The Instigator
Baseballdebater
Pro (for)
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The Contender
wheatley
Con (against)
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Should D.C. have Congressional representation?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/8/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,461 times Debate No: 51930
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
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Baseballdebater

Pro

I believe that the District of Columbia should have full Congressional representation. For a number of reasons, including military service, taxation without representation, racial fairness, and finally and maybe most importantly because they are Americans.

I would like an opponent that will stay active and know the topic and also will not resort to vulgarity or insults to make their points. Round one is a simple acceptance of my rules and a short, paragraph or less, thesis statement that sums up your position. No new arguments should be brought up in round five.
wheatley

Con

I accept.
okay my position is that DC was made the way it was for a reason, so we should not change it.
Debate Round No. 1
Baseballdebater

Pro

One point to understand before we go any farther is that D.C. fulfills all the duties of citizenship.
Jamin B. Raskin (* Professor of Law, American University, Washington College of Law J.D., Harvard Law School, 1987.), Winter, 1999, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, ": Is This America? The District of Columbia and the Right to Vote", accessed October 11, 2013
"In fact, District residents share all of the essential characteristics of citizens of the states. Like state residents but unlike territorial residents, they pay federal taxes, indeed more per capita than most states. Like state residents but unlike territorial residents, they vote for president and vice-president. District residents are counted in the national census. They are governed by the laws of the United States and were part of the original thirteen states. They fight wars, are drafted into the military, and have lost many men and women in foreign battles. They are treated like residents of the states for federal diversity jurisdiction purposes. The principle of one person-one vote applies within the District to the reapportionment of the District's Council."

Basically D.C. citizens are like everyone else in the U.S. and are beholden to our laws. The only difference is they don"t have voting representation in Congress.
There are four injustices with this situation. In the next section, I'll lay these out for your consideration.

The first is, D.C. voters are treated in a way that contradicts America's principles of democracy. I'll prove this point by quoting Senator Hatch.

Orrin Hatch (U.S. Republican Senator; J.D. ,University of Pittsburgh School of Law, 1962.), June 4, 2008, DCVote, ""NO RIGHT IS MORE PRECIOUS IN A FREE", accessed September 12, 2013, http://www.dcvote.org...
"In 2005, the world witnessed Iraqis holding up fingers stained with purple ink, proudly demonstrating that they had voted. Decades earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court had suggested why such a scene would be so dramatic, stating that "[n]o right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, we must live. "Yet, unlike American citizens living in the fifty states or even outside the United States altogether, Americans living in the District of Columbia ("the District") cannot exercise this most precious right with respect to their national government. Residents of the District are "Americanized for the purpose of national and local taxation and arms-bearing, but not for the purpose of voting." This is simply inconsistent with the well-recognized principle that "foremost among the basic principles of American political philosophy is the right to self-government."

American is about democracy and having a voice. The way D.C. is treated is in clear violation of these principles.

Q95;
The next two problems our taxation without representation and military service. I'll show you this through another piece of evidence.
Johnny Barnes (J.D. from Georgetown Chief of Staff to many representatives), Spring 2010, D.C. Law Review, Towards Equal Footing: Responding to the Perceived Constitutional Legal and Practical Impediments to Statehood For the District of Columbia", accessed November 9, 2013,http://www.lexis.com...
"District of Columbia citizenship is particularly diluted when democracy is tested. Had Congress decided the Bush-Gore presidential contest and the Florida vote in 2000, District residents would have had no vote in that vital process. They had no vote when Congress passed the Patriot Act. District citizens also had no vote when decisions were made to involve America in Iraq. District residents shoulder all the duties of citizenship, including paying federal taxes, and fighting and dying in wars, but they do not share in all the fruits of citizenship. Moreover, they have performed both of those responsibilities, paying taxes and fighting in wars, at higher rates than much of the rest of the country. This blight on America exists notwithstanding the fact that Americans living in the District of Columbia pay taxes, as well as fought and died in every war since the American Revolution. Additionally, while over 95 percent of the District's local budget is from local tax dollars, the federal government controls the entire budget. Congress has the power to enact local laws on the District and has final say over any laws passed by the local government. Controlling the budget and laws epitomizes "Taxation Without Representation."

