13 Love Letters

Last week in a particularly shameful moment for Congress, the House of Representatives voted to overturn a law passed by the Council of the District of Columbia that would prevent employers from discriminating against employees based on health care decisions. Under the Constitution and even the Home Rule Charter Congress has the right to do this but it does not mean that it’s the right thing to do. For a Congress run by those who champion the phrase ‘local control over local affairs’ the vote to overturn the District local law by the House of Representatives was a clear violation of the spirit of that phrase and the ideology behind it.

There were two positive outcomes from that vote: 1) It meant nothing because the Senate won’t take up the disapproval resolution and the President promised to veto it if it got to his desk; and 2) thirteen Republicans voted against the disapproval resolution and thus voted with the District of Columbia. This doesn’t mean we have 13 new GOP statehood supporters but it does present us with an opportunity to make new friends in the GOP which has been rather difficult in the past. So while drafting ‘love letters’ to these 13 GOPers is a bit overboard it’s probably a good idea for as many of us as possible to send them a brief note of thanks. The House will be in GOP hands for the foreseeable future so if we’re serious about being a state we need to be serious about making GOP friends. It’s kind of hokie but a thank you note is a nice gesture that will hopefully be appreciated.

Below is a list of House Republicans who voted against the disapproval resolution and with the District as well as contact information for their Legislative Directors (LD). If you have 10 minutes send these 13 members of Congress a thank you note for standing with the District on this vote.

  1. Coffman, Mike (CO-8);  LD: Dina Ellis (dina.ellis@mail.house.gov)
  2. Costello, Ryan (PA-6); LD: Dante Cutrona (danete.cutrona@mail.house.gov)
  3. Curbelo, Carlos (FL-26); LD: Adam Wolf (adam.wolf@mail.house.gov)
  4. Dent, Charlie (PA-15); LD: Andrea Uckele (andrea.uckele@mail.house.gov)
  5. Dold, Robert (IL-10); LD: David Stern (david.stern@mail.house.gov)
  6. Gibson, Chris (NY-19); LD: Rebecca Shaw (rebecca.shaw@mail.house.gov)
  7. Hanna, Richard (NY-22); Leg. Counsel: Robert Wagener (robert.wagener@mail.house.gov)
  8. Jolly, David (FL-13); LD: Jenifer Nawrocki (jenifer.nawrocki@mail.house.gov)
  9. Katko, John (NY-24); LD: Zach Howell (zach.howell@mail.house.gov)
  10. McSally, Martha (AZ-8); Chief of Staff: Justin Roth (justin.roth@mail.house.gov)
  11. Meehan, Pat (PA-7); LD: Michael Kirlin (Michael.kirlin@mail.house.gov)
  12. Reed, Tom (NY-23); LD: Drew Wayne (drew.wayne@mail.house.gov)
  13. Stefanik, Elise (NY-21); LD: Chris Perry (chris.perry@mail.house.gov)

Let’s thank those who stood with the District (Democrats too) and voted against HJRes43 because it’s the right thing to do and maybe it helps us gain a few friends for larger battles down the road.

Josh Burch

Brookland, DC

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What Can You Do for D.C. Statehood?

Originally posted on Neighbors United for DC Statehood:

  1. Host a meet and greet at your house. Invite friends and family over for a discussion on statehood – Neighbors United for DC Statehood would be happy to attend and facilitate. It’s a great way to learn about the cause and ask questions in a comfortable and informal setting. Email us to schedule: unitedforstatehood@gmail.com
  2. Invite someone familiar with D.C. history and the statehood cause to your place of worship, school, or civic group to discuss D.C. democratic history and the push for statehood. Have the group pass a resolution in support of D.C. Statehood. Here is a sample: DCStatehoodResolution Every single ANC & Civic/Citizen Association should pass these resolutions!
  3. Write, call, or visit members of Congress and ask that they support the statehood bill. To start with email or tweet to these priority Senators: 114th Priority Senators
  4. Ask your friends and relatives in the 50 states to lobby THEIR members…

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Tax Day & D.C. Emancipation Day 2015

TAXDAY2015Tax day (April 15th) and D.C. Emancipation Day (April 16th) are two big opportunities to raise awareness about our status and cause on tax day and honor our past and work for our future on DC Emancipation Day. We need your help in making these days a success!

