By Representative James Comer for RealClearPolitics

This week, the House of Representatives will vote on HR 51, a bill admitting Washington, DC as the 51st state. This bill is downright unconstitutional and would stall in the justice system for years, creating confusion until its inevitable defeat.

Due to its unique constitutional status, the federal city of Washington, DC, cannot become a state until it has ratified a constitutional amendment.

This is not the first time that DC has attempted to become a state. In 1960, the Democratic-controlled House rejected statehood for the district. Instead, they settled on the 23rd Amendment, giving it votes in the Electoral College – which is now the main constitutional obstacle to statehood.

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Congress again rejected statehood in 1993, with current Majority Leader Steny Hoyer voting no. Last year, the House passed a bill granting DC statehood, but that measure was also unconstitutional. Wisely, the Senate never considered it.

The factors mitigating previous attempts at statehood have not changed. Due to the 23rd Amendment, they have become more complex. If Congress granted DC statehood and the 23rd Amendment was not repealed, the reduced federal district would still have three electoral college votes.

Congress could then grant those votes in whatever way it saw fit: perhaps to the First Family, who would likely be the only residents of the Federal District, giving them the same vote in the presidential election as the state. from Vermont; assign them directly to the presidential candidate who aligns with the party that controls Congress; or simply not to award them at all, in direct violation of the 23rd Amendment and creating a constitutional crisis.

Robert F. Kennedy called these possibilities “nonsense,” and that’s why every Justice Department over the past 60 years has come to the conclusion that a constitutional amendment is needed for DC to become a state.

Democrats know the 23rd Amendment is a problem because they are trying to address it in HR 51. But in the absence of a constitutional amendment, any language regarding the amendment is both meaningless and dishonest.

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Equally dishonest is the rationale currently being pushed by Democrats for a state.

For years, Democrats have demanded only additional voting rights. Progress on this front has been led by Republicans. President Eisenhower led the charge for the 23rd Amendment, and his efforts were led in the House by Prescott Bush.

President Nixon signed the District of Columbia Delegate Act of 1970 and the Home Rule Act, dramatically increasing the voting rights of DC residents. In the late 1990s, Republican-led Congress stepped in and saved the neighborhood from financial and social ruin. Paul Ryan and Mike Pence also voted to improve DC’s voting rights.

Several options exist for expanding electoral representation for DC residents today, but Democrats are only interested in pursuing an unconstitutional bill to grant statehood for two reasons: power and money. .

Statehood is providing DC with two progressive senators to enable Democrats to end filibuster and resurrect unwanted radical policies such as enacting the Green New Deal, squeezing the Supreme Court, and cutting police funding.

As my Democratic colleague Jamie Raskin recently said: “[T]here is a national political logic for [D.C. statehood], too, because the Senate has become the main obstacle to social progress on a whole host of issues.

This is why national progressive organizations have joined the fight for the creation of a DC state – not on behalf of DC residents, but for political gain.

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During the House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on HR 51 last month, Mayor Muriel Bowser slightly altered the city’s rationale for statehood. She said the city wanted “full control over local affairs” – an idea the founders explicitly rejected.

If granted state status, the new state would likely impose a suburban tax on residents of Virginia and Maryland who work in the city. With the commuter tax, commuters would be paying for services and policies they have no role to shape – the same argument supporters of the state have made for years.

Taxing the income of non-residents would add $ 55 billion to the district’s tax base and double all personal income taxes collected in the city. This money would not only represent higher taxes for those who work in the city, but it would come at the expense of the budgets of the states of Virginia and Maryland.

The district would also be able to tax exempt properties such as hospitals, universities and non-profit entities.

DC’s statehood is a perfect question for national progressives and local leaders, but they’re not being honest about what they really want.

HR 51 aims to consolidate the power of Democrats in Washington to ensure greater government intrusion into the daily lives of Americans. HR 51 is unconstitutional and the wrong approach, and Congress must reject this bill.

Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.

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