Norton Releases Her Remarks from Press Conference Held Before Today’s Hearing on D.C. Statehood Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) released her remarks from her press conference today with Committee on Oversight and Reform (COR) Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) on the District of Columbia statehood bill. The press conference was held in advance of the COR hearing today on Norton’s D.C. statehood bill (H.R. 51), which begins at 11 a.m. Carper is the sponsor of the Senate companion bill (S. 51).
The hearing we welcome today is likely to serve a dual function. It serves the necessary congressional and statutory purpose in preparation for passage of H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, which now has 215 cosponsors, virtually guaranteeing House passage in this 117th Congress.
However, the hearing, markup and House passage of the bill last Congress had an additional effect of immense importance. They boosted support for D.C. statehood nationwide. Before that hearing, markup and House passage, polls showed no majority for statehood, many with no opinions, in other words, confusion. The educational effect last Congress was transformative. A national poll conducted last month showed 54% of voters support D.C. statehood. When D.C.’s status of taxation without representation is noted, 58% of Americans support statehood, and even 42% of Republicans do, too. When taxation without representation is given as a reason for D.C. statehood, a majority of both women and men, college educated and non-college educated, younger and older, and black and white voters support statehood.
That single idea, which gave rise to the American Revolution, still resonates today, even more than other salient arguments, such as that D.C. pays higher federal taxes than any state, pays more federal taxes than 21 states and has a higher bond rating than 35 states. Much simpler bills than D.C. statehood usually take more than one Congress for final passage. As support and majorities for H.R. 51 grow with the exposure today’s hearing will again give our bill, we dare believe that statehood is on the horizon.