Hillary Clinton recently vowed to support statehood for Washington, D.C., if elected president of the United States this November. In a post written for the Washington Informer, an “African American newspaper serving the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area,” she claimed that the district is “often neglected” in terms of federal funding because it is “at the mercy of right-wing ideologues” in Congress.
Does she mean someone like Barbara Boxer? Nancy Pelosi? Lindsey Graham? Jim (“crybaby”) Boehner? Harry Reid? Chuck Schumer? Congress is filled with radical left-wing ideologues, but I’m not aware of any radical “ideologues” on the other side of the aisle. Surely the former first “Lady,” always in full pander mode, is ludicrously inferring that racism is somehow at the heart of this evil desire to arbitrarily limit federal appropriations for the capital city.
In fact, the Senate will soon consider S. 160, the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009, which would grant the District of Columbia a representative in Congress. The House of Representatives passed similar legislation in the previous Congress and is considering a related measure, H.R. 157, in the present session.
This is absurd and unconstitutional. Though the district’s residents lack direct voting representation, they do not lack for representation of their interests and concerns. The Framers' specifically planned for a "federal town," one designed to serve the needs of the federal government. They charged every member of Congress with responsibility for the city's well-being.
The Founders intended that the nation's capital remain autonomous and not subject to political pressure from a state government. Nor did they want the federal city and its constituents, many of whom would be in the government, to have that authority and the power of an individual state, as well. They deliberately crafted the Constitution so that the District would not be within a state. That is why it is called a district, the District of Columbia. And why New York, Boston, St. Louis, etc., aren’t.
Congress lacks the constitutional authority to simply grant the District a voting representative by fiat, as S. 160 would do. The Constitution limits such representation to states alone. Even if Congress wishes to alter the means by which District issues are raised in the national legislature, it still has the legal responsibility- and obligation- to reject proposals that violate the Constitution.
There is a reason – as obvious as it is shameful- why Hillary Clinton wants to grant state’s rights to the District of Columbia. It would expand the Federal government’s power over the states and their inhabitants while giving a similar boost to the Democratic Party. Her party. And a federal government she’s (tragically) about to lead.