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Presidential limo sports 'Taxation without representation' motto

January 15, 2013|Richard Simon
  • District of Columbia license plate to be displayed on presidential limo
District of Columbia license plate to be displayed on presidential limo (DC Vote )

WASHINGTON -- President Obama's limousine will display the District of Columbia license plate reading "Taxation without Representation" during inauguration activities and through the remainder of his term to call attention to the district’s lack of voting power in Congress.

The decision, announced by a White House aide, comes in response to a resolution unanimously passed by the D.C. Council calling on Obama to display the slogan during the inaugural ride down Pennsylvania Avenue to highlight what the resolution calls the "fundamentally unfair and undemocratic condition of district residents."

"President Obama has lived in the district now for four years, and has seen firsthand how patently unfair it is for working families in D.C. to work hard, raise children and pay taxes, without having a vote in Congress," said White House spokesman Keith Maley. Use of the plate, he added, "demonstrates the president’s commitment to the principle of full representation for the people of the District of Columbia and his willingness to fight for voting rights, home rule and budget autonomy for the district."

Eleanor Holmes Norton, the district’s delegate in the House, praised Obama for "agreeing to a small but larger-than-life sign of his commitment to the district and its residents."

"Each step must be counted as bringing us closer to our full entitlement as American citizens who pay more than our fair share of federal taxes and have served in all the nation’s wars, always without the rights those obligations demand," she added.

President Clinton displayed the "Taxation without Representation"  plate -- the district’s standard 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."

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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