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tv   U.S. House of Representatives Washington DC Statehood Bill  CSPAN  April 22, 2021 3:30pm-4:03pm EDT

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also to protect democratic priorities including the affordable care act. >> susan page on her biography, "madam speaker," sunday night on c-span's "q&a." you can also listen to "q&a" as a podcast wherever you get your podcasts. president biden makes his first address to a joint session of congress next wednesday, april 28. just before marking his 100th day in office. watch live coverage beginning at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, online at, or listen on the free c-span radio app. >> on a party line vote, 216-208, the house today passed a bill that would make washington, d.c. the 51st state. the legislation would give washington one house representative and two senators. it exempts a sliver of land
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including the national mall, the u.s. capitol and the white house, which would remain a federal district. here's the debate from earlier today. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from new york, mrs. maloney, is recognized. mrs. maloney: thank you. i thank the gentleman from -- the gentlewoman from the district of columbia, and my dear friend, congresswoman norton, for her years of dedicated leadership on this bill. she is not only the author of the bill, but of this moment in history. today, for the second time in two years, the house will vote to overturn the wrongs of over 200 years of political repression in the district of columbia. we will vote to honor the most fundamental principle of this nation -- that all people have a right to full and equal representation in their government. our nation has not always lived up to its promise of full and equal representation.
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but that has not stopped those dedicated to equality from fighting to ensure that all people are fully represented in their government. this fundamental right is denied to the more than 712,000 americans living in the district of columbia. for more than 200 years, the district has been fighting for equal rights. despite 86% of its residents voting for statehood in 2016, congress has still not acted to ensure that the district shares in the blessings of liberty, promised by the founders in the u.s. constitution. the united states is a republic, but the people of its capital lack representation. the united states is the only democratic country that denies both voting rights in the national legislature and local self-government to the people of its capital. that is wrong and violates everything we stand for as
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americans. the district pays more in federal taxes than 21 states, and more per capita than any state. think about that. it pays more than nearly half the states in this country, yet, d.c. residents have no vote in congress. that is wrong. unfortunately, so far republicans have opposed our efforts to ensure equality for district residents. but let me be clear what republican opposition is really about. partisanship. they would rather deny voting rights for hundreds of thousands of american citizens than even consider the possibility that representatives from the new state could possibly be democrats. think about that argument. they're willing to violate the core principles of our democracy merely because the new state
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might elect representatives from a different political party. i strongly urge every member in this house to vote yes on h.r. 51, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from new york, mrs. maloney, reserves. the gentleman from kentucky, mr. comer, is recognized. mr. comer: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. comer: thank you, mr. speaker. america's federal government should be of the people, by the people, and for the people. but with h.r. 51, america's government will become of the democrats, by the democrats, and for the democrats. let's be clear what h.r. 51 is all about. it's about democrats adding two new progressive u.s. senators to push a radical agenda, championed by the squad, to reshape america into the socialist utopia they always talk about.
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if you doubt me, just listen to what our colleague, congressman jamie raskin, recently told "the washington post." he said, and i quote, there's a national political logic for d.c. statehood. the senate has become the principal obstacle to social progress across a whole range of issues, unquote. so there we have it. h.r. 51 is not really about voting representation. it's about democrats consolidating their power in washington. there are numerous problems with h.r. 51. mainly, it's flatly unconstitutional. every justice department from president kennedy's to president obama's has been consistent that a constitutional amendment is needed to grant the district statehood. robert f. kennedy said granting d.c. statehood without a constitutional amendment was inconceivable. he also said, granting d.c.
