US Capitol, the National Mall, museums, some federal office buildings, the White House, the Supreme Court, and major national monuments.

Path to Statehood:

Mayor Muriel Bowser and the New Columbia Statehood Commission decided to pursue statehood through what is known as the “Tennessee Plan.” Under the Tennessee Plan, the prospective state’s  electorate votes on statehood and ratifies a constitution, without an enabling act, and then uses this as a basis to petition Congress for admission. This approach was pioneered by Tennessee in 1796 and used by Michigan, Iowa, California, Oregon, Kansas, and Alaska to gain admission to the Union.  

DC voters opted to satisfy the following four conditions for Statehood prior to filing an enabling act with Congress: 

  • Residents affirmed the desire to become a state, and 86% of voters supported the Washington, DC Admission Act.
  • Ratified a State Constitution. 
  • Established new state boundaries, which would preserve a smaller federal district required by the Constitution. 
  • Committed to a republican form of government that is representative, with elected officials including the election of United States Senators and Representatives on equal footing with the other states in the Union. 

Under the Tennessee Plan a bill must pass the US House of Representatives and US Senate and then must be signed by the President of the United States.