Alexander Statement on Passage of D.C. Voting Rights Act

Posted on February 26, 2009

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, today released the following statement regarding Senate passage of the Washington, D.C., Voting Rights Act: “The bill passed by the Senate is unconstitutional because the District of Columbia is not a state. Our nation was formed by states, and the District is a unique city – not a state. The Constitution itself makes that distinction. The most logical alternative for giving DC residents full representation in Congress would be to give the District back to Maryland. The District was created from land ceded by Virginia and Maryland. Just as Arlington and part of Alexandria went back to Virginia in 1846, most of the District could again become part of Maryland, leaving only a small area around key federal buildings and monuments. I voted for an amendment that would have given DC residents full voting rights under this approach. Another option would be to keep the District as a separate entity, but allow DC residents to vote in Maryland. Congress should have passed one of these alternatives instead of passing an unconstitutional bill. ###