Top Democrats are no advocates for DC statehood
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Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Kerry says Paris climate deal alone 'is not enough' | EPA halts planned Taiwan trip for Wheeler| EPA sued over rule extending life of toxic coal ash ponds Overnight Energy: Biden names John Kerry as 'climate czar' | GM reverses on Trump, exits suit challenging California's tougher emissions standards | United Nations agency says greenhouse gas emissions accumulating despite lockdown decline GSA transition delay 'poses serious risk' to Native Americans, Udall says MORE (D-Del.) is at it again. He recently introduced a bill that would make the District of Columbia the 51st state. But before you stand up and cheer Carper, it is necessary to look at his past record on this important but vastly overlooked issue.

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Carper became chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in 2013, when Democrats were still in the majority. One would reasonably think that Carper would have wanted to move his own bill, which went to the committee he chaired. But that was not the case. Far from it!

Carper did not move to have a hearing on the D.C. statehood bill soon after introducing it. In fact, he waited 18 months before he scheduled a hearing. That hearing was in late September 2014, right before Congress broke for the midterm elections.

The hearing was a farce. Not one other Democrat bothered to attend. When I asked Carper if he had asked any of the Democratic members of the committee to attend and lend their support, he refused to answer the question. There were five members of the committee who were co-sponsors of the bill.

In addition, the Senate majority leader at the time, Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidFeinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight Whitehouse says Democratic caucus will decide future of Judiciary Committee Bottom line MORE (D-Nev.), was a co-sponsor and told me that if the bill came out of committee, he "would make it happen." "[M]ake it happen" means that for the very first time, the D.C. statehood bill would get a vote on the U.S. Senate floor.

Carper was not interested in any real action and passage of his bill. The entire exercise was disingenuous.

Obviously Carper, now in the minority, just wants a little bit of play on this issue, but cannot be taken seriously. With "friends" like this, who needs enemies?

Washington's representative, Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonRecord number of Black women elected to Congress in 2020 Lawmakers say infrastructure efforts are falling victim to deepening partisan divide The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump, Biden blitz battleground states MORE (D) has an equally poor record. Last year, she refused to talk to the four uncommitted Democratic senators on the committee. If she had deigned to talk to them and had gotten three of the four to vote for the bill, the bill would have gone to the Senate floor.

When I asked Norton when she would talk to the uncommitted senators — Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMcCaskill: 'Hypocrisy' for GOP to target Biden nominee's tweets after Trump Democrats must turn around Utah police arrest man driving 130 mph claiming he was going to kill former Missouri senator MORE (Mo.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterOvernight Defense: Trump loyalist to lead Pentagon transition | Democrats ask VA for vaccine distribution plan | Biden to get classified intel reports Senate Democrats press VA for vaccine distribution plan President is wild card as shutdown fears grow MORE (Mont.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampGrassley suggests moderate Democrats for next Agriculture secretary Major unions back Fudge for Agriculture secretary Five House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet MORE (N.D.) and (now former Sen.) Mark PryorMark Lunsford PryorCotton glides to reelection in Arkansas Live updates: Democrats fight to take control of the Senate Lobbying world MORE (Ark.) — she told me, "You talk to them."

Norton's moniker of "Warrior on the Hill" is an enormous misnomer. She is not a fighter, but a passive perpetuator of the status quo. Washington needs someone who honestly and sincerely wants to act on behalf of the 650,000 Washington citizens who desire first-class American citizenship.

The new mayor, Muriel BowserMuriel BowserCapitol physician advises lawmakers against attending dinners, receptions during COVID-19 spike The Hill's 12:30 Report: How to celebrate Thanksgiving safely Governors take heat for violating their own coronavirus restrictions MORE (D), is no better than Carper or Norton. During the mayoral campaign, I asked her if she planned to talk and lobby the four uncommitted senators. She looked at me and said, "I'll think about it." She did not act during her campaign and has done absolutely nothing on D.C. statehood since assuming office in January. Repeated attempts to ask about her meetings with Senate Democrats have been met with a wall of silence.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman SchultzDeborah (Debbie) Wasserman SchultzDeLauro wins Steering Committee vote for Appropriations chair On The Money: Democrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed | Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing | JPMorgan: Economy will shrink in first quarter due to COVID-19 spike OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats push Biden to pick Haaland as next Interior secretary | Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing | Wasserman Schultz pitches climate plan in race to chair Appropriations MORE (Fla.) is the chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). One would think that she would be a champion for D.C., since no other jurisdiction has as many Democrats: Seventy-six percent of all registered voters in D.C. are Democrats. No other state approaches that number. When asked why she had not bothered to mention D.C.'s lack of voting rights or one word about D.C. statehood, she replied, "It's not a national issue."

The leader of the DNC obviously has no intention of making it a "national issue." This is the same person who went along with Norton in purging the D.C. statehood issue from the 2012 party platform.

One final person is the president of the United States. Barack Obama has gone out of his way to disrespect the citizens of Washington. There have been very modest rhetorical levels of support on the D.C. statehood issue, but only when asked. You must remember that when asked to have the "Taxation Without Representation" D.C. license plate put on his limo, he said to former Mayor Vincent Gray (D), "The Secret Service won't let me." (It was not until his second term that Obama added the "Taxation Without Representation" license plates.)

Carper, Norton, Bowser, Wasserman Schultz and Obama — don't count on them. The District of Columbia needs to find some real friends and advocates.

Plotkin is a political analyst, a contributor to the BBC on American politics and a columnist for The Georgetowner.