This week, the U.S. House voted on a party lines to grant Washington, D.C. statehood and members of the Florida delegation weighed in on the matter.
The House voted 216-208 to approve the “Washington, D.C. Admission Act.” All of the supporters came from the Democratic ranks and all the opposition from the GOP caucus.
U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, D-Fla., weighed in on Thursday after the vote to offer his take on why Washington, D.C. should be a state.
“Our nation was built on a promise that all are created equal and are deserving of an equal say in our democracy. But for far too long, the residents of our nation’s capital have been denied adequate representation in Congress and the right to govern themselves at the local level. I am proud to support the movement for D.C. Statehood. Now it’s up to the Senate to swiftly pass this bill, admit DC into the Union and live up to America’s promise of government of, by and for the people,” Lawson said.
“This legislation would grant the new state two voting senators and, based on its population, one voting representative to Congress. It would also establish an autonomous local government, which would no longer be subjected to congressional control, Lawson’s office noted. “The Constitution grants Congress the authority to admit new states into the Union without need for a constitutional amendment – and it has done so to grant statehood to each of the 37 states admitted after the original thirteen. When evaluating a bid for statehood, Congress has historically considered support for statehood, resources and population. D.C. meets this criteria in the following ways: D.C. residents have been petitioning for voting representation in Congress and local self-government for more than 200 years – most recently in November 2016, when residents approved a statehood referendum with 86 percent of voters in favor; D.C. residents pay the most per capita in federal income taxes and generate the highest per capita GDP in the nation;
the D.C. municipal budget is larger than the budgets of 12 states; tts residents have fought in every American war since the Revolution; itts population is larger than two existing states: Wyoming and Vermont”
U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., echoed a slogan from the American Revolution as she called for statehood.
“Our country was founded on the idea of ‘no taxation without representation.’ It is unacceptable that 244 years later we’re not living up to that standard for the hundreds of thousands of Americans living in our nation’s capital,” Frankel insisted. “It is time for DC statehood.”
But Republicans from the Sunshine State also pointed to the revolutionary era and insisted Democrats were simply trying to add two U.S. Senate seats to their column.
“The Founding Fathers intended for D.C. to be a city independent of any one state. This is just another unconstitutional power grab by the Democrats to help them enact radical policies,” insisted U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla.
“Democrats are not working for the American people; they are working for themselves and their callous desire for power. D.C. Statehood is just another tool in their toolbox to transform our constitutional republic to push their radical leftist agenda,” said U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla.
“D.C. statehood is not about giving Washingtonians representation; it is about giving the Left two Democrats in the United States Senate so they can pass anti-gun legislation, pack the United States Supreme Court, and pass H.R. 1. The left can play with politics, but they can’t play with our Constitution,” Donalds added.
The measure now heads to the U.S. Senate where it will be tough for Democrats to get 60 votes to clear it.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.