As members of Congress prepare to debate and vote on the U.S. military response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons, 632,000 residents of the District of Columbia are locked out of the process. D.C.’s delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, has no vote on the house floor and, thus, her constituents have no vote on America’s response to Syria. During a news conference Monday, Sept. 9, Del. Norton and Mayor Vincent Gray denounced D.C.’s lack of full representation in Congress.
“For us, it is taxation without representation every single time there is a vote in the House of Representatives and a vote in the Senate, but no vote for the District,” Del. Norton said during the news conference.
Each year, D.C. residents pay more than $1.6 billion in federal taxes. Since the District of Columbia has had limited self-governance, its residents have fought in every major military conflict and war for the U.S. military. Yet, those same residents have no representative in Congress who has a full vote.
“The slogan of the Revolutionary war now has perverse meaning,” said Norton. “Give your country your money and prepare to give your life, but do not expect to have a say on either. That is a description of tyranny.”
The District of Columbia has long argued for full representation for its residents. Some have said that District leaders and officials have argued the point to deaf ears of congressional leadership and that a different course of action must prevail to bring greater attention to the issue.
Mayor Gray agrees that leaders need a different strategy. “I do believe that we need a longer-term and more enduring strategy,” said Gray. “A lot of people have ideas but those ideas have to be put into a consistent, uniform strategy that will have us all moving in the same direction. Frankly, we have to increase the numbers.”
This article represents original reporting by the author. Follow Don on Twitter @Don_ExaminerWeb