WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Obama On D.C. Statehood: 'I'm For It'

Could D.C. become the nation's 51st state? President Obama says he supports it.
Mr. T In D.C.: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_t_in_dc/1782961534/
Could D.C. become the nation's 51st state? President Obama says he supports it.

For the first time since he took office, President Barack Obama has come out in favor of making Washington, D.C. the nation's 51st state.

"I’m in D.C., so I’m for it," he said of D.C. statehood during an event in Washington today. "I've been for it for quite some time. I've long believed that folks in D.C. pay taxes like everybody else. They contribute to the overall well-being of the country like everybody else. They should be represented like everybody else."

Since moving into the White House in 2009, Obama has expressed support for congressional representation for D.C. residents and defended the city's right to craft its own laws and spend its own money. Last week, Obama issued a veto threat on a spending bill over Republican efforts to stop the city from implementing a marijuana decriminalization law.

But he has remained quiet on the issue of statehood, and during his first term opted not to use the city's "Taxation Without Representation" license plates on his presidential limo. He was also criticized in 2011 for agreeing to a Republican demand that prohibited D.C. from spending local and federal funds on abortions for low-income women.

Despite saying he supports statehood for D.C., Obama also said that moving the issue forward in Congress would be "difficult." Bills that would grant D.C. statehood were introduced in both the House and Senate last year, though neither has received a hearing. The last time a statehood bill was considered was in 1993.

In the the early 1980s, D.C. residents drafted and approved a constitution for admission to the union as the state of New Columbia. The move, which required an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, was not ratified by the required number of states.

Proponents of D.C. statehood say it is the only way to ensure that the city's 640,000 residents receive the same rights as other Americans, while critics argue that the Constitution created D.C. as a federal enclave to be governed by Congress.

Correction: The 1980s effort cited above was for voting representation in both Houses of Congress, not statehood. A statehood bill would only require a simple majority in both the House and Senate. We regret the error, and thank the reader who pointed it out.

WAMU 88.5

Auction Of Artifacts In Paris Stirs Protest At American Indian Museum In D.C.

"It's almost like seeing one of our own tribal members being auctioned off," says a member of California's Hoopa tribe who denounced the auction during an event at the National Museum of the American Indian.

NPR

We Don't Know How Many Workers Are Injured At Slaughterhouses. Here's Why

Injuries in the meat industry are likely to be under-reported, a new GAO report finds. Workers may be sent back to the line without seeing a doctor, or may not report out of fear of losing their jobs.
WAMU 88.5

U.S. House Rejects D.C.'s Plans For Full Autonomy Over Budget

In a 240-179 vote, the Republican-led House passed a bill that would overturn efforts by the city to take control over how it spends its money. It's a largely symbolic move: The Senate and President Obama are unlikely to go along.

NPR

Reports Peg Tech Billionaire As Funder Of Hulk Hogan's Case Against Gawker

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peter Thiel is said to be bankrolling the ex-wrestler's lawsuit. Gawker is appealing a jury verdict that awarded Hogan $140 million over the 2012 publication of a sex tape.

Leave a Comment

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