D.C. Gains a Coin…and Maybe a Place in Congress

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

On February 24, the United States Mint released the District of Columbia quarter, featuring jazz great Duke Ellington on the tails side. This is the first time that an African-American has been featured on a general circulation (non-commemorative) U.S. coin. The design had been the subject of controversy because the Mint rejected the District’s request that the coin include the motto “Taxation without Representation,” a reference to the fact that the 590,000 residents of D.C. pay taxes, but do not have a voting seat in Congress. The District of Columbia has a larger population than the state of Wyoming.

On the same day, the Senate voted 62-34 to debate a bill that would, for the first time, give the citizens of Washington, D.C., a voting seat in the House of Representatives. Republicans have always opposed such a plan because the population of D.C. is overwhelmingly Democratic. In order to appease the Republicans, the bill also adds a seat in heavily Republican Utah. However, it is unclear how this extra seat would be allocated after the 2010 census.
An Issue About a Single Vote, and So Much More (by Carl Hulse, New York Times)
D.C. Voting Rights Bill Clears Senate Hurdle, 62-34 (by Kate Phillips, New York Times)


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