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The most ridiculous excuses House Republicans invented to oppose DC statehood

It would be ‘the only state without an airport, without a car dealership, without a capital city, without a landfill,’ said Rep. Jody Hice.

By Emily Singer - March 23, 2021
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Virginia Foxx

House Democrats are moving forward with legislation that would make Washington, D.C., the 51st state in the nation — and Republicans are mad.

At a Monday hearing of the House Oversight and Reform Committee on a bill that would make the District of Columbia a state, Republicans floated a number of baseless reasons to oppose it and for why the more than 700,000 people who reside there do not deserve full voting representatives in Congress.

At the crux of the GOP argument is that the district is an overwhelmingly Democratic city, and Republicans do not want Democrats to gain two more senators and one voting member of the House.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has made that argument for years, and many Republicans in the House and Senate echoed those sentiments on Monday. 

Republicans had other reasons D.C. shouldn’t be a state as well.

Here are the five most outrageous arguments Republicans made for why D.C. shouldn’t be a state:

D.C. is too small geographically to be a state

In an angry diatribe, Kentucky Rep. James Comer said, “Speaker Pelosi is stepping in with an unconstitutional bill to make Washington, D.C., a city smaller than Columbus, Ohio, and a city that just happens to be 90% Democratic, the 51st state.”

However, members of Congress from some states that are geographically much larger than the district in fact represent far fewer people than live in the city.

The state of Wyoming covers more than 97,000 square miles, but just under 580,000 people live there, according to census data. The District of Columbia, on the other hand, has just 61 square miles, but a population of more than 705,000 people, according to the census.

Comer’s main objection would appear to be, however, that making Washington a state is part of a larger leftist plot to change the country entirely.

He said, “D.C. statehood is a key part of the radical leftist agenda to reshape America, along with the Green New Deal, defunding the police, and packing the U.S. Supreme Court.”

D.C. shouldn’t be a state because the voters are too Democratic

Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina prodded D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser into saying at the hearing that if the city became a state, it would elect two Democrats to the Senate.

In 2016, Bowser was in office when residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of petitioning Congress to grant them statehood.

Foxx asked Bowser, “What political affiliation do you anticipate the two new senators would be?” and whether she thought the senators “would be moderate Democrats or liberal Democrats.”

Bowser responded that the district has elected Democrats, independents, and Republicans to city positions.

“From what I’m hearing, this Democrat-led Congress is attempting to use the razor-thin majority it has to entrench itself in power,” Foxx concluded.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) said in response,

I’m grateful for our last questioner on the Republican side, my friend Ms. Foxx, for actually letting the cat out of the bag. This is about race and partisanship and affiliation. She asked a series of questions of the mayor of the District of Columbia that I think are profoundly inappropriate, to characterize how people might vote were they granted the right of statehood to have two senators, and what kinds of particular philosophical attitudes those two senators might have. We have never made partisanship a condition of statehood.

D.C. shouldn’t be a state because it doesn’t have an airport, landfill, or car dealerships

Georgia Rep. Jody Hice said the Founding Fathers didn’t intend D.C. to be a state because it didn’t have airports or car dealerships.

“Under this bill, D.C. would in fact become the first among states — which is exactly what our Founders sought to avoid. D.C. would be the only state, the only state, without an airport, without a car dealership, without a capital city, without a landfill, without even a name on its own, and we can go on and on and on,” Hice said. 

Hice later learned that the district does have car dealerships, but said he didn’t know where any of them were.

Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina agreed with Hice’s argument. 

“D.C. would not have an airport, which most states have, if not all,” Norman said. “The dealership, I will tell you the only dealership now there is a Tesla dealership, which is I think a high-end car.”

There are many car dealerships in the city.

D.C. shouldn’t be a state because it doesn’t have manufacturing, mines, or agriculture. 

Rep. Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin said Washington couldn’t be a state because its main industry is tourism and retail, not farming and mining.

“I was taught manufacturing was so important for creating wealth of the country in a way that retail or tourism is not. Can you tell me about the manufacturing or agriculture or mining in your district? … I am not aware of virtually any of that in your city,” Grothman asked Bowser.

Bowser responded, “There may be states that rely on manufacturing, and I would argue that their economies aren’t as good as ours.”

D.C. residents don’t need voting rights because members of Congress can read lawn signs

This argument was made by one of the witnesses Republicans invited to Monday’s hearing.

In his opening statement, Zack Smith, a legal fellow at the right-wing Heritage Foundation, said D.C. residents don’t need voting members of Congress because they can influence Congress with lawn signs in the city:

But even everyday citizens of the District have readier access to all members of Congress and most executive branch officials — and with that access, an increased ability to influence the national debate — than do citizens in other parts of the country. How many committee members on their way to this hearing today passed yard signs, banners, or even billboards advocating D.C. statehood? I certainly did. Nowhere else in the country would it be possible to reach so many members of Congress so easily.

The more than 700,000 people who live in the District of Columbia do not have voting representation in Congress, and yard signs are no substitute.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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