Americans living in the District of Columbia are taxed by the federal government, but not really represented. To address this, a bill now in Congress would grant DC’s single delegate the right to cast a vote. The Senate has approved the bill, but attached a provision on gun regulation to which many in the House object. So House leadership is still mulling over what to do.
Both chambers miss the bigger problem: DC is a territory and our Constitution clearly states that only states shall have full represention in Congress.
There are a number of ways around this. The residential areas of the District could become part of Maryland or Virginia, for instance. Or the Constitution could be amended.
But our current leaders prefer ignoring the Constitution entirely.
For example, Attorney General Eric Holder recently ignored and even refused to release a report from his own Office of Legal Counsel that found the legislation to be unconstitutional.
Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC’s non-voting delegate, also pooh-poohs the constitutional issue. “I don’t think members [of Congress] are in the least bit affected in their votes on the question of its constitutionality,” she says. “People vote their politics in the House and in the Senate.”
Sad but true. Our representatives take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, but their real allegiance is to their own petty politics.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.