ROUNDUP: Amendments Force a Political Agenda on DC Residents Without Representation of Our Own

DC Vote: ‘Members of Congress should focus on their own constituents instead of trying to score cheap political points’

July 23, 2021

Will Soltero
[email protected]

This week, House members proposed several amendments in an attempt to force their own agenda on the residents of DC. Once again, the people of Washington are subject to political grandstanding from representatives refusing to work for their own constituents. So long as the people of Washington, DC live without Statehood, these battles for local control over local issues will continue.

Included below is a list of the issues House members are trying to force through in the latest version of the DC appropriations bill:

  • DC needle exchange: Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) proposed a prohibition on the use of federal funds to purchase clean syringes for exchange in DC. This program has been overwhelmingly effective at saving lives, preventing HIV, and saving money.
  • Presidential takeover of DC Police: Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) is attempting to sneak in a late amendment to strike a critical provision that would block the president from taking control of the DC Metropolitan Police Department. Coming just one summer after President Trump threatened a DC police takeover amid protests over police violence and the murder of George Floyd, Rep. Perry’s amendment would ensure a future president could take full control over more than 3,600 officers with the flick of a pen—not to mention zero input from DC officials or residents.
  • Local abortion funding: A group of over 60 members, led by Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa), proposed prohibiting federal funding from being used for abortions for low income women in DC, severely limiting access to reproductive health services in the District amid increasing demand
  • Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) also proposed an amendment directly overriding a law passed by the DC council prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees based on their reproductive choices. 
  • An amendment purely for show: Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) proposed increasing and then decreasing funding for DC courts to ensure that the District of Columbia can not decriminalize or reduce penalties associated with sex work. Once again, DC residents are at the whims of politicians trying to score themselves a talking point. 

In response to yet another example of overreach by Members of Congress on local issues in the District, DC Vote issued the following statement:

“Time and time again, Congress has  tried to dictate local affairs in DC, abusing Congress’s unjust authority over the District for their own political gain. Amendments to this appropriations bill are far from the first attempt to take control over local issues that are left to local officials everywhere else in this country. They will certainly not be the last.

“Whether it’s a life-saving needle exchange program, control of local law enforcement or access to reproductive healthcare, each of these amendments is an attempt to score cheap political points at the expense of people who are denied voting representation in Congress.

“Members of Congress should focus on their own constituents instead of trying to score cheap political points at the expense of DC residents. Did their constituents send them to Washington so they could dictate what DC residents can and cannot do?

“DC residents deserve the same rights and representation promised to all Americans. To fulfill that promise, it’s clear that the time for Statehood is now. ”