Monday, 08 September 2014 21:53

Norton Says First Senate Hearing in Twenty Years Takes DC Statehood to a New Level

Written by  Jon Amar | Comm Director for Congresswoman Eleanor Norton

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said today that Senator Thomas Carper’s (D-DE) announcement of the first District of Columbia statehood hearing in more than two decades highlights “a season of unusual progress for D.C. statehood.” Senator Carper, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is one of the cosponsors of the Senate companion bill to Norton’s D.C. statehood bill, the New Columbia Admission Act.

Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), who as Senate Majority Leader rarely cosponsors bills, made an enthusiastic public announcement of his cosponsorship at the unveiling of D.C.’s Frederick Douglass in June of 2013. The top three other Democratic Senate leaders, Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA), are also cosponsors. There are 99 cosponsors of the House version of the bill, close to the record of 101 House cosponsors for the bill since it was first introduced in 1983. The Senate version of the bill is only one cosponsor away from a record 17 cosponsors since it was first introduced in 1984. The hearing, entitled “Equality for the District of Columbia: Discussing the Implications of S. 132, the New Columbia Admission Act of 2013,” will be held on Monday, September 15, 2014 at 3:00 p.m.

“As chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Senator Carper has a great many responsibilities, but the statehood hearing he announced today shows how seriously he has taken his District of Columbia jurisdiction. The Carper statehood hearing, the President’s endorsement of statehood in July, and Majority Leader Harry Reid’s announcement of his cosponsorship show a troika of leadership that demonstrates the growing strength of equal citizenship for D.C. residents.”

When Norton came to Congress in 1991, her first bill was the New Columbia Admission Act. She got the only House vote on statehood in 1993. Almost two-thirds of the Democrats voted for the bill and one Republican voted for it, giving the bill a strong start, but the Democrats lost the majority in the next Congress. Since that vote, Norton, while in the minority, was able to get the D.C. House Voting Rights Act through the House in 2007 and the Senate in 2009, which would have given D.C. a voting House member, had it not been derailed by a National Rifle Association-backed amendment that would have wiped out D.C.’s gun safety laws.

 

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