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statehood as attempted by 51 would -- h.r. 51 would produce an absurdity. this absurdity is the 23rd amendment, which acknowledges the existence of a federal district warranting three electoral college votes. while h.r. 51 includes an expedited process for the 23rd amendment's repeal in congress, the problem is this would not happen until after d.c. becomes a state. this would create mass confusion as h.r. 51 was reviewed by the courts for years. the constitution is the foundational document upon which all the laws of our country rests, and congress cannot simply dismiss it with sham legislation. but that's what h.r. 51 attempts to do. democrats want to rewrite the constitution without going through the proper process of doing so. during our committee's markup of h.r. 51, i offered an amendment that would assure the 23rd
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amendment's repeal prior to statehood being granted, but democrats opposed this amendment. why are democrats pushing such a problematic bill through the house? why are they working so hard to advance d.c. statehood instead of pursuing a constitutional amendment that would engage the entire country through a process intended by our founding fathers? because they know americans have firmly rejected d.c. statehood. i urge my colleagues to vote with the vast majority of americans and reject this unconstitutional and impractical bill. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from kentucky reserves. the gentlewoman from new york is recognized. mrs. maloney: i now yield five minutes to the gentlelady from the district of columbia, the author of this bill and moment in history, the great elinore holmes -- eleanor holmes norton,
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five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for five minutes. ms. norton: thank you, mr. speaker. and i thank my good friend, the gentlelady, for her leadership on this d.c. statehood bill. congress has both the moral obligation and the constitutional authority to pass h.r. 51. this country was founded on the principles of no taxation without representation and consent of the governed. but d.c. residents are taxed without representation and cannot consent to the laws under which they, as american citizens, must live. the state of washington, d.c., would consist of 66 of the 68 miles of the present-day federal district. the federal district would be two square miles, and congress would retain mrenery -- plenary
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authority. the admission clause, the district clause, and the 23rd amendment -- the admission clause gives congress the authority to admit new states. all 37 new states were admitted by congress. no state was admitted by constitutional amendment. and no state would have to consent to the admission of the state of washington, d.c. the district clause gives congress plenary authority over the federal district and establishes a maximum size of the federal district 100 square miles. it does not establish a minimum size or a location of the federal district. congress will reduce the size of the federal district by 30 -- reduced the size of the federal district by 30%. and it will allow the state to
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be part of the electoral college. h.r. 51 repeals the enabling act for the 23rd amendment, and the 23rd amendment itself would be quickly repealed. in any event the 23rd amendment does not establish a minimum size or a location of the federal district. the constitution does not establish any prerequisites for new states, but congress generally has considered three -- population and resources, support for statehood, and commitment to democracy. the state of washington, d.c., would meet each. d.c.'s population of 712,000 is larger than that of two states. d.c. pays more federal taxes per capita than any state and pays more federal taxes than 21 states of the union. d.c.'s gross domestic product is
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larger than 17 states. in 2016, 86% of d.c. residents voted for statehood. d.c. residents have been petitioning for voting representation in congress and local autonomy for 220 years. congress has a choice. it can continue to exclude d.c. residents from the democratic process, forcing them to watch from the sidelines as congress votes on federal and d.c. laws and to treat them, in the words of frederick douglass, as aliens, not citizens, but subjects, end quote. or it can live up to our nation's founding principles. join the 54% of americans. that is 54%, mr. speaker, and growing who support d.c.
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statehood and pass h.r. 51. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from the district yields back. the gentlewoman from new york reserves. the gentleman from kentucky is recognized. mr. comer: mr. speaker, i yield one minute to the republican leader of the government operations subcommittee from georgia, mr. hice. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for one minute. mr. hice: i thank the ranking member. i don't even know where to begin to respond to what we just heard. to imply that washington, d.c., has no representation is absolutely false. it does have local representation. also has a delegate right here in the house of representatives. and has electoral votes for the president election. seems like -- something no other city in this country has. h.r. 51 flies in the face of what our founders intended. they never wanted the seat of our government to be a state, and they specifically framed the constitution to say so.
