DC Vote Leads Advocacy Effort On Capitol Hill
DC Residents Meet With Congressional Staffers
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July 7, 2011
The advocacy group DC Vote led District of Columbia residents and activists to over twenty meetings with House of Representative staffers of both parties today, where they presented a letter co-signed by nearly 100 organizations from across the
country. The activists called on lawmakers to oppose any social policy "riders" affecting the District's local affairs that may be introduced on the House floor later this month during consideration of the 2012 Financial Services Appropriations bill.
"It is important that DC residents are proactive and have face to face meetings on Capitol Hill, to let members of Congress know that real Americans are affected by their decisions regarding the
District," said DC Vote Public Affairs Director Eugene D. Kinlow.
Tracey Loh, who was born and raised in DC and has been arrested twice protesting congressional interference in local affairs, discussed her motivation for attending the meetings: "I want these members of Congress to see who they are hurting, to look me in the eyes and tell me they don't think I deserve the same rights as their constituents." DC residents have no voting representation in Congress despite paying full federal taxes, and the decisions of their local elected officials are subject to congressional approval and override.
Currently, the 2012 Financial Services Appropriations bill contains one DC-specific rider, which would reinstate a ban on the District using local tax revenue to provide low-income women with equal access to abortion services through Medicaid, a practice currently in place in 17 states. DC activists fear other past restrictions, lifted by the 111th Congress, will be reintroduced on the House floor.
DC's non-voting delegate in the House, Eleanor Homes Norton, joined the activists for a briefing before they fanned out to congressional offices. Norton encouraged them to continue standing up for their rights, whether in face to face meetings or in the street protests that erupted across the capital this spring. Addressing the activists, Norton said "You are leading a new revolution in this town and sending a new message: don't underestimate us."