FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: media @acludc.org
WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of the District of Columbia issued a “yes” vote recommendation on the historic vote on HR 51, the Washington, D.C. Admissions Act. For the first time since 1993, the United States House of Representatives will vote on statehood for the District of Columbia. The right to equal representation in our federal government for over 700,000 Americans is on the line.
The ACLU will speak at the Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee meeting next week, making it clear that any delay would further deny D.C. residents of their civil liberties and constitutional rights. The ACLU will be scoring this vote in the organization’s congressional scorecard, available online here.
Monica Hopkins, executive director of ACLU-D.C., said, “The over 700,000 residents of the District of Columbia are taxpayers, jurors, soldiers, and active contributors to our country’s prosperity — and they deserve equal representation in our federal government. D.C. residents pay the most in federal income taxes per capita – more than any other state, and, by nearly 80 percent, D.C. residents voted in favor of statehood. The time is now. There should be no taxation without representation.”
Sonia Gill, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, said, “Any member of the House who votes ‘no’ to HR 51 is insulting our nation’s values of liberty, justice, and democracy. Decisions on policies that impact D.C. residents’ rights, liberties, health, and welfare are routinely made by Congress — a body that neither represents their interests nor is politically accountable for its decisions regarding the District. Statehood for D.C. is long overdue.”
HR 51 would grant statehood to the District of Columbia as the 51st state, providing District residents with congressional representation of two senators and one voting member of the House of Representatives. The legislation would also transform the office of the mayor to the office of the governor, and the D.C. Council would become the new legislative assembly. The bill would grant statehood to the residential areas of the current District of Columbia as the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, and defines the reduced federal territory that would continue to serve as the seat of the federal government.
The letter is available here.