First, on April 15th we are asking that you use Facebook, Twitter, Email, or other on-line venue to raise awareness about our plight. Use the image in this post and share it with friends and family to spread our message that we pay over $24 billion in taxes, more than 21 states, so where’s our representation? Where’s our statehood?

Second, on April 16th, DC Emancipation Day, we’ll be having our first statehood advocacy day of the 114th Congress. From 12:30pm until 4pm we’ll be on meeting with Senate offices building support for the statehood bill that Senator Carper will introduce next week. WE NEED YOU TO JOIN US. Seriously, we need a big showing to let staff and Senators know that even with grim prospects for the bill this Congress we’re still energized, excited, and passionate about fully joining the union as the 51st state. No experience on the Hill needed as we’ll break up into teams each led by wonderful & knowledgeable people. If you can’t join us but have family and friends who live in CT, OR, MN, RI, MI, NM, or VA please let me know because we need them to email their Senators on our behalf. We’ll supply sample email text and contact info for them. You can RSVP for the advocacy day here or by emailing us at unitedforstatehood@gmail.com.

Please let us know if you’ll be able to help spread our message on Tax Day, DC Emancipation Day, or both. We need you!

Thank you,

Josh

unitedforstatehood@gmail.com

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Constitutional Restoration And Preeminence Act of 2015

This is an April Fools Post…plausible but fictional none the less.

Congressman Richard Weed (R-LA) announced that on April 15th, 2015 he will introduce the Constitutional Restoration and Preeminence Act of 2015. The legislation reaffirms Article I Section 8 of the Constitution which gives Congress exclusive legislative authority over the federal district. The legislation would amend and virtually gut the 1973 Home Rule Act for the District of Columbia. Rep. Weed’s bill would allow District residents to continue to vote for 13 members of the Council but would expand the Council’s number to 27 and have 14 councilmembers be appointed by Congress. Additionally, the mayor would still be elected by the residents of the District but that vote must come before Congress for an approval vote at which time Congress could vote to appoint a different mayor than elected by the people of the District.

At a press conference announcing the legislation with his wife, Tammy, and their two children, Chastity and Colt, by his side Rep. Weed said “since my first year at the Fred Phelps Online Bible & Law School I have slept with the three things most important things in my life on the night stand next to my bed: the Constitution, a King James Bible, and a Glock semi-automatic handgun. These three things that I hold most dear to my heart are under threat by the drug crazed liberal atheist leadership in the District of Columbia. Over the last several years those people have shown that they hate guns, God, and the Constitution and this bill will put them back in their rightful and constitutionally sanctioned place as subjects of Congress. District residents should be overjoyed by this act of benevolence as they will now have 27 Councilmembers, a mayor, and 535 members of Congress all looking out for their best interest. It will now be the most over-represented place in the world and that is a reflection of the greatness of our democracy.”

This move which would roll back 40 years of Home Rule is sending shock-waves across the District’s elected leaders. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton could not be reached for comment because aide said she was on the first day of parking school and the first rule of good parking is ‘No Phones.’ The aide promised a fiery floor speech from the Congresswoman when Congress reconvenes. Mayor Muriel Bowser who was attending her 800th town hall meeting in 100 days responded with both sshock and anger “this isn’t THEIR #FreshStart it’s OUR #FreshStart and OUR #Freshtart is about following the will of the people in #All8Wards. We Are Washington, DC, not them!”

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, whose authority would be drastically undermined by this bill, was mildly frustrated by the news saying “this is a subversion of democracy but I’m not sure what we’re supposed to do. Congress has the authority to do it and our hands are tied. There will be a time to fight but now is not that time so I urge my colleagues and the residents of the District to be patient and let’s see how all this plays out. By the way, I know a highly qualified consultant we should issue a sole source contract to who can assess the fiscal impact of this legislation.”

Rep. Weed is one of Ted Cruz’s closest allies in the House and is a frequent participant in late night sessions with Senator Cruz at Tortilla Coast and even voted for him to be Speaker of the House in January. When Rep. Weed faced a tough primary challenge from a well-financed GOP establishment candidate in 2014 he got a “TCP” tattoo to brag about his conservative credentials as a member of the Tortilla Coast Posse. When Senator Cruz was reached on his presidential campaign bus, The Grandstanding Express, for comment about the bill he leaned back in his chair as his trademark Dr. Evil grin spread across his face and said “Congressman Weed is a close confidante and I think the Constitutional Resotration And Preeminence Act (CRAP Act) makes a lot of sense. We have strayed from the Constitution and the people in the District need to understand that they belong to Congress. The days of free love, free weed, and free abortions must come to an end and an era of free guns and free Bibles is coming.”

