District of Columbia: Congress takes up bill to make D.C. the 51st state | The Washington Post

D.C. residents and city lawmakers packed a Senate hearing Monday for their first chance in two decades to make the case that the nation’s capital should be the 51st state. They came prepared with statistics: $4 billion in federal income taxes are paid annually by city residents. They came with constitutional theories: D.C. residents are unfairly “subjugated” without a voting member of Congress. And they came with stacks of testimony often built around one word to describe the District’s condition. When it comes to full democracy, the rights of D.C. residents are “denied,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D). From the dais, however, there wasn’t much interest. Only two senators attended the first hearing on D.C. statehood in almost 21 years. Those two were Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), who introduced the bill, and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who called the whole exercise a waste of time. Coburn then promptly left after little more than a half hour. Carper’s exact reasoning for calling the unusual hearing — and on a day that many members of his committee remained in their districts — remained unclear.

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