It was a wild day in the House Oversight Committee discussing DC statehood as it entered. There is a reasonable argument that this might require a constitutional amendment, not a simple act of Congress. But the focus today was on the batshit arguments. Because when GA-10, AZ-4 and KY-1 send their people, they really are not sending their best.
Here are the top five WTF moments from the first five hours of the hearing.
1. DC does not have a dealership that the Constitution cannot adhere to
Rep. Jody Hice (GA-10): It would be the only state without an airport, without a car dealership, without a capital and without a landfill.
This is not only crazy, but also objectively wrong.
2. What if California wants to be divided into states, aren’t you sorry?
Rep. James Comer (KY-1): If that happened, I wonder if this would cause other states to split up and try to create their own states? For example, there has been a movement in California for many, many years to create the 51st state. In fact, much of the California map feels disenfranchised because so much of the population lives in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser didn’t ask what “much of the map” might feel like at all. But this is her face when she pointed out that everyone in California has two Senators while DC residents have zero.
3. Paris existed in 1801 and it is not a separate country. Checkmate, Libs!
MP Paul Gosar (AZ-1): Back to the size of the city. You said it’s about 700,000. Do you think the size of Paris at the time we looked at this borough was taken into account in the design of the borough? How big was Paris in 1801?
Major Bowser: I’m not sure how big Paris is in 1801.
Rep. Breakfast: It was about 630,000. I think they took that into account well.
Do you remember when Rep. Gosar claimed to be an “expert on body language” because he was a dentist?
4. DC cannot be a state because it has no mines
Rep Glenn Grothman (WI-6): I have a good friend and he is talking about what it takes to build a good economy. He says we have to make it, we have to grow it, or we have to take it down. Or I think we can milk it. He says that wealth is created through production, agriculture, and natural minerals. Every state has it to some extent. I want to ask anyone out there if they have any idea of the number of manufacturing orders in Washington, DC. Let’s talk a little about farming in Washington, DC, and mining or drilling in Washington, DC, all of which have to be very small compared to what we get in a normal condition.
Who has heard of a state without coal mines, Amirite?
5. What does it take to get a new second class citizenship TODAY?
Rep. Andrew Clyde (GA-9): Okay, we could say, okay, what if residents of DC were exempt from federal taxes? You are already represented in presidential elections. And you are represented at the Congress with Delegate Norton, who obviously has no direct vote. But she can certainly introduce bills because she introduced HR-51. So if DC residents were exempt from, say, 50 percent federal taxes because they already had a representation, would that be acceptable?
No, even if you throw in the undercoat for free.
Outside the hearing, the discourse was similarly rational.
One reason why I am in favor of DC statehood: The growth in the size of the republic – and our particular way of growing, allowing states with equal status – has always been a sign of our strength. 60 years in 50 states is enough. Time for DC, Puerto Rico, Cuba (once it’s free), 1 or 2 more?
– Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) March 22, 2021
Elizabeth Dye lives in Baltimore, where she writes on law and politics.