For more than 30 years, Congress has barred the District from using its own locally raised tax revenue to cover abortion care for Medicaid recipients. Congressional restrictions mean reproductive health providers operate under extra stress and outcomes for women, particularly minority and low-income women, are worse as a result.
Private and public sector developers in the District face unique hurdles due to federal preemptions of what would be local decisions in any other jurisdiction. Such federal control holds back the promise and potential of the nation's capital.
States have traveled disparate paths to statehood, underscoring that the process is always subject to political controversy, legal interpretations, divisive socio-cultural issues and discrimination. The debate over the District's aspirations is neither unusual nor unresolvable. The District is more ready for statehood than practically any other state was.
This report provides a summary and analysis of the circumstances that led the citizens who lived in the area designated as the seat of government to lose their right to vote in 1801, why Congress has only partially addressed this state of affairs in the intervening 220 years, and how the modern struggle for self-determination among Washington, D.C., residents has evolved into the present push for statehood.
The city's fiscal supports from the federal government has (more often than not) been erratic, unpredictable and declining over time. Rarely have these fiscal arrangements involved much feedback from city leaders about the city's actual needs. Today, the city's own fiscal standing—independent of the federal government—has never been stronger. The city has proven that it has the discipline and wherewithal to manage its finances under statehood.