Support the District of Columbia-Maryland Reunion Act, H.R. 472
Congressional Democrats have signaled their intent to add new states to the Union, beginning with the District of Columbia and, quite possibly, Puerto Rico. Just last year, the House of Representatives voted along party lines to make D.C. a state. The Senate never considered that bill.
The Framers of the Constitution never intended to make the “District” mentioned in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution a state. The Constitution must be amended to make Washington, D.C. a state.
As Roger Pilon of the Cato Institute once noted, this has been the conclusion of every presidential administration since John F. Kennedy, with the exception of the Obama administration. During the Obama administration, the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) did actually find that D.C. statehood was unconstitutional, but OLC was overruled by then-Attorney General Eric Holder.
Democrats want to make the District of Columbia a state for one reason and one reason alone: power. The addition of the District of Columbia as a state would mean one new voting member in the House and two new senators. Considering voting patterns in the District of Columbia, it’s fairly safe to say these would be Democratic seats.
The fact of the matter is that statehood for D.C. is unconstitutional, but there are other ways, with historical precedent, to address this issue. The original federal district included land ceded to the Congress by Maryland and Virginia. In July 1846, Congress passed legislation to allow Arlington and Alexandria to retrocede into the Commonwealth of Virginia. The retrocession was accepted by the Virginia General Assembly in March 1847.
The District of Columbia-Maryland Reunion Act would retrocede residential areas of the District of Columbia into Maryland, leaving a small area designated as the National Capital Service Area. Among other transition provisions, the District of Columbia-Maryland Reunion Act would make the Delegate for the District of Columbia a member of the House from Maryland, as well as other statutory changes needed to transition the District of Columbia into Maryland. The increase in members of the House would be temporary.
The District of Columbia is known for using “no taxation without representation” on license plates. This throwback to the days of the American colonists who used the phrase in response to taxes passed by the British Parliament. American colonists had literally no representation in the British Parliament. Residents of the District of Columbia, however, do have representation in the House.
Still, retrocession of residential areas in the District of Columbia is a way to address this issue in a responsible way, without the very significant constitutional concerns that making the District of Columbia a state would bring. For these reasons, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to cosponsor the District of Columbia-Maryland Reunion Act, H.R. 472.