The 50 senators advocating a name change for the Washington Redskins out of respect for tribal sovereignty are being asked to take a stand on behalf of the District's quest for greater autonomy.
DC Vote sent a letter on May 23 urging each senator to support three pieces of legislation to advance D.C. autonomy, including the "New Columbia Admission Act," a bill to grant the District statehood that is sponsored by Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Thomas R. Carper, D-Del.
The May 22 letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell claims the city's football team is "on the wrong side of history."
DC Vote Executive Director Kimberly Perry hopes senators recognize that a similar logic applies to the plight of the disenfranchised citizens of the District, who have no voting representation on Capitol Hill. “Congress can put the United States on the right side of history,” Perry said in a release. “We hope the Senators who feel compelled to weigh in on this issue will also take the time to consider how the unjust denial of democracy in the capital of the United States looks to people around the world.”
The full text of the letter is below:
Thank you so much for your recent initiative to weigh in on the naming of the Washington DC football team. It has been an important, yet provocative issue for the District of Columbia.
It is always inspiring when members of Congress rally behind an important issue. We would like to draw your attention to another pressing issue concerning the people of the District of Columbia.
The 646,000 DC residents are full American citizens that pay federal taxes, raise families, and defend democracy in the armed forces. But we have no voting representation in Congress, and our local laws and budget are under Congressional control, unlike any other jurisdiction in the nation.
It is discouraging that we live in a country that prides itself in advocating for democracy around the world but still hasn’t resolved the issue of restoring basic democratic rights to residents of the nation’s capital.
In our view, this injustice sends a muddled message about our commitment to democratic principles.
There are currently 3 bills in the Senate that would grant the District of Columbia greater autonomy in its local affairs and restore equal rights to its citizens.
S. 2245: District of Columbia Paperwork Reduction Act: The Paperwork reduction act would eliminate the burden on congress to review all of DC’s local laws. Only 3 times since the requirement was enacted, has Congress blocked any law or measure.
S. 2246: District of Columbia Budget Accountability Act of 2014The Budget Accountability Act would separate DC’s local budget from the federal appropriations process, allowing DC to begin spending their local tax dollars without having to wait for Congressional approval.
S. 132: New Columbia Admission Act: This act would shrink the Federal District, and make the residential area of Washington, DC the 51st State.
We hope you will work collectively on restoring equal rights to citizens of the District of Columbia in the same way you are so strongly standing tall together on the NFL naming issue.
We would be pleased to come in and speak with you or answer any questions you might have about initiatives to secure full equality for the District of Columbia.