“No taxation, without representation” is the slogan that fueled a revolution.
Those four words ignited an inferno that changed the world and birthed the United States. The basic premise is that no citizen can be taxed without representation in the legislative body that allocates those funds.
This idea sparked the American Revolution, but the nation’s highest-ranked tax base, The District Of Columbia, has never had Senate representation because it is not a state. To reconcile one of America’s greatest hypocrisies, House and Senate Democrats introduced legislation that would make The Nation’s Capital the 51st state.
The measure was introduced in the House by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who represents the District of Columbia, and its companion was unveiled in the Senate by Senator Tom Carper of Delaware.
Norton said that she has more than 200 co-sponsors in the House. In a strongly-worded statement, the senator from Delaware said:
“[D.C. statehood] isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue. It’s an American issue because the lack of fair representation given to the residents of D.C. is inconsistent with the values on which this country was founded, it is therefore incumbent upon all of us who enjoy the right and the privilege of full voting rights and representation to take up the cause of our fellow citizens in the District of Columbia.”
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser applauded the move, stating, “Generations of Washingtonians have been denied the right to participate in our democracy — to have their voices and votes heard in Congress, to help shape the future of our nation, and to have a say on Supreme Court justices.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also championed the legislation stating, “This is the time we can finally correct this historic injustice and give D.C. residents the same rights as other taxpaying Americans.” Though the bill has overwhelming Democratic support, it is seen as dead on arrival in the Senate because of Republican objections.
While the bill could pass in the House, which remains in Democratic control, its chances of clearing the Senate are nil. Democrats control the Senate because, with a 50-50 split, Vice President Kamala Harris can cast tie-breaking votes. But Democrats would need to overcome a filibuster, requiring 60 votes, for the legislation to pass, meaning they would need at least 10 Republicans to join them.
Many GOP lawmakers have expressed opposition to statehood for D.C. because its congressional representation would almost certainly be Democratic.
In the most partisan moment in American history, D.C. statehood once again will be denied because the fear of losing power outweighs the good of the people.