District of Columbia

Bishop Harry Jackson Worried That Right Wing Racism Hurts His Anti-Gay Crusade

Bishop Harry Jackson, who is leading a campaign to prevent same-sex couples in the District of Columbia from being able to legally marry, is employing increasingly divisive rhetoric designed to push a wedge between the District’s African Americans and supporters of gay rights in the city.

Senate Rejects Extension of DC Voucher Plan

The Senate today rejected an amendment that would have continued sending taxpayer money to the District of Columbia school voucher program. The legislation, which was not reviewed by any Senate committee, was defeated by a vote of 58 to 39.

"Congress deserves an A-plus for this decision," said People For the American Way president Kathryn Kolbert. "School vouchers have always been about ideology, not education," said Kolbert.

DC Voting Rights Act Passes in the Senate

Statement of Tanya Clay House, PFAW Public Policy Director, on the news of Senate passage of the D.C. Voting Rights Act: "This is an historic victory for DC voting rights activists, the 600,000 District residents, and all who care about democracy. I'm proud that People For could play a substantial part in helping to enfranchise the 600,000 residents of the District of Columbia. We hope District residents will not have to wait much longer for voting representation on important issues of the day."

Senators Clear Path Toward Granting Full Representation For District Residents

Following today’s 62-34 cloture vote on the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act (S. 160), a bill that would give DC a representative with full voting rights in the House, PFAW President Kathryn Kolbert released the following statement: "I'm thrilled that the Senate finally seems to be ready to pass this legislation. It's disgraceful that citizens of our nation's capital have been denied a vote on critical issues of the day from equal pay for equal work to the important economic recovery act. Today's cloture vote is an important step forward."

McCain Uses NAACP Conference to Push Anti-Public Education Voucher Ploy

During his speech today at the NAACP’s annual convention, John McCain reiterated his support of taxpayer funded vouchers to send children to religious and other private schools. People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert said, "John McCain is trying to score points with his right wing base, and he’s doing it at the expense of children. It’s bad enough that these voucher schemes are designed to undermine the separation of church and state."

Flaws and Failings

In early 2004, Congress passed, and President Bush signed into law, an omnibus appropriations act that also created a new federally-funded school voucher program in the District of Columbia, the first such federally-funded voucher program in the country.

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