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D.C. wants 'Taxation Without Representation' slogan on Obama's limo

January 14, 2013|By Richard Simon
  • Members of the Coast Guard salute during a dress rehearsal for President Obama's inauguration.
Members of the Coast Guard salute during a dress rehearsal for President… (Drew Angerer / EPA )

WASHINGTON -- The District of Columbia Council is calling on President Obama to put a "Taxation without Representation" license plate on the presidential limousine in the inaugural parade to draw attention to the city's long-standing desire to be represented by voting members of Congress.

Displaying the slogan during the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue would highlight the "fundamentally unfair and undemocratic condition of district residents," according to a resolution unanimously approved by the council last week. 

Council member Mary Cheh, the resolution’s chief sponsor, and Council Chairman Phil Mendelson presented one of the standard plates issued by the district to residents, along with a copy of the resolution, to a senior administration official last week.

They received no commitment on whether the administration would use the license plates, though White House spokesman Keith Maley said the Obama administration supports "full representation for the people of the District of Columbia, including voting rights, home rule and budget autonomy."

A petition on the administration's "We the People" Web page calling for Obama to put the "Taxation without Representation" license plate on the limo has drawn about 3,500 signatures.

President Clinton displayed the "Taxation without Representation" license plate on the presidential limo, but President George W. Bush said he did not want to use license plates to make "a political statement," opting for special 2001 inaugural tags.

The district's lack of a vote in Congress has long been a sore point in the city. D.C. residents pay federal taxes and can vote for president but have a nonvoting delegate in the House and no representation in the Senate. Legislation to provide for "the admission of the state of New Columbia into the Union" has languished in Congress. 

In 1993, the House rejected a bill to make the district a state. The idea faced resistance from Republicans because the strongly Democratic district would probably elect two Democratic senators and a Democratic member of the House if it became a state.

A bill that would have added two seats to the House -- one for the District of Columbia and another for Republican-leaning Utah -- died in 2010 after a measure was attached to it that would have weakened D.C. gun laws.

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richard.simon@latimes.com

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