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
There are a lot of good things happening in March for D.C. statehood all of which you can be a part of. Don’t be shy and please join us and take ownership of the cause that will make 660,000 Americans full and equal citizens:
- On March 17th at 6:30pm at the Busboys and Poets in Edgewood/Brookland we’ll be hosting a panel discussion titled “From #DCFerguson to #DCStatehood – Fighting for equality from your living room to on-line and in the streets.” We will be looking at other social justice movements to learn from their strategies and tactics to help move the statehood effort forward. We have a great panel with Veronica Davis, Sarah Anne Hughes, Eugene Puryear, and Clinton Yates. Take a look at the Facebook page hereor on Busboys page here. We hope you will join us that evening and encourage your friends and family to join us as well.
- As always there are emails and tweet to be sent to targeted Senators (and House members too) as well as other actions we all can take from home or from a neighborhood civic group that are laid out in 5 Easy Steps. We all can do something for statehood and cumulatively it will all have a big impact. The power and effectiveness of the statehood movement lies in the hearts, homes, neighborhoods, and Wards that make up this wonderful city-state. If we collectively work for it we will achieve it.
- And finally, please save April 16th as a date where you’ll take off from work to both commemorate DC Emancipation Day and to spend the afternoon on the Hill lobbying for DC statehood. Senator Carper has committed to introducing the statehood bill before DC Emancipation Day and we will have our first big lobby day of the 114th Congress then and we need you to be with us. Please let me know if you can join us that day as we would love to have you!
Let’s March Forward for D.C. statehood!
While a revolution for statehood might get us there faster resolutions for statehood are an important component of expressing and demonstrating widespread support for the cause. In 2013, the Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association, the Bloomingdale Civic Association, the Bates St. Civic Association, and the Hillcrest Community Civic Association all passed resolutions in support of D.C. statehood. These resolutions help show that the people that make up the civic fabric of the District care about the statehood cause and support it.
Recently, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Walter Deleon (5C02) introduced a resolution to get ANC 5C to support the resolution and it is time that others follow suit. While a referendum on statehood is the best way to set the record straight about what the people of D.C. want these resolutions also have value. These resolutions help demonstrate that there is widespread support for statehood among the grassroots groups that truly know and reflect the thoughts, cares, and concerns of the citizenry.
In the coming weeks or months if you are a member of an ANC, Civic/Citizens Association, another civic group, or even a business/business association please propose that the resolution is considered and passed by whatever group you belong to and share it with us. Let’s build a widespread network of civic groups from Ward 1 to Ward 8 that all stand united in support for statehood, the only thing that will make us free and treat us fairly and equally within the American union.
Here is a draft of the resolution that can be adapted to you group’s liking: DCStatehoodResolution
Are you at home today? With a day in the house why not lend 5 minutes or an hour to lend your voice to encourage U.S. Senators to support the D.C. statehood bill (New Columbia Admission Act)? Senator Carper has committed to reintroducing the statehood bill this year and today is a great day to let other Senators know that we want them to cosponsor the bill.
You can either send a simple tweet to a Senator’s account like this: .@SenJeffMerkley please take a stand for fairness & equality and cosponsor the #DCStatehood bill.
Or you can send a simple email to the staff members who are the leads for the statehood bill in select offices. You should feel free to pour your heart, mind, and soul out in an email or you can make it short and sweet like this:
Dear Staffer X,
Please ask Senator Y to take a stand for the fair and equal treatment of the citizens of the District of Columbia by cosponsoring the New Columbia Admission Act when Senator Carper introduces it this year.
You can find twitter handles & staff contacts for our targeted Senators here: 114th Priority Senators
Every tweet, email, or phone call makes a difference so please lend your voice to the cause today.
Thanks for helping make this Snow Day a #DCStatehood Day too!
Below is my testimony before a Joint “Roundtable” (it was a Hearing but due to fear of violating the Budget Act of 2015 the Council changed the title to Roundtable) about respecting the vote and will of District voters:
Joint Public Hearing on B21-023 & B21-025
I care very little about the bills before the Council today but I care deeply about democracy. I care deeply that my voice and my vote should be respected, honored, and have the same value of the votes of my family, friends, and neighbors in the 50 states. My two beautiful children deserve to be treated fairly and equally with children around this country. And yet what I care about and believe as it relates to fairness, equality, and basic tenets of democracy don’t apply to the District, the city where I was born and raised and where I am now raising a family.
Congress a “democratic” body where we are denied representation over and over again has imposed its will on the District and for too long we, the citizens and elected leaders, have capitulated. The time for capitulation must end and the time for confrontation is upon us. We have no say in the laws Congress passes, we have no oversight over the judges they confirm, and a system that denies 660,000 tax paying Americans full and equal citizenship rights does not deserve our respect.
I urge you all to push this forward in confronting any and all riders that treat us differently than the 50 states. We must not just oppose one rider, we must oppose them all. We should openly and brazenly ignore all budget riders that Congress imposes upon us without our consent. Let’s force Congress’ hand and openly defy them. You all are simply doing your job. You are trying to develop a tax and regulatory system to best implement an initiative overwhelmingly passed by the citizens of the District. You all are being good stewards of District affairs and yet in this unjust system that we live under you could be breaking the law. I urge you to press forward and don’t back down.
I’m here today because I care about democracy. I believe that we deserve to be treated freely and fairly as the 51st state in the union. We in the District, citizens and elected leaders, need to stand up and make sure that our votes, voice, and collective will are respected because if we never stand up for ourselves how can we ever expect Congress to one day stand up for us?
Brookland, Ward 5