Statehood debate: Should D.C. just rejoin Maryland?

"We are not West Hyattsville."

That's what the new mayor of the District of Columbia thinks about whether D.C. should rejoin Maryland to become a state. In other words, the answer is no-- and as you might imagine, she's not the only one who feels that way.

During a joint press conference with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Muriel Bowser told reporters on Capitol Hill Monday-- her first full day in office-- that it isn't right that the 660,000 taxpaying Americans in D.C. don't have a vote in the House of Representatives. House leaders are planning to again take away the right for Holmes Norton to cast a committee vote, which has in the past come and gone, depending on which party is in control.

Norton pointed out that while District residents contribute $7 billion in federal dollars each year, they have no vote in Congress.

Bowser also addressed the question Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, where she said that the residents of Washington, D.C. "deserve full democracy and statehood," just like the the other states. She also referred to Holmes Norton as D.C.'s "Congresswoman" throughout the interview, a description that caused some debate on social media Sunday night because she is technically a House delegate, having no more power over federal matters than the Congressional liaisons from Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.

Bowser said Monday that there is confusion when it comes to D.C.'s level of autonomy, but she will keep sending a clear message to national and local audiences alike that the city's residents deserve the same rights as residents in any other state.


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