D.C. residents pay taxes and fight for our nation. This is their duty as Americans. By doing this they deserve the right to vote.

Finally I'll show you that the situation in D.C. is racially biased and for this reason representation should be give.
Jamin B. Raskin (* Professor of Law, American University, Washington College of Law; J.D., Harvard Law School, 1987.), Winter, 1999, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review,": Is This America? The District of Columbia and the Right to Vote", accessed October 11, 2013
"Like the plans invalidated by the Shaw line of cases[ a series of Supreme Court cases that invalidated racial gerrymandering], the District's disenfranchisement bears an uncomfortable resemblance to political apartheid. The District population is more racially lopsided than any of the districts so far invalidated by the Court. According to the 1990 Census, the District population is 65.8% African American, 27.4% white, and 2.2% Hispanic. Unlike citizens in majority-minority congressional districts in the states, all of whom enjoy the right to vote for representatives and senators and state and local officials, the District's population is categorically denied the right to vote for members of the U.S. House and Senate as well as their main local governing bodies."

The denial of representation to D.C. is particularly heinous given the minority makeup of the population. We"re sending the wrong message to ourselves and other nations about racial fairness.

This is why D.C. should have full representation in Congress. I'm not going to respond in depth to my opponent's opening statement in depth. But basically times have changed and there is no good reason not to give American citizens who fulfills there duties representation. Also the original reason D.C. was formed was to protect the federal government from the states. If you look at the situation today this is no longer needed.
wheatley

Con

first I would like to thank my opponent for his/her arguments.

my first point is that DC was made this way for a reason.

Julia Shaw [A Texas native, Shaw received a bachelor"s degree in politics from the University of Dallas, where she graduated second in her class and summa cum laude. She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and won the Willmoore Kendall Award in Political Philosophy, given to the top student in the school"s politics department. She and her husband currently reside in Washington, D.C. (http://www.linkedin.com...)], April 3, 2012, "D.C. Votes, but Not for a Representative" http://blog.heritage.org...

"The Founders designed D.C. to protect the federal government. Since the federal government exercises certain powers over state governments, having the capital city located in one particular state would give that state tremendous influence over the federal government. Allowing one state to control the federal government would violate the principle of federalism."

if DC gets rights just like a state than congress would be in a what really is a state, the founding fathers did not want this.

Julia Shaw [A Texas native, Shaw received a bachelor"s degree in politics from the University of Dallas, where she graduated second in her class and summa cum laude. She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and won the Willmoore Kendall Award in Political Philosophy, given to the top student in the school"s politics department. She and her husband currently reside in Washington, D.C. (http://www.linkedin.com...)], April 3, 2012, "D.C. Votes, but Not for a Representative" http://blog.heritage.org...
"The Founders wisely crafted a federal district for the seat of government. They made the capital independent from, and therefore not subservient to, the authority of a particular state. Residents of the District of Columbia don"t have a Representative or Senator, but they still have the attention of Congress and the protection of the Constitution. If we take the Constitution seriously, the seat of the federal government cannot and should not be located in a state."

so we would be going against the Constitution
Nathaniel Ward [Associate Manager of Online Membership Programs, Manager of The Heritage Foundation; graduate of Dartmouth College, Georgetown Univ McDonough School of Business.] and Andrew M. Grossman [Andrew Grossman is a veteran of the Washington policymaking community with recognized experience in constitutional law and legal policy that he brings to his litigation practice. (http://www.bakerlaw.com...)], February 19, 2009, "Voting Representation for the District of Columbia: Violating the Framers" Vision and Constitutional Commands" http://www.heritage.org...
"It should not be surprising, then, that Congress lacks the constitutional authority to simply grant the District a voting representative by fiat, as S. 160 would do. The Constitution limits such representation to states alone. Even if Congress wishes to alter the means by which District concerns are raised in the national legislature, it still has the responsibility to reject proposals that violate the Constitution."
so we would be changing the constitution to change something that doesn't needed changing.

point number two is that most of the people in DC are government workers.
Lymari Morales, (Master in Public Policy, Harvard University, Bachelor of Science in Journalism, Northwestern University), compiled a chart on August 6th, 2010; " Gov't. Employment Ranges From 38% in D.C. to 12% in Ohio" http://www.gallup.com...
so 38% of all people in DC are government workers so the government would be voting for itself.

