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Making Democracy Work in the nation's capital requires action. Last week, the Senate D.C. Subcommittee on Appropriations, which has members from California, North Carolina, and Texas took up the issue of how the District of Columbias government should be structured. Later this year, House Committees with members from Alabama, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin will also address the issue. League members from 16 states, through their participation in House and Senate elections, have the political power to influence the structure of the District's local government. Members of the D.C. League have no such power because the District has no representation in the United States Senate and no voting representation in the House.
The failure of the U.S. Government to provide a way for citizens who live in the District of Columbia to be represented in our national legislature is undemocratic, unjust and contrary to the nearly 75-year-old LWVUS position on Congressional voting representation for the District. We, the delegates from the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia urge all delegates to join us in recognizing that one of the goals of the 1998-2000 Issue for Emphasis, Making Democracy Work: Seeking Change must be full voting representation for District of Columbia citizens in the United States Congress.
We, who are from D.C., ask you to imagine yourselves having to put up with our limited capacity to participate in the democratic process.
To exercise exclusive legislation in all Cases whatsoever over such capital district . . . as may ...become the seat of the Government of the United States. (Article 1, Section 8)
D.C. was part of the original colonies and its citizens did vote in Congress before the capital was moved to D.C.
According to the Federalist Papers, the lack of attention in the Constitution to D.C.s situation reflects an oversight.
In the 1990 census, the Districts population (over 600,000) was greater than that of several states (Alaska, Wyoming and Vermont).
Americans living in the nations capital Americans who pay federal taxes and can be called to war should be treated as other Americans.
Only the House has the power to
initiate money bills.
Only the Senate votes on treaties and Presidential nominees.
Conference committees, reflecting differing views of each chamber, are pivotal in legislative action.
D.C. citizens are denied representation in Congress which: spends their taxes and runs their lives on a national level, serves as a de facto state legislature, and even has final control over locally raised funds and legislation.
LWV-District of Columbia E-mail: voters1@capAccess.org Telephone: (202) 331-4122
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