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and yet, what the democrats really are trying to do, that they will not admit, is gain even more representation by creating a city-state whereby they get two more senators. again, this is absolutely against what our constitution, our founders intended. and this ought to be soundly rejected, permanently rejected, and with that i yield back. . the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from kentucky reserves. the gentlewoman from new york is recognized. mrs. maloney: mr. speaker, in this historic moment i now yield one minute to the distinguished the gentlewoman from california, the first female speaker in history, and our speaker of the house of representatives, nancy pelosi. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from california is recognized. the speaker: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the gentlewoman, madam chair, for yielding, and salute her for her leadership in bringing this historic
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legislation to the floor. all of us join in saluting congresswoman eleanor holmes norton who has been the patron saint of d.c. statehood since she came to congress. she has been tireless, persistent, and dissatisfied. she has built historic support for this bill which passed in the previous congress with 235 votes. i rise the speaker of the house of representatives who join the colleagues on this momentous day for american democracy as we write an historic injustice by passing legislation to finally grant washington d.c. statehood. statehood for the district of columbia is about showing respect for our democracy, for the american people, and for our constitution. that constitution begins with our preamble, we, the people. setting out our founder's vision of a government of, by, and for the people.
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yet for more than two centuries the people of washington, d.c., have been denied their right to fully participate in their democracy. d.c., as the gentlewoman from mentioned, congresswoman norton mentioned, pays more federal taxes per capita than any other state. it's budget is larger than 12 states. it's population is larger than two states. its people have fought in every american war since the revolution. the residents have been fighting for voting rights for 220 years, with a full 86% recently voting for statehood. it is well past the time to grant them the rights that they have been fighting for and that they deserve. as i said, mr. speaker, i rise as speaker of the house on this momentous occasion, but it is an official honor to do so, but
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it is also a personal privilege to join congresswoman eleanor holmes norton, the distinguished chair of the committee of jurisdiction, congresswoman maloney, and others of my colleagues, distinguished majority leader, mr. hoyer, who has made this part of his life's work in the congress. to join in the fight for statehood. as i say, a personal privilege because when i was born my father was a member of congress from baltimore, maryland, thomas d'alesandro, jr. he served as chairman of the district of columbia appropriations subcommittee. that position made him the unofficial mayor of washington because of the authority that the committee had over the district of columbia and their every decision. however, my father did not agree with that. he was a proponent for home -- what was then called home rule,
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often say statehood for the district of columbia is in my d.n.a. it went from home rule, then finally having a mayor, and now we want statehood. there is not -- we have always wanted statehood but now we finally are able to pass it in the congress. there is nothing theoretical or abstract about statehood. for example, last summer the country watched in horror as federal agents and out-of-state national guard troops were deployed against peaceful protestors in the district without residents' approval. and then on january 6, as our capitol was being defiled and our capitol police assaulted and killed, and members and staff terrorized, d.c. leaders did not have the authority to call in the national guard to protect its people. granting d.c. statehood means ensuring its leaders have the tools they need to keep people safe. the governor of any one of our states has the authority to call in the national guard.
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that is not an authority that is afforded to the mayor of washington, d.c. if that were the case we would have had protection much sooner. statehood is also a matter of civil rights. the residents of the district have a right to self-governance and control over their lives and futures. and is particularly meaningful that we pass this legislation just days after the anniversary of president abraham lincoln signing the district of columbia compensation emancipation act, freeing enslaved people in the district. today by passing h.r. 51 to admit the state of washington, douglass commonwealth to the union, the house will finally address this unjust, unequal, and undemocratic situation. we look forward to a swift vote in the senate on this essential legislation so that we can send
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this important legislation to the president's desk. at the same time house democrats will continue our work to protect every american's right to be heard at the ballot box. with that i urge a strong vote for d.c. statehood 51, h.r. 51, 51 states, easy to remember, and for its citizens' civil liberties, security, and right to have a say in our democracy. as i yield back, i once again want to commend representative eleanor holmes norton for her long dedication to justice for every person in our country. starting with the people she represents in the district of columbia. hopefully soon-to-be the 51st state of the union. with that i urge an aye vote and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from california yields back. the gentlewoman from new york reserves. the gentleman from kentucky is recognized.
