Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Taxation without representation wins again

I was thoroughly disgusted to see the Republican minority once again blocking legislation that would have finally given residents of the District of Columbia full representation in Congress. The compromise legislation would have given a House seat to D.C. that would most likely go Democratic and one to Utah that would most likely go Republican. Utah was just shy of getting another House seat during the last Census.
The District of Columbia has more than a half million residents which makes it larger than the state of Wyoming and very close to Vermont and North Dakota. And yet, the residents have no voting representation in Congress. The fact that this situation has been allowed to fester for so long is an affront to our democratic system of government. No other democratic country in the world denies representation to the citizens of its capital city.

The excuses given by Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for opposing the bill were lame, lame, lame. He claims that because the Constitution says that representation in Congress is for the “people of the several states”, this means that D.C. does not qualify because it is not technically a state. But as it is pointed out here, that even though the Constitution says Congress has the authority to regulate commerce “among the several states”, that has not prevented Congress from regulating commerce in D.C. Likewise, the 16th Amendment gives Congress the power to levy an income tax on the citizens of the “several states”, yet this has somehow not allowed the residents of D.C. to skip out on paying their taxes all these years.

So the half million residents of D.C. pay their taxes, fight in our wars, are bound by our laws, and yet they get no say whatsoever in the drafting and formation of those laws. That is absolutely and without a doubt unAmerican. We had another opportunity to rectify this situation the other day, but 41 Republicans and one Democrat stood in the way. I don’t know what Max Baucus’ problem is, but the Republicans were, in my opinion, acting out of sheer partisan spitefulness. They are afraid that once D.C. gets representation in the House, they will demand representation in the Senate. And the Republicans don’t want to see two more Democratic seats in the Senate, so they are willing to let half a million people continue to be without representation because of their likely political affiliation.
Two prominent black Republicans pleaded with their GOP cohorts in the Mooney Times to support the legislation to no avail.

Here is the full list of Senators who support taxation without representation:

Alexander (R-TN)
*Allard (R-CO)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
*Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Dole (R-NC)
**Domenici (R-NM)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
*Hagel (R-NE)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Lott (R-MS)
Martinez (R-FL)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Smith (R-OR)
**Stevens (R-AK)
Sununu (R-NH)
Thune (R-SD)
**Vitter (R-LA)
*Warner (R-VA)

A * means the Senator has announced plans to retire before or after this term. A ** means the senator is involved in a scandal currently which could force them to step down in the near future.
There will be an accounting during the next election and the results will not be good for Republicans who are likely to lose a half dozen more seats at least. Then, perhaps, we will finally be able to pass legislation that removes this blot from our national conscience.

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