Washington, D.C. has over 700 thousand residents—more than Vermont and Wyoming, yet it doesn't enjoy the benefits of statehood. Despite its residents paying federal income tax and being subject to the draft, it has no representative or Senators.
Knowing that the largely Democratic-leaning residents of D.C. would almost certainly add two Democratic Senators to the now-100 person ruling body, Republicans have long resisted the growing calls for D.C. statehood.
The District's nonvoting congressional Delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, recently introduced House Resolution 51, which would turn D.C. into Washington, Douglass Commonwealth—the nation's 51st state.
This past Monday, the House Oversight and Reform Committee held a hearing on the resolution, featuring testimony from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.
The hearing also featured Zack Smith—a legal fellow for the conservative Heritage Foundation—whose argument against D.C. statehood got attention for all the wrong reasons.
The Heritage Foundation’s Zack Smith, arguing against DC statehood, says DC residents “already impact the national… https://t.co/g7DvbG1yOI— Mark Joseph Stern (@Mark Joseph Stern) 1616430202.0
Smith argued that D.C. has unique representation in Congress, saying:
"There's no question that D.C. residents already impact the national debate. For the members here today, how many of you saw D.C. statehood yard signs or bumper stickers or banners on the way to this hearing today? I certainly did. Where else in the nation could such simple actions reach so many members of Congress?"
Smith claimed that the representation D.C. lacks in Congress is supplemented by their yard signs.
People didn't buy it.
"DC shouldn't be a state because DC residents have yard signs that get their message to you, and you all know this… https://t.co/ke6GNoTK6L— Kevin M. Kruse (@Kevin M. Kruse) 1616434280.0
You might think this clip is unfairly or misleadingly summarized, because surely no one would ever actually make an… https://t.co/od87Yl5FYp— Ezra Klein (@Ezra Klein) 1616434335.0
is this a joke https://t.co/Hq63Kr9jUb— ⚓️🚢Imani Gandy 🚢⚓️ (@⚓️🚢Imani Gandy 🚢⚓️) 1616430538.0
everyone say it with me: signs don’t vote https://t.co/kXfLkXMSQk— Leah Greenberg (@Leah Greenberg) 1616466878.0
D.C. would be the first state with a Black majority so no wonder they're trying to disenfranchise https://t.co/lsKxfRpp8z— Sara Pearl (@Sara Pearl) 1616439303.0
New license plate! "Taxation ....feels appropriate, actually, because of that sweet yard sign placement." https://t.co/WHDTocrANa— Scott Detrow (@Scott Detrow) 1616441299.0
The Heritage Foundation is a leading conservative think tank—but Smith's comments had some questioning that status.
This is what passes for "intellectualism" among conservatives. https://t.co/socEy1jcz2— Elie Mystal (@Elie Mystal) 1616430473.0
heritage foundation is the apex of conservative thought. its supposedly where all the smartest conservative thinker… https://t.co/bzQSgsmzu9— Oliver Willis (@Oliver Willis) 1616432960.0
This guy gets paid to think and the best thing he can come up with is that my family should not have full represent… https://t.co/blKXmOZYTx— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum) 1616433892.0
H.R. 51 is likely to pass the House—as it did last year—but faces brutal odds in the Senate, where it would require 10 Republican votes.