Another presidential hopeful who has meddled into District affairs of late, Marco Rubio, was caught off guard by the announcement of the legislation. Senator Rubio, who was seen hastily putting on a blaze orange hat and hunting vest handed to him by an aide before meeting with reporters at the Des Moines airport said simply “I have not seen the legislation yet but once my pollsters look it over I’ll have more to comment on. It sounds promising to those of us who love so dearly above all else Guns, God, and Freedom.”

Democrats in Congress were less willing to discuss the legislation on the record but one Senator who wished to remain anonymous said “in truth, this will really help us with fundraising especially in the District. It’s amazing how little our party has done for District citizens yet they keep giving us loads of money. Hell, in 2011 the Democratic President said ‘John, I’ll give you D.C.’ and then in 2012 he got over 90% of the vote in the District and those suckers gave and continue to give us millions upon millions of dollars. I mean when we had the Senate from 2012-2014 and they were content with just a hearing on statehood, that’s it!”

President Obama who has issued meaningless statements in support of the District’s efforts for budget autonomy in past budgets stopped to speak with reporters after visiting a District restaurant “I haven’t seen the bill but I’m inclined to say that I would veto if it gets to my desk unless of course I can broker a deal where I can get something I actually care about legislatively in exchange for it. I’ve used the District as a bargaining chip before and once you start it’s surprisingly hard to stop.”

Speaker Boehner and Chairman Chaffetz could not be reached for comment so it remains unclear when and how fast this bill will speed through the parliamentary process in the House.

When asked why he planned to introduce the bill on April 15th Congressman Weed said “look, the District pays $24 billion annually in taxes with no strings attached so I did not want to mess up that gravy train by doing something before Tax Day. We need that free money, heck even with no representation the District still out paces 22 states in bringing in money to the federal piggy bank.” The CRAP Act, might or might not become law but it does present the most overt attack on Home Rule since the Control Board and it gives fonder for statehood absolutists who have always called Home Rule: Home Fool!

And with that: Happy April Fool’s Day Everyone! Obviously the above is 100% fictional but possible. Have a great day and please don’t tell anyone in Congress about this as it might give them an idea.

Josh Burch

Brookland, DC

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Disapproval Resolution of Ted Cruz

Senators Ted Cruz and James Lankford recently offered resolutions of disapproval, a rarely used legislative tool that would overturn two laws recently passed by the District of Columbia. There actions drip irony and hypocrisy as of two proponents of local control over local affairs are attempting to impose their will on a jurisdiction that they are not form nor have the people here played a role in electing them. We in the District know full well that the Constitution and our own Home Rule Act allows this type of move by Congress but just because Congress has the authority to do something it does not mean they should. Sadly, the power of politics trumps their allegiance to principles in this case.

As a self-proclaimed Constitutional conservative it’s also quite troubling that Senator Ted Cruz seems have malleable principles when it relates to the District of Columbia. We are not a state, and yes we would like to be one, but we function as a state in almost every way shape and form. We have our own elected leaders, our own local government that serves as a city, county, and state government, and the vast majority our budget is raised through local taxes. What makes us different is that we pay federal taxes, over $20 billion in 2012, yet we are denied representation in Congress and our local laws all must pass through Congress first. We are the last vestige of taxation without representation on American soil and surely this is something true blooded conservatives should oppose.

If Senators Cruz and Lankford were truly principled constitutional conservatives they’d understand Article III of the Constitution that grants the judicial branch of government the power and authority to determine whether laws are in violation of the U.S. Constitution. The District is once again being used as a prop for politicians who we didn’t elect to grandstand from in order to pander to their base and fundraise from. If our laws are unconstitutional courts should determine that not unelected legislators from elsewhere. Since these two Senators care so much about the local laws of the District of Columbia I encourage them to register and vote here so they too could understand the pain and injustice of living under the last remnants of pre-Revolutionary America.

Maybe it’s time our Council passes a disapproval resolution of Senators Cruz and Lankford like this draft: CruzDisapprovalResolution

Josh Burch

Brookland, DC

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