Democracy Reform Task Force Chair Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today voted to pass the Washington, D.C. Admissions Act through the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. The bill would admit of the State of Washington, D.C. into the Union and provide D.C. residents with full voting rights.
Congressman Sarbanes, a co-sponsor of the Washington, D.C. Admissions Act, strongly backed the bill.
“Today, there are many Americans who feel cynical about government,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “They feel angry and frustrated. They feel that their voice isn’t heard, and they’ve kind of fled the political town square, voluntarily, on their own initiative. And we have a responsibility to try to bring them back into the political town square to become active and engaged citizens again. That’s at the heart of many of the reforms, the democracy reforms, that Democrats have put forward in this Congress.”
Sarbanes continued: “But it has to be said that there are some Americans who actually are being kept out – forcibly kept out – of the political town square. One mechanism for doing that is voter suppression, keeping people out of the political town square so their ideas cannot be part of this sort of pluralistic experiment of conversation, discussion and debate. But another way you keep people out of that town square – that marketplace of ideas – is in this way: The residents of the District of Columbia are being forcibly prevented from stepping into the political town square where their voices can be heard – and it’s an outrage!”
Sarbanes concluded: “That’s what this legislation is designed to remedy, so that the voices of 705,000 residents of the District of Columbia can finally be heard in this democracy, in this great experiment.”