Voting rights debate
The District is not a U.S. state and therefore has no voting representation in the Congress. D.C. residents elect a non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives, currently Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C. At-Large), who may sit on committees, participate in debate, and introduce legislation, but cannot vote on the House floor. The District has no representation in the United States Senate. Unlike residents of U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico or Guam, which also have non-voting delegates, D.C. residents are subject to all U.S. federal taxes. In the financial year 2011, D.C. residents and businesses paid $19.6 billion in federal taxes; more than the taxes collected from 19 states and the highest federal taxes per capita.
A 2005 poll found that 78% of Americans did not know that residents of the District of Columbia have less representation in Congress than residents of the 50 states. Efforts to raise awareness about the issue have included campaigns by grassroots organizations and featuring the city’s unofficial motto, “Taxation Without Representation“, on D.C. vehicle license plates.There is evidence of nationwide approval for DC voting rights; various polls indicate that 61 to 82% of Americans believe that D.C. should have voting representation in Congress. Despite public support, attempts to grant the District voting representation, including the D.C. statehood movement and the proposed District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment, have been unsuccessful.
No Taxation Without Representation!
By David Agnew – whitehouse
That slogan rings just as true today as it did back in 1773.
After living in the District for four years, President Obama has seen firsthand how unfair it is for D.C. residents to spend their lives working hard, raising children, and paying taxes without a vote in Congress.
We hope you noticed that during his Inauguration President Obama’s Motorcade was sporting the D.C. “Taxation without Representation” license plates. Well, we’ve got some good news for you.
Those tags are staying on.
President Obama supports a vote in Congress for the people of Washington, D.C. — as well as Home Rule and budget autonomy.
President Obama will continue to show his support for efforts in Congress to bring full representation for the people of the District of Columbia — including displaying its license plates.
So thanks for your petition, and taking part in the We the People platform.
David Agnew is Deputy Assistant to the President and the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs