The Republican Platform and the quest for DC Statehood
Preserving the District of Columbia
The nation’s capital city is a special responsibility of the federal government because it belongs both to its residents and to all Americans, millions of whom visit it every year. Congressional Republicans have fostered homeownership and open access to higher education for Washington residents. Against the opposition of the current President and leaders of the Democratic Party, they have established and expanded the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, through which thousands of low-income children have been able to attend a school of their choice and receive a quality education.
Republicans have been in the forefront of combating chronic corruption among the city’s top Democratic officials. We call for congressional action to enforce the spirit of the Home Rule Act, assuring minority representation on the City Council. That council, backed by the current mayor, is attempting to seize from the Congress its appropriating power over all funding for the District. The illegality of their action mirrors the unacceptable spike in violent crime and murders currently afflicting the city. We expect Congress to assert, by whatever means necessary, its constitutional prerogatives regarding the District.
[section on expanding access to guns excised]
Statehood for the District can be advanced only by a constitutional amendment. Any other approach would be invalid. A statehood amendment was soundly rejected by the states when last proposed in 1976 and should not be revived.
There are many weaknesses in this argument and a lot of puffery.
As far as considering statehood is concerned, plenty of Constitutional Amendments took a long time or a re-do. Once failed, never again isn't about reason or logic. Regardless, Congress has no business holding hostage the locally generated and derived budget, which is not a federal undertaking--DC's local government shouldn't be forced to shut down because Congress won't pass a federal budget, etc.
Just as Congress is proud of itself for eliminating earmarks, which has benefits and also disadvantages, a Republican Congress so focused on promoting "local control" and limited government vis a vis the federal government ought to acknowledge their hypocrisy in how they choose to cripple local governance in Washington.
They argue that DC is Constitutionally under the authority of Congress and so that status should remain the case evermore, but their oversight of the local affairs is concerned more with grandstanding and being obstructive on purely local matters within the City of Washington through veto power over the local budget and the ability to add riders and requirements for local acts with no input from the local government or its citizens:
- once a Senator forced DC to put a death penalty statute to referendum
- there is a rider on DC preventing it from spending local monies on abortions
- there is a rider on DC preventing it from developing regulations around marijuana use, even though residents passed legislation in favor of legalization.