WASHINGTON – People For the American Way (PFAW) President Ralph G. Neas joined elected officials and leaders of civil rights organizations today to call on Congress to support the "No Taxation Without Representation" Act. The Act is being introduced by the District of Columbia’s non-voting delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, and would require full voting representation in the U.S. House and Senate on behalf of District of Columbia residents.
Neas and Norton were also joined by Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams, D.C. Council Chair Linda Cropp, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) Executive Director Wade Henderson and others at today’s news conference in the nation’s capital. The PFAW president said the Act was needed to end the injustice that keeps nearly 600,000 people—many of whom live only minutes from the U.S. Capitol—from having people in Congress who can vote on their behalf.
"Both in Florida and across the country, millions of Americans were denied their right to vote in the November 2000 election," said Neas. "It was an embarrassing spectacle that received wide coverage on television, radio and daily newspapers. But when nearly 600,000 people have no one who is able to vote on their behalf on the issues in Congress, it’s doesn’t make the headlines. For the citizens of the District of Columbia, it’s just another day."
Supporters of the "No Taxation Without Representation" Act will be coordinating a lobby day on Wednesday, May 15. PFAW will join LCCR, Stand Up for Democracy, DC Vote and other organizations in mobilizing members and volunteers to participate. Scores of D.C. and area residents are expected to take part in the lobby day.
These supporters and volunteers will take a simple message to Congress on May 15: Citizens of the District of Columbia pull more than their fair share of civic responsibility by providing critical skills that enable government to function effectively, serving in the nation’s military in times of war, and paying nearly $3 billion in federal income taxes each year.
PFAW’s Neas explained that granting full voting rights in Congress to the District would add an important perspective on the critical issues that face the nation.
So far, more than 100 members of the House have already signed on as co-sponsors of the "No Taxation Without Representation" Act. By passing the Act, Congress can extend representative democracy to the citizens of D.C.