WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) held a press conference today to announce a House vote on DC statehood on Friday, June 26.
Below is excerpts of his remarks:
“The Speaker and I have agreed on that for a long period of time: that the District of Columbia citizens were not being treated fairly. Over the past few weeks, we saw further examples of why the District of Columbia’s lack of representation in Congress is so damaging. First, Senate Republicans insisted on treating DC as a territory, not a state, for the purpose of allocating emergency coronavirus response funding under the CARES Act. Now, I mention that because that’s an immediate impact of disparate treatment of the District of Columbia…”
“That’s why this action that we’re taking on Friday, [June] 26th, is so very important. We’re going to put this bill on the Floor; Eleanor Holmes Norton’s bill that is cosponsored by over 220 Members of the House of Representatives.”
“If DC were a state, it could not be shortchanged as it was under the CARES Act and its residents would be protected from the kind of civil rights violations we saw in Lafayette Square, all for the purpose of a photo op. This is not just an issue of local governance and fairness. It is a major civil rights issue as well. We must bring to an end the disenfranchisement of 700,000 American citizens…. I have been a strong supporter, and I am a strong supporter of DC statehood because, as I said earlier, I have concluded it is the only way to recognize the citizens – the American citizens – of the District of Columbia.”
“Today, I am proud to announce, as I said a little earlier, I will be bringing this bill to the Floor on Friday, June 26th for a vote.”
“The Speaker and I talked last week. We both agree this was an appropriate time to bring a bill forward to show respect for the citizens of the District of Columbia of whatever color, but also to show respect to a city who has a very large African American population. They matter, and they ought to be treated equally, with respect, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
“I hope that every Member of the Congress of the United States, and every Member of the United States Senate thinks to themselves: I’ve got a son or a daughter or an aunt or an uncle or a neighbor, and they are asked to come to work in Washington, DC, and if they move to Washington, DC proper, they will be disenfranchised. They will be less-equal citizens. What kind of a concept is that, that if I move to my nation’s capital, I will be less of a citizen in America? I hope all of my colleagues think of that when they vote on this bill on [June] 26th, and when it goes to the United States Senate. This is the right thing to do for our country, for what we believe in, for our Constitution, for our Declaration. All of us are created equal. Fifty-one will take a step towards a more perfect union.”