Thursday, April 19, 2007

No taxation without representation

In the days prior to the founding of America, a popular catchphrase was coined by Rev. Jonathan Mayhew during a 1750 sermon in Boston: "No taxation without representation."

Well, to this day, Washington, DC citizens vote for a congressman. However, they have no voting power while in Congress. It's a dire shame, too. Like all Americans, they have to pay taxes. However, they have no voting power in the Capitol building since their representatives cannot vote on legislation. This has to end and I commend Senator Joe Lieberman for taking the charge on this issue.

The WaPo reports that the House is considering a vote on the issue.
The House tries again Thursday to expand the number of its voting members to give the half-million people of the District of Columbia full representation while giving Utah an extra seat.

Democrats had to pull the bill from the floor a month ago after Republicans surprised them by proposing language, with a good chance of passing, that would have lifted the district's ban on semiautomatic weapons and other tough gun restrictions. This time, Democrats came prepared with a floor procedure blocking a gun vote.

Washington residents, arguing that their city is the only national capital in the democratic world without a vote, have sought representation for some two centuries. But passage of the House legislation, which would expand the number of voting members, set at 435 since 1960, to 437, is only a first step.

The White House has issued a veto threat, saying the Constitution specifically limits representation to states, and has a strong ally in Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

"If you want to give the District of Columbia a congressman, you need a constitutional amendment," he said in a recent speech. If it reaches the Senate, McConnell said, it "certainly will not have my support, because it is not in the gray areas. This is really quite clear."

Supporters of the legislation, led by the current Washington delegate to the House, Eleanor Holmes Norton, argue that the Constitution, in empowering Congress to "exercise exclusive legislation" over the federal capital, does give Congress the authority to give the district full voting rights.
If our senior senator cannot agree to give their representation full voting rights in Congress, then he needs to be replaced.

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