WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) joined Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), and Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) today at a press conference to call for equal treatment for the District of Columbia in the next coronavirus response legislation. Below is a transcript of his remarks:
“Thank you very much, Congresswoman [Eleanor Holmes] Norton. As the House, Senate, and White House negotiate major legislation, as we are doing now – although made more difficult by the inability of the Republicans to agree among themselves, much less to reach an agreement with us – we need to provide assistance to state and local governments to deal with the challenge of COVID-19. We are here to send a simple, but hopefully powerful message: do not discriminate against the 700,000 Americans who live in our nation’s Capital – and the many others who live in neighboring Maryland and Virginia communities.
“That’s what happened in the CARES Act, as Eleanor Holmes Norton has just said, when the Senate and White House insisted that DC be treated as a territory and not a state, which meant millions, in this case over $700 million dollars not going to the District of Columbia. How ironic that the Republicans would not want to keep the nation’s Capital as safe and secure as any jurisdiction in America, where millions of Americans visit. Now [tourism is] cut down, way down by COVID-19, I get that. But treating the District disparately adversely affects every citizen in America.
“At that time, I said that we must not again shortchange DC and its region, and the House passed the Heroes Act in May with DC treated on par with the states in that bill’s funding formula. I’m glad that Senator [Tom] Carper and Senator [Chris] Van Hollen are here, and I’m sure they’re going to say they’re going to fight to make sure the same thing happens in the United States Senate. It’s something we we will continue to insist on and fight for as these negotiations continue.
“I was proud to join my colleagues in passing a bill to make DC the fifty-first state last month, as we should do, and as hopefully the Senate will take up and fight for. I want to thank Delegate Holmes Norton for continuing to lead when it comes to making sure DC is treated fairly and gets the funding and representation that it so richly deserves.
“Thank you very much Eleanor Holmes Norton, and now I will yield to Senator Tom Carper, who I had the privilege of serving with in the House, and who knows a little bit about statehood as the former Governor of the state of Delaware. When I am with Senator Carper in Delaware I always tell people that I am so pleased to represent suburban Delaware in the state of Maryland.”