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mr. comer: i yield one minute to the gentleman from arizona, mr. biggs. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from arizona is recognized for one minute. mr. biggs: thank you, mr. speaker. let me tell you what democrats dem support is really about of h.r. 51. democratic partisanship, democrat power, democrat policy. democrat progressive issues. no state has been admitted by the constitution, but no state was created from a territory which was crafted in the constitution. that's what you want to obviate. even federalist 43 quote the indispense able necessity of the seat of government carries -- it is a power exercise for every legislature of the union, i might say the world, without it not only the public authority by the mite be insulted and proceedings interrupted with impunity. but the dependence of the general government for protection and exercise of their duty might bring on the
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national -- that is what was -- is at stake here. h.r. 51 is bad for -- according to the founders, also violates the 23rd amendment. that is clear as well. and it's time that the democrats realize it, and vote this thing down. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yield back. the gentleman from kentucky reserves. the gentlewoman from new york is recognized. mrs. maloney: i now yield three minutes to the distinguished gentleman from virginia and chairman of the government operations subcommittee, gerry connolly. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized for three minutes. mr. connolly: i thank the distinguished chair woman of our committee and my good friend, eleanor holmes norton, the congresswoman from the district of columbia who soon, i hope, will have the right to vote on the floor of the house. today, mr. speaker, we come
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together to right a wrong. 750,000 fellow americans are denied the right to representation in their congress. in the very place in which congress is located. ironically. the only capital in the democratic world that denies its own citizens the right to vote to be represented. we heard a lot of subterfuge here today and we'll hear about the constitution. the constitution that clearly gives congress the right of admission of a state. mr. comer comes from kentucky, kentucky was composed of territory claimed by my state, virginia. and they were a bunch of whigs. we didn't object. and congress, not a constitutional amendment,
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admitted kentucky into the union. and they elected whigs, if you can think about that, mr. speaker. but we didn't make how you might vote a condition. but we do in this case. and i got to say there's a lot of smokescreen to coat what's really at stake here. when some say this is not about race or partisanship, you can be sure it's about race and partisanship. a city with a minority majority population that apparently might vote in a different way from some. so what? how somebody votes cannot be a test of whether they have the right to vote in a democracy. will we right this wrong today?
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will we rise above our petty partisan perspectives and fears and empower and enfranchise people who are fellow citizens simply because of their race or party identification or their geographic location? that is not the america i know and love. it's gone on too long. when the constitution was written, this place didn't exist. nor did the founders and writers of the constitution know that it would. the first capital was new york. the second capital was philadelphia. and there was a lot of back and forth about where would it finally be. it ended up here. let's right this wrong after 200 years and give our fellow americans voting representation here in the united states congress by granting statehood. i yield back.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from new york reserves. the gentleman from kentucky is recognized. mr. comer: mr. speaker, if this bill is about race i wonder why your majority leader, steny hoyer, voted against this very bill in 1993. but with that, mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from ohio, mr. jordan. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio is recognized for two minutes. mr. jordan: i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. speaker, democrats started last week with one of their members saying we should get rid of the police all together. they ended last week with another one of their members being admonished by the trial judge in minneapolis for saying ridiculous things. and what did they do in between? they passed this bill out of committee which gives two new democrat senators to the district of columbia and less than 24 hours after that bill passed in committee, they introduced legislation to pack the supreme court. in three months of democrats being in control of the federal government, they have increased the debt by $2 trillion. they created a crisis on the southern border. and they continue their push to
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defund the police. and now so they can continue their radical policies, think about what else they passed out of this body. a bill to federalize our voting laws, federalize our election laws, a bill to pack the court, as i said. they introduced that, the chairman of the judiciary committee of all people introduced that bill. here we are today pure power grab to give two democrat senators to district of columbia. there is a crisis on our southern border. the american people want us to focus on the crisis, even the president called it a crisis. let's stop the power grab. let's deal with the issues the american people want us to deal with. that's what we should be focused on. i hope, i hope we vote this bill down. i urge a no vote. yield back to the gentleman from kentucky. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio yields back. the gentleman from kentucky reserves. the gentlewoman from new york is recognized. mrs. maloney: thank you, mr. speaker. i'd like to clarify that this should be a bipartisan issue.
