City Desk

Barack Obama Says He’s All for D.C. Statehood

President Barack Obama said today he was in favor of D.C. becoming a state, though he didn't indicate that he'd do anything about it beyond saying so.

"I'm in D.C. so I'm for it!" he said today at a town hall-style meeting at D.C.'s Walker Jones Education Campus for his My Brother's Keeper Initiative, according to USA Today. "Folks in D.C. pay taxes like everybody else, they contribute to the overall wellbeing of the country like everybody else, they should be treated like everybody else."

After Obama was re-elected in 2012, he put the District's "Taxation Without Representation" license plates on his official vehicles, a sign that he at least acknowledges that D.C. residents don't have equal rights. Other than that, he's remained largely quiet on the issue of D.C. statehood. (Obama has called for greater budget autonomy in the past.)

The president did say today that while the issue of D.C. statehood is important, it would be "difficult" to get it through Congress.

Statehood activists are already applauding Obama's statement.

“President Obama’s support for DC statehood shows that he understands the injustice we face every day," DC Vote Executive Director Kimberly Perry said in a press release. "The President has repeatedly proposed greater autonomy for DC, only to see those proposals die because of partisan squabbling in Congress. We hope the administration will now request that his Senate allies hold a hearing on the DC statehood bill.”

Photo by Mr. T in D.C. via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

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  • Mark

    Why don't we just reincorporate "DC" into Maryland, it is just one little city after all.

  • Say no to Home Rule for D.C.

    If the district gain full statehood, how will it financially support itself? Most places where people come to tour belongs to federal government. Federal government can reduce their portion of the finances for D.C.-- in fact the Capital and White House can move and should move because neither should be housed within a state. The only people who will gain from home rule for the district are those in political office (Congressioanl Representatives, Mayor, Council Members). There will be no middle class, because this class will become the poor. I suggest we return back to commissioners, D.C. Government ran much better and their were more opportunity for all people, especially our children. Congress please do not give up your oversight over the District of Columbia Government...because I have one word for you, Detroit.

  • cminus

    @Say no, I think you have it backwards -- the DC Council should oversee Congress, since the former is so much more capable than the latter.

    (Admittedly, a cheerful golden retriever named "Boomer" could do a better job of running things than either the DC Council or Congress, but setting that option aside the DC Council is the less-incompetent choice locally.)

  • http://dcstatehoodyeswecan.org A. Loikow

    Retrocession to Maryland has been proposed since 1803, but neither the people of the District of Columbia nor the people and elected officials of Maryland want it. In fact, right now, there is a campaign to get five counties in western Maryland to secede from that state. Adding a major city to Maryland would only aggravate their grievances. In contrast to statehood, which only requires Congress to pass a single law, retrocession requires the consent of Congress, the people of D.C. and the legislature of Maryland. In other words, it ain't going to happen.

    The State of New Columbia would consist of the residential and commercial areas of the current District of Columbia. The Federal monumental core, consisting of all those white marble building Americans think of as their capital (i.e., the Capitol, White House, Supreme Court, Mall, monuments, East and West Potomac Parks, and Federal office buildings lining Constitution and Independence Avenues) would remain in a smaller District of Columbia under the "exclusive legislation" of Congress.

    D.C. has a strong tax base despite the fact that Congress prohibits D.C. from taxing nonresident income or 2/3 of the income earned in D.C. The Federal government doesn't pay D.C. property taxes and D.C. sales tax is not collected on sales in Federal gift shops and cafeterias, etc. D.C. benefits from the Federal government in the same way that Maryland and Virginia and other states with large Federal facilities do -- from taxing the income of their residents working for the Federal government and taxes generated by the activities of Federal contractors and visitors. The Federal payments D.C. receives now are basically from the same grant programs that apply to the states (highway trust fund, Medicaid, HUD programs, etc.).

    What statehood would give the people of D.C. is the right to self-government. We would be represented in our national legislature and elect our own state and local governments, rather than be under the thumb of an unelected state and federal legislature, Congress. The 10th Amendment to the Constitution would finally apply to us, as would Article IV of the Constitution's guarantee of a "Republican Form of Government." In other words, we would finally regain our status as free and self-governing Americans, instead of being the "subjects" of the rest of the country.

  • http://AOL Tonya

    I would not support Obama to be a dog pound officer.He would probably give them fleas.He is the biggest liar in the world and Bill Clinton is second

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