Ogles amendment aims to end DC statehood efforts

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Rep. Andrew Ogles (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday proposed an amendment to the federal budget aimed at ending D.C. statehood efforts. 

As part of the proposal, Ogles called for the prohibition of funds for the New Columbia Statehood Commission — which coordinates the district’s efforts to become the 51st state — and to prohibit funds being used to conduct an election for a senator for the District of Columbia.

The move has sparked backlash from D.C. Shadow Rep. Oye Owolewa, who called the proposal a tactic to “restrict the representational autonomy” of D.C. residents. 

“This amendment is just another attempt to silence DC in our pursuit of equality and fairness,” Owolewa said.

Owolewa has served since 2021 as D.C.’s shadow representative. Voters in the district elect a shadow senator and two shadow representatives, but these offices are only recognized by the District of Columbia and are not sworn in or seated in Congress.

D.C.’s Delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) is sworn in and can sit on and vote in committees, introduce legislation and participate in legislative debates, but she cannot vote on bills being considered by the full House. 

While Congress established the federal district in 1790 to serve as the nation’s capital, the Constitution declares that the district is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Congress. However, proponents for D.C. statehood say the district operates as a state while also performing functions of a city and a county. 

D.C. operates its own school system, manages its own SNAP and Medicaid programs and receives federal block grants that are typically awarded to states. D.C. residents also pay taxes, vote and serve on juries, as do residents in all 50 states. 

“Mr. Ogle’s proposed amendment proves that forces against Democracy are noticing our efforts,” Owolewa said. “As DC’s Representative, I vow to fight back against these threats, scale up the advocacy and present our noble cause to all of America. We in DC deserve our voices heard, our vote counted, and our rights protected. Our only path forward is DC Statehood.”

Ogles office did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment. 

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