point number three is this would actually reduce the influence of DC residents

Dr. Joe Postell, & Nathaniel Ward 2009. (POSTELL - assistant prof. of political science at Univ of Colorado; PhD in political thought and political philosophy from Univ of Dallas, master"s degree in politics. WARD - Associate Manager of Online Membership Programs, Manager of The Heritage Foundation; graduate of Dartmouth College, Georgetown Univ McDonough School of Business.) "D.C. Representation: How Congress Promotes the Interests of the District of Columbia" Feb. 20 2009. http://www.heritage.org...
"In fact, by diminishing lawmakers' attention to the city, the creation of a voting Representative for the District may actually reduce the influence D.C. residents enjoy in Congress. Those who value the true interests of the District should defend the existing arrangement, which promotes the collective responsibility of Congress to preserve the welfare of the federal city."
so if we want to give DC more influence leave it the way it is.

my fourth point is that Ending federal taxation would end "taxation without representation"

Nathaniel Ward [Associate Manager of Online Membership Programs, Manager of The Heritage Foundation; graduate of Dartmouth College, Georgetown Univ McDonough School of Business.] and Andrew M. Grossman [Andrew Grossman is a veteran of the Washington policymaking community with recognized experience in constitutional law and legal policy that he brings to his litigation practice. (http://www.bakerlaw.com...)], February 19, 2009, "Voting Representation for the District of Columbia: Violating the Framers" Vision and Constitutional Commands" http://www.heritage.org...
"Given its exclusive power over the District, Congress could abolish federal income taxes on District residents, providing a powerful solution to the city's "taxation without representation" complaint. This compromise is fully within Congress's powers, and indeed, Congress has enacted special tax policies for the District in the past, something that it cannot do concerning states. There are also strong policy arguments in favor of this approach.[20]"
so we could just end taxes in DC that would stop "taxation without representation" and this is something that would not go against the founding fathers.

my fifth point is that DC has a voice in politics.
Julia Shaw [A Texas native, Shaw received a bachelor"s degree in politics from the University of Dallas, where she graduated second in her class and summa cum laude. She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and won the Willmoore Kendall Award in Political Philosophy, given to the top student in the school"s politics department. She and her husband currently reside in Washington, D.C. (http://www.linkedin.com...)], April 3, 2012, "D.C. Votes, but Not for a Representative" http://blog.heritage.org... [RTT]
"D.C. residents still have representation and home rule through the local government: D.C. has a city council, a mayor, and local courts. As state and local governments must exercise their authority in accordance with the Constitution, so D.C."s government must adhere to the Constitution and the Article I, section 8, clause 17 provision granting Congress authority over the District.
And let"s not forget that D.C. residents still vote in federal elections. The 23rd Amendment gives D.C. a voice in selecting the President and Vice President through the Electoral College, but it reiterates that D.C. it is not a state: D.C. receives the number of electoral votes "equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State.""

Alan Deback, [Master"s degree in human resource development from Rochester Institute of Technology, and a graduate certificate in Industrial Labor Relations from Cornell University], Internally dated 2004; "Living and Working in Washington DC" https://www.geneseo.edu... [RTT]
"Overall, after almost ten years in the DC area I love it here. Yes, I hate the traffic, but I've learned to listen to the traffic reports on the radio carefully and to always have an alternate route to get to my destination. The pace of life is fast, but there are always fascinating people to meet and know. The area is very transient, with people constantly moving in and out, but that just increases the opportunities to meet new people. It goes without saying that if you love politics, this is the place to be. You never know who you will see in a restaurant, at a mall, or even the local 7-11!"

people in DC meet congress members a lot so giving them congress members mean that, one now they have congress members in congress, and two they have influence in congress right now, if a congress member knows someone then he knows what that person needs.

my last point is that DC residents can have their voices in other ways.
the evidence is in the comments
so DC residents don't need congress members they can have their voice heard

so in the end having DC residents in not only bad for them, it's bad for everyone and it is not something we should do.
Debate Round No. 2
Baseballdebater

Pro

I'd also like to thank my opponent for his well reasoned arguments. I agree with my opponent's first point. But there are two things on which we differentiate. First off nowhere in the Constitution does it say that D.C. shouldn't have representation. Secondly the situation has changed. I'll show you this through two pieces of evidence. One about the original reasons and the second one about how they've changed.

