Clinton Support for D.C. Statehood Encourages Officials

Clinton told Norton she supports DC statehood. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House and Senate Democrats pitched their national priorities  to Hillary Rodham Clinton during her Capitol Hill visit, but one Democrat was able to shore up Clinton's support on an issue close to home: District of Columbia statehood.  

But according to Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., the former secretary of State and New York senator told her she's all in on a more local issue. “I have always been with you, Eleanor.  Of course I support D.C. statehood,” Clinton told Norton, according to a statement from the District's congressional representative. Norton said Wednesday she hoped Clinton's support for statehood "will encourage the far greater activism on statehood we are seeking in the city.”  

D.C. Statehood Gets Independence Day Push

Pelosi's office encouraged other offices to tweet about D.C. statehood. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are voicing their support for the District of Columbia statehood effort ahead of Independence Day, though some of their leaders do not co-sponsor the statehood bill.  

In an email sent to House Democratic offices Thursday morning, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's press office encouraged offices to retweet Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., who tweeted, "This July 4, we renew our fight to end #TaxationWithoutRepresentation in the nation’s capital with #DCStatehood!" The "Digital Dems Early Bird" email sent to offices highlights various caucus priorities each day.

D.C. Statehood Bill a 'Take That' to Republicans

Carper, left, chaired a hearing on D.C. statehood last Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Despite the uphill battle for District of Columbia statehood, Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., has reintroduced a statehood bill noting that the District's unique political status is contrary to the American values celebrated on Independence Day.  

"These Americans serve in our military, die defending our country, serve on our juries, and pay federal taxes," Carper said of District residents in a statement. "Yet, despite their civic contributions, they are not afforded a vote in either chamber of Congress. This situation is simply not fair, and it isn’t consistent with the values we celebrate as a country on July 4th every year." Carper's introduction of the bill on June 25 garnered praise from Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser and statehood activists. All of the co-sponsors for the Senate and the companion House bill are Democrats, but supporters touted a record number of 17 original co-sponsors for the Senate bill, including all of the top Democratic leaders in the Senate.  

On Emancipation Day, D.C. Reflects on Lack of Rights

Women dress in period garb for the 2012 Emancipation Day Parade. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Emancipation Day in the District of Columbia is a time for celebrations and reflection, but also to draw attention to D.C.'s lack of voting rights in Congress.  

As public schools and local government offices closed Thursday to celebrate the 153rd anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves in D.C., Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., noted Congress was still open.  

Calls for D.C. Rights Mount on Tax Day, Emancipation Day

Protesters attach themselves to a "liberty pole" as part of a vigil to draw attention to D.C.'s lack of full representation in Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

While April 15 might just be a filing deadline for most Americans, for D.C. residents, it's a day when the words that adorn their license plates hit home.  

"The slogan ‘taxation without representation’ is something you would hope had perished with the end of the Revolutionary War, but it still applies today to the 650,000 Americans who call the District of Columbia home,” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., said in a statement Wednesday. “We feel our status as lesser citizens especially on April 15." Norton said D.C. residents pay higher federal taxes per capita than any state in the nation. As she took her impassioned message to the House floor Wednesday morning, D.C. activists were making moves in and outside the Capitol.  

Shadow Senator Visits Iowa, Leaves Trip Open to Speculation

Strauss took the D.C. statehood effort to Des Moines, Iowa. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When senators head to Iowa, speculation about presidential aspirations heats up — a fact one shadow senator who traveled to Des Moines over the weekend kept in mind.  

Paul Strauss, one of the District of Columbia's shadow senators (elected representatives who advocate for D.C. statehood), noted that politicians' trips to the Hawkeye State often raise questions about a "broader agenda."  

D.C. Hoping Obama Will Address Statehood in State of the Union Address

Obama making his 2014 State of the Union address. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It's been nearly 50 years since a president mentioned District of Columbia autonomy in the State of the Union address, but D.C. activists and leaders are hoping 2015 will be the year President Barack Obama brings the D.C. statehood effort to the national stage.  

“I think this is an opportunity for President Obama to stand up for what I think is a moral cause and bring national attention to it,” said Josh Burch, co-founder of Neighbors United for D.C. Statehood. In July, Obama voiced his support for D.C. statehood during a town hall meeting in Northwest Washington, though activists questioned whether the president would put his words into action. These activists acknowledge that one way the president could contribute to the cause is by mentioning the statehood movement in his nationally televised address Tuesday.  

Norton Introduces D.C. Statehood Bill Despite New Hurdles

Carper, left, with Norton at the D.C. statehood hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the face of likely opposition from the Republican-led 114th Congress, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., reintroduced the "New Columbia Admission Act" Tuesday, which would make the District of Columbia the 51st state.  

“Although residents recognize that today’s far-right Republican House and Senate will not move a District statehood bill, our citizens have shown that they will not reduce their activism for statehood,” Norton said in a statement. “The introduction of the New Columbia Admission Act is an important signal that this is the moment for building a strong statehood movement in the city and nationwide, in addition to the continuing work in Congress.” It is unclear whether Sen. Thomas R. Carper, the top Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, will introduce the Senate version of the statehood bill. But a Carper aide wrote in an email to CQ Roll Call that the Delaware Democrat "is eager to continue this conversation into the 114th Congress and looks forward to partnering with Congresswoman Norton on this important issue."  

Muriel Bowser, D.C. Reps Focused on Statehood Despite GOP Congress

Norton and Bowser called for a renewed D.C. statehood effort. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The District of Columbia has a new mayor, and she is redoubling the effort to make sure D.C. becomes the 51st state.  

“I said we’d forge a new path for statehood and full democracy in the District of Columbia – and today we launch an amped up federal and regional presence from the mayor’s office,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said after she took the oath of office Friday. Though Bowser has yet to release the details of her office’s statehood effort, the announcement comes after Bowser said during the campaign that she would build a regional and national coalition to support D.C. autonomy.  

'Cromnibus' Would Ban D.C. From Legalizing Recreational Pot

The District will have to grapple with a new marijuana rider. ( Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress would block the District of Columbia from legalizing marijuana for recreational use, but preserve its decriminalization law, under the spending package released Tuesday night.  

In the D.C. appropriations section, which allocates $680 million of federal funds to the District, is an amendment barring federal and local funds from being used “to enact any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or reduce penalties associated with the possession, use or distribution” of marijuana. The language would ban the city from enacting Referendum 71, a ballot initiative overwhelmingly approved by voters in November. The pot rider is similar to an amendment offered by Rep. Andy Harris, D-Md., which was being discussed in appropriations negotiations. That would have reversed a D.C. law making possession of less than an ounce of pot a civil offense and undone D.C.’s medical marijuana program, according to GOP sources. Under the introduced language, decriminalization and the medical program would be left alone.