In his April 25 op-ed column, “No more disrespecting the District,” Colbert I. King groused that the vote by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to disapprove the District’s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act “is an outright abuse of power.”
Any intrusion into the District’s locally passed laws, whether to block a legally passed referendum, interfere with our gun regulations or tell us how we can spend our own tax dollars, is an outright abuse of power in a democracy.
Mr. King pointed out that the Constitution gives the House the power to interfere but argued that it is misapplied “for the worst of reasons.” Whenever it is applied, it is for the worst of reasons. There is no good reason to treat the District differently from the rest of the United States. We pay the same federal taxes, we serve in the same military (at rates higher than the national average) and we deserve equal treatment “in all cases whatsoever.”
Mr. King said that “city leaders should push their home-rule powers to the limit.” When it gets to Capitol Hill, that is the limit. Until we realize this, nothing will change. I agree that we “should elect only mayors and council members who have the guts to stand up to the overseers.” However, until we all, including Mr. King, stand up for D.C. statehood, that hubris will result only in another whipping.
Michael D. Brown, Washington
The writer, a Democrat, is the District’s shadow senator.