Committee for the Capital City
PO Box 77443
Washington, DC 20013-8443
Testimony of Dana Rohrabacher, 6/23/2004
Testimony of Hon. Dana Rohrabacher, 6/23/2004
Before Committee on Government Reform, Tom Davis, Chairman
June 23, 2004
Testimony before the Committee on Government Reform
"Common-Sense Justice for the Nation's Capital:
An Examination of Proposals to Give D.C. Residents Direct Representation"
Hon. Dana Rohrabacher
Mr. Chairman, I want to compliment you for holding this hearing,and for your concern for remedying the lack of congressional representation for the residents of our nation's capital.
"No taxation without representation" is a fundamental principle of our democratic society, which since our founding has continually expanded the voting franchise. Today, thanks to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, there is nowhere in the world that a U.S. citizen can move to, still owing federal income tax, and lose their rights to voting representation in the U.S. Congress; nowhere, that is, except to our nation's capital, Washington, D.C.
I think that virtually every member of this body, Republican or Democrat, who thinks about this situation would agree that it needs to be remedied. The dispute is not over whether D.C. residents should have voting representation, but over what form that representation should take.
Naturally, I believe that my own proposal, H.R. 3709, the District of Columbia Voting Rights Restoration Act, is the fairest and most practical solution. As its name suggests, H.R. 3709 would restore to Washington, D.C. residents the same voting rights they had prior to Congress taking them away by passage of the Organic Act of 1801. Under my Restoration Act, residents of our nation's capital would once again have the right to vote for, run for, and serve as, Maryland's U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives and presidential electors. And to provide some partisan balance, the Restoration Act adopts your idea, Mr. Chairman, of providing an additional representative for Utah.
In addition to my bill, I am also submitting for your consideration legislative language that I believe will remove the issue of Utah redistricting as an impediment to moving forward on D.C. voting rights. This language simply locks into place until after the next census, the 4-district map that Utah has already enacted. Since that map is understood by all sides to be a 3-1 plan, it should erase the fears of the Democratic leadership that including Utah in a D.C. representation bill would provide an undue Republican advantage.
Mr. Chairman, I could go on about the details of my bill, and I have attached a question and answer sheet to my testimony that further describes H.R. 3709. But that's not what is most important at the moment. What is most important is to get the bipartisan support to move a D.C. representation bill to the House floor so that alternative proposals can be considered, and so that we finally give residents of the District of Columbia the full and fair congressional representation they deserve.