Pelosi Complains D.C. - Which Is Not a State - Wasn’t Treated Like a State in Senate Bill

By Melanie Arter | March 26, 2020 | 1:05pm EDT
(Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

( - The Senate’s stimulus bill treats the nation’s capital in a discriminatory way by not treating it like a state when doling out federal funds, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday.

“It was curious that in this bill they decided to treat the District of Columbia in a very discriminatory way. It really makes no sense unless you have some other motivation,” Pelosi said.

The District of Columbia is not a state and has been fighting for statehood for years. It is a federal district under control of the U.S. Congress and is currently represented in Congress by D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton.

“The District of Columbia has always been treated like a state in terms of distribution of funds, and under that formulation, they would have gotten well over a million dollars, maybe a million and a quarter or so, and under the formula, they just decided to treat them like a territory now, and they get maybe half a million dollars less. I don't know exact figures, but it is very significant,” she said.

“Say it’s a third less than what they're getting when they are fighting this challenge here in the district of Columbia. It doesn't make any sense, and we have to have legislation on it,” the speaker said.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser vented her frustration with the Senate stimulus bill.

“The very idea that we are being treated like a territory is shocking, it’s infuriating, and it’s simply outrageous. We are NOT a territory. DC pays the highest taxes per capita in the nation, and we have a population larger than those of several states,” she tweeted.

“Last night, the Senate passed its phase three coronavirus relief package in which D.C. is treated like a federal territory. D.C. is not a territory. This means, according to their treatment, that the District will only receive $500 million while every other state will receive a direct payment of at least $1.25 billion, and that’s a difference of $725 million,” Bower said in a press conference on Thursday.

She said the stimulus bill “makes it even more critical” that residents complete the 2020 Census.

“I have to say that the very idea of being treated like a territory is shocking. It’s infuriating. It’s wrong. It’s outrageous. We’re not a territory. We pay more taxes unlike the territories than 22 states. We have a larger population than several states, and we are treated as a state by thousands of federal laws and programs. It’s unconscionable to give D.C. the least amount of funding of any state, especially given the unique challenges we take on as the seat of federal government,” Bowser said.

The mayor said she sent a letter to Senate leadership, “calling on the Senate to right this wrong.” 

She said the stimulus bill will hurt doctors, nurses, front-line workers, Senate staffers, federal workers, senators, congresspeople, and everyone who lives and works in D.C.

“So we’re going to keep doing what we need to do locally. We’re going to keep calling on the White House to step up on the procurement of life-saving supplies, and now we will be working to fix whatever disadvantages this relief package brings to the residents of Washington, D.C.,” Bowser added.


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