|Free DC! - Statehood Now!|
|Why We Need D.C. Statehood|
To people living in our nation’s capital, American citizenship is a broken promise.
We are the only American citizens whose predecessors lived in the original thirteen colonies, fought in the Revolution, became citizens of the United States and then lost the fundamental right to govern themselves over 200 years ago. We pay more federal taxes per capita than any state, yet we have no voice in passing these taxes or deciding how they will be spent. We even need Congress's consent to spend our local tax money.
Only in the District of Columbia can Congress impose financial and other burdens without the people's consent or participation.
Washington, D.C. has a strong economic base, but Congress prohibits us from taxing nonresident income, or two out of every three dollars earned here. Statehood would empower us to negotiate as equals a fair tax policy with other states. Congress can and does dictate how our local tax dollars will be spent, what services we can provide and which laws our government can and cannot pass. It has even prevented us from counting the ballots of an initiative on which we voted. Our chief law enforcement officer, the U.S Attorney for the District of Columbia, and our local court system are accountable to the President of the United States, but not to us.
The United States is the formal union of "states" and to have full rights and self-government one must be a citizen of a state. To be full American citizens, we need representation in Congress AND control over our local and state government. Statehood is the way to accomplish this as it only requires approval by a simple majority vote of each House of Congress and the President's signature.
Statehood is the simplest and most constitutional way to make the people of the District of Columbia full citizens of the United States of America.
Washingtonians have fought and died in every war since the Revolution of 1776, yet since 1800 no one representing us has participated in the decision to send our children to war or how our veterans will be treated when they return home.
Is it constitutional for D.C. to become a state?
Congress can reduce the size of the constitutional "Seat of the Government of the United States.” It did so in 1846 when one third of the District was returned to Virginia and those residents regained their full political rights. The District can be reduced to the area that encompasses the essential parts of the Federal Government -- the White House and the federal offices along the Mall, the Capitol and its office buildings, the Supreme Court and the Mall and monuments. In fact, Congress defined such an area in the 1973 Home Rule Act. Congress could then make D.C's residential and commercial areas the state of New Columbia.
Won’t the D.C. Voting Rights Act soon give us voting representation in Congress?
Congress may pass the act to give us a vote in the House, but this is likely to face a constitutional challenge. However, one vote is not enough. We still would not be represented in the Senate or have control over our local and state government. Moreover, what Congress gives, Congress can take away, as it did in 1874 when it abolished our territorial government or in 1995 when it imposed a financial control board on the District. With statehood, the people of the District would get full democracy AND full representation in Congress.
How do we know what the people of the District of Columbia want?
The best evidence we have is our votes for statehood. In 1980, 60% of District voters approved a statehood constitutional convention initiative, the first initiative ever approved by District voters. In 1982, 53% of District voters approved the convention's proposed state constitution (revised by the Council in 1987). It was transmitted to Congress in September 1983 with a petition for statehood. Since then, we have elected a Statehood Representative and Senators to promote statehood for us.
Statehood is simple justice. It will restore to the people of the District of Columbia the democratic rights they lost in 1800 to govern themselves and be fully part of the union they helped create.
"Years from now, you'll look back and you'll say that this was the moment ... [when] America remembered what it means to hope ... to [believe] that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is; who have the courage to remake the world as it should be." Barack Obama 2008