Tom Davis 2009. (former Republican member of the House of Representatives from Virginia) Jan 2009 Opening Statement of Former Rep. Tom Davis Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Hearing on H.R. 157, the "District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009" http://judiciary.house.gov...
The idea for a federal district arose out of an incident that took place in 1783 while the Continental Congress was in session in Philadelphia. When a crowd of Revolutionary War soldiers, who had not been paid, gathered in protest outside the building, the Congress requested help from the Pennsylvania militia. The state refused, and the Congress was forced to adjourn and reconvene in New Jersey. After that incident, the Framers concluded there was a need for a Federal District, under solely federal control, for the protection of the Congress and the territorial integrity of the capital. So the Framers gave Congress broad authority to create and govern such a District. That is the limit of what the Framers had to say about a Federal District in the Constitution " that there should be one and that it should be under congressional authority.

Original reason no longer valid
Jamin B. Raskin (* Professor of Law, American University, Washington College of Law; J.D., Harvard Law School, 1987.), Winter, 1999, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, ": Is This America? The District of Columbia and the Right to Vote"
Thus, the historical record is plain that the overriding purpose of the District Clause was to guarantee that Congress would not be forced to depend on a state government that could compromise or obstruct its actions for parochial reasons. Congress did not intend to disenfranchise citizens within the capital city. The importance of this understanding is that vindicating Congress' control over the capital does not conflict with the equally compelling constitutional imperative of extending suffrage rights to citizens of the capital. Congress can govern the capital city exclusively and in zealous pursuit of its own interests without disenfranchising the local population in federal elections. Congress feared a threat to its power and dignity from a sovereign state government controlling the police and legislative power in the capital city. If the District were given direct representation in the Senate and House, the District Clause would not be offended so long as Congress continued to act as the supreme legislative power over District affairs. Even if the District's two senators and representative were to seek some legislative result incompatible with a valid federal interest as perceived by other members of Congress, they could be outvoted 100-2 and 435-1.

This clearly shows why D.C. was set up how it was and how things are different today.

A few points to understand. I'm not advocating making D.C. a state I'm simply saying they should have representation in Congress. I'll also agree with my opponent that by giving D.C. representation through legislation would seem to go against the Constitution. So the simplest way to give D.C. rep would be a Constitutional amendment. If you look at the piece of evidence that my opponent presented by Ward and Grossman it is clear that it's referring to giving D.C. representation through legislative means not an amendment to the Constitution.

My response to the government workers point is simple. It is irrelevant my opponent seems to miss the point that government workers are still Americans and still have the fundamental right to vote. Just because they work for the government doesn't mean they shouldn't have a voice in its making. That would be like banning all local government officials from voting.

I'll respond to point number three with two responses. First D.C. would get more representation with a Senator as shown by
Garry Young (Associate Director at George Washington Institute of Public Policy, professor at George Washington University Ph.D. in Political Science from Rice University in 1994.), July 2009, Center forWashingtonArea Studies, "The District of Columbia and Its Lack ", accessed September 6, 2013, http://www.gwu.edu...
The District of Columbia lacks representation in the United States Senate. The Senate is enormously important in the American political system and the typical senator wields far more power than the typical House member. The power of individual senators derives not so much from their fewer numbers, but from the way Senate procedures enable individual senators to obstruct the legislative process. This ability gives individual senators considerable leverage to protect his or her state from legislative harm and obtain for his or her state a fair share of federal largesse.

Young also says.
The model predicts that the District would receive far more in higher education earmarks each year if it had representation in the Senate. For example, representation in the Senate including a member on the Senate Appropriations Committee would yield a predicted $2 million more per year just in higher education earmarks. Higher education earmarks are just a slice of just a slice (all earmarks) of federal spending (now more than $3 trillion per year). But how higher education earmarks are distributed gives us a nice window into the larger spending picture. While the District of Columbia perhaps does better than expected given its dearth of representation in Congress, it does far worse than it could if it had full representation in the Senate.

So D.C. would get more representation. Secondly my opponent's article seems to be referring to a legislative bill that would give D.C. a house member and nothing else not to two senators.

