But the Democrats bristled at the oppositional reason of the Republican Party. “This should not be how we have voting rights in our country: what is the nature of our vote?” President Nancy Pelosi (Democrat of California) told reporters. “They talk about ‘toos’: too black, too democratic, whatever.”
“The fact is, people in the District of Columbia pay taxes, fight our wars, risk their lives for our democracy, and yet in this state they have no voice, they have no vote in the House or Senate about whether we are going to war and how those taxes are imposed ”, continued Pelosi.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Has vowed not to accept the bill in the Republican-controlled Senate, even going as far as to compare DC’s statehood to “complete socialism.” .
Other Republicans have belittled the character of Americans living in the nation’s capital.
Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) Came to the Senate Thursday to argue that Wyoming, despite its smaller population of 500,000, deserved its voting rights because it is a “working class state” rather than a refuge. for lobbyists and lobbyists. the “bureaucracy” of federal workers.
“It’s about power, that’s what it’s about. Make no mistake about it, ”Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said on the floor of the House on Friday.
Democrats, led by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, have presented state bills for decades, arguing that DC residents should have the same political power as others in the United States.
But even Democrats had been divided on the issue until recent years. The House last voted on the state of DC in 1993, when more than 100 Democrats opposed the measure, including current House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Democrat).
Since then, however, the Democratic Party has adopted DC statehood as a civil rights and voting rights issue for a city that had a majority black population until this decade.
“People who call our nation’s capital their home have been deprived of their rights and have fallen short for too long,” Hoyer said in a passionate speech on the floor evoking national calls for justice for African-Americans, noting that DC has historically been “one of our largest African American cities”.
Hoyer also noted that the Congressional coronavirus mass response law delivered at least $ 1.25 billion to each state, but only $ 500 million in aid to DC because it was classified as a territory for federal funding purposes.
Almost all Democrats who voted against the 1993 bill voted in favor Friday: Hoyer, Representatives Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, David Price of North Carolina and Jim Cooper of Tennessee. Only Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota was opposed.
Some activists are already waiting for another fight. Puerto Rico, which has been a U.S. territory since 1898, has a population of nearly 3.2 million non-voting people in Congress.