Norton, Carper Announce New D.C. Statehood Bill Cosponsors

Jun 9, 2020
Press Release
Occupation of D.C. by federal police and out-of-state troops highlights need for statehood

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), sponsors of the District of Columbia statehood bill in the House and Senate, respectively, said the addition of new Senate and House cosponsors of the bill in the last few days undoubtedly speaks to the effect of the unprecedented occupation of the District by federal police and out-of-state troops last week. They thanked the new cosponsors, Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI), and said that the bill, which House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) reiterated last week will go to the House floor this year, already has enough cosponsors alone to pass in the House, and is cosponsored by over three quarters of Senate Democrats.

Norton and Carper pointed to the role of federal police officers and out-of-state National Guard troops, without the consent of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, as real-time evidence that only statehood could remedy such interference.

“We have never had more momentum for D.C. statehood than we have had this Congress,” Norton said. “However, the occupation of our city in the last week by federal police and out-of-state National Guard troops, which did not occur elsewhere, was the physical manifestation of the District’s disenfranchisement. These recent events add to compelling evidence of the District’s unequal, undemocratic status and demand passage of our statehood bill.”

“Last week, the nation watched as federal agents and the U.S. military were deployed against Americans practicing their constitutional rights to peacefully protest in the District of Columbia. President Trump didn’t need approval to carry this action out because the District of Columbia is not a state – and therein lies the problem we need to fix. What the President did is contrary to who we are as Americans and what we stand for as a nation, and the issue of statehood is something both Democrats and Republicans can no longer ignore,” Carper said. “Today, I am so proud that Senator Rosen has joined my Senate bill to ensure D.C. has full authority over its police force and grant its residents equal representation in their government. For Americans who may be unsure about whether or not the District of Columbia should be granted statehood, I urge you to think about it this way: think about paying taxes to the federal government and then not having a vote to help determine how that government functions. Imagine the military being sent to your communities to patrol your neighborhoods without approval from the state you live in. That is the current reality for the more than 700,000 Americans living in the District of Columbia. This is an issue of fairness, and it is incumbent upon those of us who enjoy the right and the privilege of full representation in Congress to take up the cause of our fellow citizens in the District of Columbia and right this wrong now.”

The more than 700,000 residents of the District of Columbia pay full federal taxes but have no voting representation in Congress, and Congress has the ultimate authority over the District’s local affairs. The population of the District is larger than that of two states, and the District pays more federal taxes per capita than any state and more in total federal taxes than 22 states.

The D.C. statehood bill has not gone to the House floor since 1993 and has never gone to the Senate floor. The bill has never passed in either chamber.