WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

D.C. Statehood Advocates Push For Bill That Would Put Money Into Fight

The fight for D.C. statehood may receive a cash infusion courtesy of taxpayers.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanisland/5717539888/
The fight for D.C. statehood may receive a cash infusion courtesy of taxpayers.

What's D.C. statehood worth? That question was at the heart of a D.C. Council hearing today on a bill that would put $1.1 million annually towards the fight to make D.C. the union's 51st state.

Currently, the city's three-person shadow delegation—one representative and two senators charged with fighting for the 51st star—toil in relative anonymity, working with no staff and few resources. But under the provisions of the bill, each member would paid $35,000 a year, and their offices would each receive $150,000 to be split among staffing and programming.

The bill would also set aside $550,000 for the D.C. Council to use annually for lobbying and public relations efforts related to the fight for statehood.

Statehood advocates say that the money would demonstrate the city's commitment to statehood, especially when a bill that would grant D.C. statehood is before both the House of Representatives and Senate.

"There's only one multi-billion dollar organization in D.C. with 600,000 members that's not lobbying Congress, and that's D.C.," said Nate Bennett-Fleming, the city's shadow representative.

Should the bill pass, it would mark a reversal of fortunes for the statehood cause. Until 2008 Congress prohibited D.C. from spending any money on lobbying or advocacy for voting rights or statehood, and since that prohibition was lifted the city has offered only meager grants to organizations fighting for both.

D.C. officials have also shied away from pushing statehood in recent years, opting instead for limited goals of a voting seat in the House and budget autonomy. At a recent event in the U.S. Capitol, though, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced his support for a statehood bill introduced earlier this year.

"At some point, you need to invest resources if you want to get the job done," said Paul Strauss, one of the city's two shadow senators.

NPR

'Star Wars' Editors Defy Hollywood Conventions

In a film industry often dominated by men, there's at least one exception: Many editors are women. Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey speak about their work on the new Star Wars.
NPR

Florida Says Its Fruits, Vegetables Are Safe From Invasive Fruit Fly

Since September, Florida has been fighting an infestation of the Oriental fruit fly, an invasive pest that threatened more than 400 crops. The state declared the insect eradicated as of Saturday.
NPR

GOP Debate: Scalia's Vacancy; Trump Puts Jeb On The Defense

Republicans let loose on each other in last night's South Carolina debate. Rachel Martin asks NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson about it.
NPR

West Point Students' Plan To Counter ISIS Online Strategy

The State Department sponsored a contest to find the best ways to combat ISIS propaganda online. A group of cadets from West Point got second prize. Rachel Martin speaks with team member CJ Drew.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.