There was a moment two years ago when Democrats controlled the Presidency, the House and had 60 votes in the Senate. It would have been the perfect time to finally fully enfranchise 600,000 mainly Democratic US citizens by making Washington, DC a state. Politically, it would have been a big, long-term win for Democrats by providing them with two safe Senate seats and one safe House seat. Yet failing to use this rare opportunity didn’t just turn out to be a massive political failure, but a significant policy blunder, as well. Now the Republicans have taken control of the House, and they have again decided to start abusing the city by subjecting it to their conservative pet projects. From the Hill:
Over fierce Democratic opposition, the House on Wednesday approved a bill to reestablish a school-choice voucher system for Washington, D.C., residents.
The vote came a day after the White House said it opposed the program but stopped short of threatening to veto the legislation.
Restoring the D.C. voucher system was a top priority for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who sponsored the bill. Boehner fought back tears in defending the measure on the House floor, as he recalled D.C. parents who were grateful for educational choice.
Republicans have a long tradition of using Congress, which the residents of DC have no representation in, to force random conservative policies on the district. In the past, Republicans used Congress to stop the medical marijuana initiative, approved overwhelmingly by the voters, from going into effect and prevented money from going to a needle exchange program, despite the city’s very high HIV rates.
Congressional Democrats could have permanently protected Washington, DC from these Republican policies by by granting it statehood, yet chose to leave these people to become Speaker Boehner’s personal play thing.
I can accept that Congressional Republicans have no problem–and even enjoy–messing with the mainly Democratic and African American people of DC, but the fact that their fellow Democrats have actively chosen to allow this to continue is simply unconscionable.