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republicans used to support voting representation in congress for d.c. residents. then president eisenhower called for equal political rights for d.c. residents in three state of the union addresses. then president nixon said, and i quote, it should offend the democratic senses of this nation that d.c. residents do not have voting representation in congress. in 2007, then representative mike pence said on the floor, i quote, the fact that more than a half million americans living in the district of columbia are denied a single voting representative in congress is clearly a historic wrong. with that i now yield three minutes to the gentleman from maryland and chairman of the civil rights and civil liberties subcommittee, jamie raskin. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland is recognized for three minutes. .
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mr. raskin: the consent of the governed. no taxation without representation. no conscription without representation. a republican form of government for american citizens. all of our most essential democratic principles underwrite the trajectory of the american political development which has been the admission of 37 new states since the original 13 launched the union. all of these states were admitted by one mechanism and one mechanism only -- an act of congress. exercising congressional power under article 4, section 3, to admit new states. there has never been a new state admitted by constitutional amendment. there has never been a state admission struck down by the united states supreme court because the admission of new states is a political question in the juritical sense.
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it's vested exclusively in congress to decide whether or not to admit new states. it's an exercise of the plenary power in judgment of the congress, the people's branch. it's up to congress to act. the opponents of democracy for 712,000 tax-paying, draftable american citizens right here in washington, d.c., have now focused on the 23rd amendment as the basis of their opposition. the 23rd amendment is no obstacle in any way. the purpose of the 23rd amendment was to make sure that the local population got to participate in presidential elections. the admission of the new state vindicates that constitutional purpose. h.r. 51 itself would immediately repeal the federal statute that organizes the electoral college for the district of columbia. taking care of the problem that our friends are concerned about. so why don't they support h.r. 51? well, the floor leader gave the
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game away when he said for him this was all about two new progressive liberal democrat senators. it's all about two new liberal democrat senators. they don't see taxation without representation. they don't see military service without representation when tens of thousands of people from the nation's capital have served america in every war that we've ever had going back to the revolutionary war. they don't see governments without representation, without the consent of the governed. all that they see is two new liberal democrat senators. but that cuts against everything that we believe in about american democracy. we do not deny people the right to vote based on our expectation of how they will vote. we don't disenfranchise people because we disagree with who they might elect. i would defend with my life the right of the people in kentucky
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and arizona to send my friends here even to represent them even though i disagree most of what i stand for, including their rejection of the rights of people from washington, d.c. and i would never disenfranchise them just because of that. the people of washington -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mrs. maloney: i yield the gentleman an additional 30 seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. raskin: the people of washington came to our aid on january 6, when we were being attacked by violent, fashionists, insurrection iss in this chamber -- insurrectionists in this chamber, in this capitol, they sent the national guard to defend us. the people defend our democratic rights. the question is, will we defend them? let's pass statehood for the people of washington. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland yields back. the gentlewoman from new york
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reserves. the gentleman from kentucky is recognized. mr. comer: i yield one minute to the gentleman from texas, mr. roy. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. roy: my friend from maryland makes an excellent closing case in court because he knows that this is going to be in court because he knows that this is constitutionally infirm, and he's trying to make the case that's going to have to be made in court on the losing side of the argument because it is clearly unconstitutional to add d.c. as a state by statute. and what we have here today is a simple question -- is anybody in this room believe that if lubbock, texas, had been set up as the capital seat of the united states of america that my colleagues and others on the other side of the aisle would be arguing to give it the position of statehood? no. of course not. this city was set up by the founders to be the capital seat of the united states of america. it was not set up to be a state. and when my friends said that every other state has been added


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