Trying to Block DC from Passing Its Own Laws is Unfortunately a Bipartisan Affair

Jonathan Cohn
2 min readFeb 12, 2023

The District of Columbia deserves voting representation in Congress.

That is obvious all the time (“no taxation without representation,” of course), but it becomes especially salient when Congress tries to intervene to block DC from passing its own laws — something Congress can do given DC’s lack of full autonomy.

Earlier this week, the House took up two such attempts.

The first was to block an ordinance on all-resident voting, i.e., enabling legal non-citizens ages 18 and over to participate in local elections. A doubly compounded situation of taxation without representation.

The House, showing disregard for DC’s autonomy, voted 260 to 162 in support of the resolution, with 42 Democrats joining all present Republicans:

Republicans also attempted to block DC’s newly revised criminal code, which eliminates most mandatory minimum sentences, cleans up archaic laws, and lowers maximum sentences for several crimes; the new code is a welcome move away from the mass incarceration framework that has broken up many families and left communities no safer.

This resolution passed 250 to 173, with 31 Democrats joining all present Republicans:

Both are likely DOA in the Democratic-held Senate, but it remains disappointing how many Democrats are willing to go along with Republican assaults on the District’s autonomy.



Jonathan Cohn

Editor. Bibliophile. Gadfly. Environmentalist. Super-volunteer for progressive campaigns. Boston by way of Baltimore, London, NYC, DC, and Philly.