If I were locked in a room and told to think about ways to think about how to write a piece about how a CyberSecurity Bill, Senator Mike Lee, and DC Statehood would be linked I’d have a pretty hard time coming up with something. But today DCist.com posted a piece detailing how Senator Mike Lee of Utah is attempting to amend the Senate’s CyberSecurity Bill with an amendment similar to the House’s recently defeated H.R. 3803 bill sponsored by Represenative Trent Franks.
What’s interesting is that the Committee Chair in the Senate, Mr. Liebermann has said he’ll only accept germane amendments to the bill but will he? Several weeks ago, when the House Judiciary Committee was “marking-up” H.R. 3803 I wrote committee staff on the Democratic side of the aisle asking them to repeatedly offer the text of H.R. 265, the New Columbia Admission Act, as an amendment to the anti-abortion rights bill. One prominent staffer said that Committee members would ardently oppose the bill, which they did, but it wouldn’t make much sense to offer the Statehood text because the Committee Chair and Counsel would rule the amendment as not germane and thus it would not be considered or debated.
Mr. Liebermann should stick to his word, as the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee threatened, and only accept germane amendments to the CyberSecurity Bill. Now you might say that Senator Lee and I are advocating similar strategies to pass legislation which we think is important, which is essentially true, but there are several differences. First, DC Statehood is way more germane to H.R. 3803 than Senator Lee’s bill is to CyberSecurity Second, I knew full well that the Statehood Bill would be defeated (in the remote chance that someone on the committee actually listened to my suggestion) as an amendment to H.R. 3803 but Senator Lee and his amendment have a chance, if and only if, Senator Liebermann makes concessions which he says he won’t. And the third major difference is that the Statehood Bill at it’s core is about making 618,000 American citizens free and equal with their neighbors in the 50 states and HR 3803, or the similar text used in the Senate, is about restricting the freedom of choice of 51 percent of the population without their advice or consent.
While Senator Lee and I might see similar paths to pass legislation or to make a point the Statehood Bill is about expanding democracy and his bill is about restricting it. As I wrote about yesterday, I’m sadly writing about it again today: Senator Lee, like Trent Franks and Rand Paul, is picking on the District of Columbia simply because he can and that has got to change.
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