News & Politics

There Sure Are a Lot of Weird Arguments Against DC Statehood in Congress Today

A hearing in Congress raises many fanciful tests for full constitutional rights.

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The District of Columbia has no mines. It has no car dealerships. Its Medicaid reimbursement rate is too high. These are some of the objections members of Congress made Monday during a hearing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on a bill that would admit DC as a state.

A seemingly bottomless well of new tests from lawmakers appears to confront statehood advocates. It’s only fair to examine some of them.

DC Has No Car Dealerships

This objection was voiced by Representative Jody Hice of Georgia. Hice’s argument appears to be that DC doesn’t have the amenities of other states. One problem with that: Lots of states have amenities that others lack. (Just try to buy a Jumbo Slice in Connecticut!) Another: DC actually has car dealerships. “I apologize for being wrong⁠,” Hice said when informed DC has car dealerships. “I have no idea where it is.” Please note, Congressman: Google’s search engine is an amenity DC does share with all other states.

DC Has No Mines

Representative Glenn S. Grothman of Wisconsin raised this one, saying that DC’s lack of a large manufacturing base or mines could lead to its elected representatives not really understanding the needs of other states. Mayor Muriel Bowser acknowledged that DC is mine-free. However, the Army spent years digging mustard gas canisters out of Spring Valley. That’s gotta kind of count as a mine. If not, I’m sure I’m not the only person who would consider a job offer from this person’s planned fracking operation in Cleveland Park.

DC Has No Forts

This objection from Representative Paul Gosar conveniently overlooks the fact that DC has a neighborhood named for an active Navy installation. But it also erases a great deal of local music history by ignoring all the concerts at Fort Reno. Also, unlike Gosar’s district, DC also lacks elected officials who spoke at a white nationalist conference earlier this month.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.