Washington, DC – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), along with District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, and DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, today announced that the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, under Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), will hold a hearing on the DC statehood bill (H.R. 51) on July 24, the first time the House of Representatives has taken up legislation to make DC the 51st state in 26 years.
“For 218 years, residents of the District of Columbia have lived in our country as American citizens without equal representation or equal self-government,” Norton said. “I am particularly grateful to Chairman Cummings for his leadership in pressing forward with the necessary hearing on our DC statehood bill to enable our bill to go to the House floor. Residents of the District of Columbia have served side by side other Americans in the nation’s military since the nation was created, including today. Our residents pay more per capita in federal taxes than residents of any other jurisdiction. Despite fulfilling all the obligations of statehood, DC residents have been deprived of the equal rights in their government enjoyed by other Americans. Chairman Cummings’ announcement is a historic step for the nation and for 700,000 American citizens who live in the nation’s capital.”
“Our continued lack of voting representation in Congress is a disgrace to the District’s servicemembers and veterans who call our city home, and it is a stain on our nation’s democracy that can only be fixed through statehood,” Bowser said. “July’s hearing is an opportunity to educate Members of Congress and the American people on why we are more than ready to become a state. We are not asking for a handout – we are demanding for our fundamental rights as American citizens, and the rights for which many of our residents have fought and died.”
“This is an important opportunity, in a national venue, to once again remind our country that the citizens of the District of Columbia are not seen as equal to the citizens of the 50 states,” Mendelson said. “We pay more per capita in federal taxes, we send our sons and daughters to war, and we carry all of the duties of citizenship but don’t have all of the rights. That’s what this bill and this hearing is about.”
Norton’s DC statehood bill has a record number of cosponsors in the House (204) and Senate (32). The Senate version was introduced by Senator Tom Carper (D-DE).
Just five months into the new Congress, Norton has built historic support for her DC statehood bill. In March, the House passed H.R. 1, the For the People Act, which contained extensive findings supporting DC statehood and marked the first time in American history either chamber of Congress has endorsed DC statehood; Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) strongly endorsed D.C. statehood upon introduction of Norton’s DC statehood bill; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) unveiled a sweeping proposal to combat voter disenfranchisement, including restoring the Voting Rights Act, establishing national, automatic voter registration laws, and supporting DC statehood.
The bill is endorsed by the ACLU; ACLU-DC; AFGE, AFL-CIO; AIDS United; Americans for Democratic Action; Bend the Arc; Brady; Campaign Legal Center; Catholics for Choice; Center for Biological Diversity; Coalition to Stop Gun Violence; Common Cause; Conference of Major Superiors of Men; CREDO; DC Vote; Demand Justice; Demand Progress; Democracy 21; Demos; Friends Committee on National Legislation; Greater Washington Urban League; Human Rights Campaign; In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda; Indivisible; International Assoc. of Machinists & Aerospace Workers; Jews United for Justice; The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; League of Women Voters; MomsRising; NAACP; NARAL Pro-Choice America; National Abortion Federation; National Action Network; National Active and Retired Federal Employees Assoc.; National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund; National Urban League; NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice; NORML; People for the American Way; Planned Parenthood Federation of America; Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington; Public Citizen; Sierra Club; Stand Up America; The Democratic Coalition; Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity (URGE); and United Food and Commercial Workers.