Ending taxation would deal with taxation without representation, but it wouldn't deal with my other three points which are: denying representation is fundamentally not American, military service, and racial unfairness. Also not having them pay taxes would almost make them seem less American and differentiate them from other Americans even more. It would also turn D.C. into a new tax haven for the rich, because what is better than being able to not pay taxes in America?

My opponent's fifth point is basically that D.C. has a voice because politicians live there and they have local governance and can vote for local representation. My first response is the fundamental currency in politics is the ability to vote the bums out if they don't do what you want. Just because D.C. can talk to representatives doesn't mean they actually have influence. as illustrated by Garry Young.
Garry Young (Associate Director at George Washington Institute of Public Policy, professor at George Washington University Ph.D. in Political Science from Rice University in 1994.), July 2009, Center forWashingtonArea Studies, Center forWashingtonArea Studies, "The District of Columbia and Its Lack ", accessed September 6, 2013, http://www.gwu.edu...
To achieve any of their goals as a legislator, members of Congress must first get reelected. The re-election motive forces legislators to hew closely to the parochial needs and interests of their districts. This parochial focus limits the ability of legislators to accommodate the views and needs of non-constituents. DC residents collectively lack the fundamental currency necessary for influence over members of Congress, the ability to hire and fire these representatives through the vote.

Two the other two subpoints: the president doesn't actually make laws so he doesn't solve the problems. He doesn't make taxes or the budget or declare war those are things only Congress can do. Also local governance doesn't equal national governance especially when there decisions can be overturned by Congress for any reason.

My response to the last point is the same as the one to the fifth one. Voting is the fundamental currency. Just because somebody lives with you doesn't mean they represent you. Think about Stalin or Mao they lived in Russia and China but they clearly were still dictators. I'll show a piece of evidence about Congress overturning D.C. laws.

Examples of Congresses's power
Wade Henderson (President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights , May 2007, The Leadership Conference, "Equal Representation in Congress: Providing Voting Rights to the District of Columbia", accessed April 5, 2014, http://www.civilrights.org...
And while we DC residents understand the unique nature of our city in the American constitutional system, and we recognize Congress' expansive powers in operating the seat of our federal government, we are not even given a single vote in decisions that affect DC residents and DC residents alone. Without as much as a single vote cast on behalf of DC residents, Congress decides which judges will hear purely local disputes under our city's laws, how it will spend local tax revenues, and it even has the power to decide what words the city is allowed to print on its residents' license plates. Adding insult to injury, we have not even been able to cast a single vote when Congress has decided, in recent years, to prevent our elected city officials from using our own taxes to advocate for a meaningful voice in our democracy.

For all these reasons I believe that D.C. should have Congressional representation.
wheatley

Con

wheatley forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Baseballdebater

Pro

My opponent forfeited his round so all my arguments stand unchallenged.
wheatley

Con

wheatley forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Baseballdebater

Pro

My opponent again forfeited his round. I would ask that because of this you vote for pro.
wheatley

Con

wheatley forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by wheatley 3 years ago
wheatley
Dr. Joe Postell, & Nathaniel Ward 2009. (POSTELL - assistant prof. of political science at Univ of Colorado; PhD in political thought and political philosophy from Univ of Dallas, master"s degree in politics. WARD - Associate Manager of Online Membership Programs, Manager of The Heritage Foundation; graduate of Dartmouth College, Georgetown Univ McDonough School of Business.) "D.C. Representation: How Congress Promotes the Interests of the District of Columbia" Feb. 20 2009. http://www.heritage.org... [BB]
The absence of a vote in Congress was clearly understood as a prominent characteristic of a federal district. Moreover, being a resident of the new capital city was viewed as compensation for this limitation. The fact that members would work, and generally reside, in the District gave the city sufficient attention in Congress.[4] Early American leaders understood this argument well. Turley cites Maryland Representative John Dennis, who maintained in 1801 that though District residents "might not be represented in the national body, their voice would be heard."[5] Thus, while the Founders adhered strongly to the twin principles of government by consent and representation when it came to the federal city, they accepted this lack of formal representation because the District's unique status.
Posted by Technition 3 years ago
Technition
Only congressional, hmmm
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