Monday, October 21, 2002

Eagle Forum reports:
SENATE COMMITTEE VOTES TO GIVE D.C. FULL VOTING RIGHTS IN CONGRESS. On Wednesday October 9, while Republicans were boycotting committee markup sessions to protest the snail's pace of judicial nominees' hearings, the Democrats on the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee met and passed 9-0 a measure sponsored by Senator Joseph Lieberman (D, CT) that would give the District of Columbia two senators and one congressman. Inasmuch as the District's voting registration is overwhelmingly Democratic, the net effect would be to add two new Democratic senators and a congressman. Majority Leader Tom Daschle says he expects to try to schedule a floor vote on the bill before Congress adjourns for the election. The last serious attempt to give voting representation to the District came in 1978, when a constitutional amendment to that effect passed both houses, but was unsuccessful in obtaining the necessary ratification by 3/4 of the states.

One of the big arguments for DC statehood back in the 1970s was that DC had a population exceeding that of 10 other states, according to the 1970 US Census. It had more people than 15 other states according to the 1950 Census. DC had more people than Alaska, Hawaii, and Nevada put together, or more than Vermont and Delaware put together. Those states had low black populations and DC had a high black population, so I suppose that some people thought that it was unfair that DC was not a state.

But according to the 2000 Census, DC population only exceeds that of one other state -- Wyoming. And if present trends continue, even Wyoming might surpass DC in the 2010 Census. DC is actually losing population while every single one of the 50 states gained population from 1990 to 2000. The argument for DC statehood is weaker than it has been in a very long time.

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