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Tlaib Shreds Lawmakers Who Oppose DC Statehood: 'You Support Taxation Without Representation'

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Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) says lawmakers who oppose making the nation’s capital a state are supporting an “authoritarian system.”

During a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Monday on the push to make Washington, D.C., the 51st state, Tlaib took aim at lawmakers who oppose the push as she noted the city paid more in federal taxes than 22 states and territories.

“Put simply, you oppose D.C. statehood, you support taxation without representation,” she said. “You hear me? If you oppose D.C. statehood, then you support taxation without representation.”

She continued, “In opposing D.C. statehood … these representatives and their backers over at the Heritage Foundation — that’s right — are telling over 700,000 Americans to sit down, shut up, and enjoy this authoritarian system implemented by a bunch of elites who thought it was OK to enslave people for their selfish monetary gain hundreds of years ago.”

“It is shameful that anyone would claim to support democracy and freedom and oppose statehood,” she added.

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Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), a non-voting delegate who represents Washington, D.C., introduced legislation, H.R. 51, to make the city a state.

Democrats argue that residents of the capital are deprived of representation in Congress.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) argued in 2019 that Washington, D.C., should be granted statehood as he said, “I strongly support statehood for DC … The size of this community is larger than some states. Why don’t they have senators and a member in the House?”

Last year, Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted her support for the push, writing, “Washington, D.C. has 700,000+ residents—more than some states—but they are denied full representation in Congress. It’s time to grant D.C. statehood.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also said President Joe Biden supports the push.

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In 2015, then-candidate Donald Trump appeared open to the idea of making Washington, D.C., a state. However, last year, as president, Trump said, “They want to do that so they pick up two automatic Democrat — you know it’s a 100 percent Democrat, basically — so why would the Republicans ever do that? That’ll never happen unless we have some very, very stupid Republicans around that I don’t think you do.”

Republicans have claimed that making the city a state would be unconstitutional due to Article 1,  Section 8, Clause 17 of of the Constitution which states that “Congress shall have the Power To … exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States.”

Republicans have also voiced concern that making Washington, D.C., a state would alter the balance of power in Congress by giving Democrats two more senators and more House members.

Norton’s bill would admit Washington, Douglass Commonwealth into the country as the newest state — named after abolitionist Federick Douglass.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) claimed during the hearing on Monday that Article 1 “is not an obstacle.”

“As H.R. 51 makes clear, a ‘federal district’ will remain for the federal government, its buildings and its workings; and the rest of the area, where people live, will become the 51st state,” she explained.

While it is likely Democrats in the House could pass the bill, it is unlikely that they would be able to secure the required 60 votes in the Senate as they would need to 10 Republicans to vote for the move.

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