Following Last Weekend’s D.C. Statehood Strategy Summit, Norton to Speak on D.C. Statehood at Progressive Roundtable on Capitol Hill, Tomorrow

Nov 18, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced that Norton will take advantage of another opportunity to carry the District of Columbia statehood message by speaking at the November Progressive Roundtable hosted by Progressive Democrats of America tomorrow, Wednesday, November 19, at 1:15 p.m. on Capitol Hill, Cannon House Office Building, room 121.  Last weekend, Norton opened the D.C. Statehood Strategy Summit hosted by the D.C. Statehood Coalition.  The Summit was the first official gathering of D.C. statehood activists since September’s historic Senate hearing on D.C. statehood, the first congressional hearing on D.C. statehood in more than two decades.

“D.C. statehood moved considerably during the 113th Congress, particularly with the first-ever Senate statehood hearing,” Norton said.  “D.C. statehood, of course, is a progressive issue, but with the first Senate hearing on statehood it has moved onto the congressional agenda.  The importance of statehood has become ever more apparent.  To take a recent issue, I stood with a bipartisan group whose states have moved on marijuana reform without federal government or congressional interference, although marijuana is still classified as a dangerous substance under federal drug laws.  However, D.C. faces threats to overturn our marijuana legalization initiative, approved by two-thirds of the voters.  There are only two differences between the states that have reformed and D.C.  They are states, and we are a city subject to congressional interference and pay more federal taxes than residents of any state.  Can it be any wonder that D.C. is insisting on becoming the 51st state?  We hope that tomorrow’s roundtable will shed more light on our common ground and further build the progressive coalition for D.C. statehood.”

In September, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing on the D.C. statehood bill, the New Columbia Admission Act (H.R. 292/S. 132), sponsored by Norton and Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), the chairman of the committee.  The bill has a record number of House and Senate cosponsors.

Norton got the only House vote on statehood, in 1993, not long after being elected to Congress.  Almost two-thirds of the Democrats and one Republican voted for the bill, giving it a strong start, but the Democrats lost the House majority in the next Congress.  Since that vote, Norton was able to get the D.C. House Voting Rights Act through the House in 2007 and the Senate in 2009, which would have given D.C. a voting House member had it not been derailed by a National Rifle Association-backed amendment that would have wiped out D.C.’s gun safety laws.

Other Members of Congress will be at the Progressive Roundtable talking about issues such as a fracking ban on public lands, preserving Social Security and Medicare, the U.S. Ebola response, a Wall Street tax, and more.