Subcommittee Passes Taxation Legislation to Senate
||Wednesday, November 6, 2002
City advocates recently won a huge battle in its, "No Taxation without Representation" war. On Oct. 9, Senate Governmental Affairs Committee chairman Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) introduced the "No Taxation Without Representation Act" of 2002 before Congress broke for recess.
The legislation was passed out of the committee to the Senate. This marked the first time in 24 years that a major action on the issue of representation occurred in the Senate.
"We're on a march and we're not going to stop until we get it done," Lieberman said. "This legislation would end a terrible injustice by giving District residents an equal voice in our democracy."
"It is high time the residents of the District of Columbia be granted their much-belated national birth-right," said Lieberman. "If the President ahs to send our young men wand women to Iraq, the sons and daughters of residents of this city will go unwillingly to serve and sacrifice for their country as they have done throughout our nation's history, even they have been denied their rightful franchise. The residents of this city fight and die for our democracy, but they cannot participate fully in it."
The act would give District citizens full voting rights, which includes the election of two Senators and a member of the House of Representatives with rights equal to every other member of Congress.
Though the bill went to the Senate right as Congress was preparing for recess to campaign for their elections, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.0 was pleased with the results. "This vote is a huge boost in our strategy that requires that we make significant progress every year on D.C. congressional voting rights," Norton said. "We have more than met that goal this year."
Many feel the Senate subcommittee's acceptance of this bill is a step in the right direction.
"The passage of this act puts voting representation back on the agenda and makes a strong statement to the Senate and the rest of American that this problem will not go away until it is resolved," said Ilir Zherka, Executive Director of DC Vote.
"Every time we turn around, there is another act or bill that Congress is looking at to give us full voting rights," said Bill Anderson, a District resident. "This may be the first one in a long time that actually gets us some of the benefits, no, rights that we deserve as taxpaying citizens."
"We pay like every other American citizen through our blood, sweat and tears," said District resident Rosalind Taylor. "Those blood, sweat and tears need to be represented for us like they are for every other American citizen."
City Council Chairman Linda Cropp agrees.
"This legislation is long overdue," said Cropp. "The citizens totally deserve representation on the hill. They pay over $2 billion in taxes but do not have the representation. They have all the responsibilities and none of the rights."
Since 1801, District residents have been denied local autonomy and representation in the U.S. Government. In 1971, Congress authorized a non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives. In 1973, Congress gave District citizens the right to vote for a local mayor and city council. In 1978, the Senate and the House of Representatives approved a constitutional amendment granting the District full voting representation; however, the amendment failed when only 16 of the required 38 states ratified it.
In 1993, Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) received full representation on the Committee of the Whole through a memorandum. However, this power was stripped in 1995 when Republicans in the Republican-controlled House claimed it was just a way to give Democrats more power and that the District was not a state.
Contact Natasha Smith at District_Chronicles@hotmail.com