Lewis Diuguid

District of Columbia gets no respect on Capitol Hill

District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray (right) and Eleanor Holmes Norton, Democrat of D.C., (left) the District's non-voting delegate in the House of Representatives, prepared Monday to testify before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs at a hearing on statehood for D.C., on Capitol Hill in Washington. The chairman who called the hearing, Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, has secured 18 Senate co-sponsors for a statehood bill, but he doesn’t appear to have enough support from Democrats on his own committee to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote, and no further action on the bill is planned.
District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray (right) and Eleanor Holmes Norton, Democrat of D.C., (left) the District's non-voting delegate in the House of Representatives, prepared Monday to testify before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs at a hearing on statehood for D.C., on Capitol Hill in Washington. The chairman who called the hearing, Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, has secured 18 Senate co-sponsors for a statehood bill, but he doesn’t appear to have enough support from Democrats on his own committee to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote, and no further action on the bill is planned. The Associated Press

District of Columbia residents — all 650,000 people — want nothing more than what people in other states have and that’s equal representation in Congress.

They got their first hearing this week on Capitol Hill in 20 years before the Senate Governmental Affairs and Homeland Security Committee. It was a positive step.

But like Rodney Dangerfield when he was alive, they got no respect. Only two of the committee’s 16 members bothered to show up to hear what D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and others had to say.

D.C. residents like Guam, American Samoa and Puerto Rico have a non-voting delegate in the U.S. House. Under the proposed legislation, the District of Columbia would get a voting representative in the House and two senators.

D.C. with more than half a million residents has more people than Vermont and Wyoming. Its gross domestic product also eclipses the GDP in nearly 20 other states, according to the Washington Business Journal.

D.C. residents have a right to equal representation. But they also have almost no chance of such legislation passing in this midterm election year.

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