WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Clay Higgins (R-LA) voted against H.R. 51, which would grant statehood to Washington D.C., and spoke in opposition to the bill on the House floor.
On Democrats’ unconstitutional D.C. statehood bill:
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
“How is it unconstitutional? H.R. 51 violates our Founders’ intent, the actual writ of the Constitution, the land itself which should rightfully be returned to Maryland if its original purpose as land for our Nation’s Capital is discarded by Congress, and finally the required repeal of the 23rd Amendment.
“I’ve explained these Constitutional barriers for two years in Committee, but there is more.
“D.C. does not perform many of the roles of a true state. A prime example, unlike every other state in the Union, D.C. is not responsible for its prison system.
“About 8,000 D.C. residents are inmates in federal prisons, and the federal government absorbs the huge expense. These are inmates who would normally be in a state prison, but D.C. only has the capacity to house inmates awaiting trial.
“Three times in Committee, I’ve offered an amendment that would transfer this normal state responsibility to D.C. My amendment was rejected by Democrats three times.
“So, let’s look at how D.C. has handled their inmates awaiting trial. According to the Washington Post, D.C. is essentially torturing these inmates with what experts say is mass solitary confinement, 23 hours a day of solitary for every D.C. inmate ongoing for over 400 days. That is certainly a violation of the 8th Amendment. These are human beings awaiting final adjudication. Many will ultimately be found not guilty. Yet, they’ve been held in solitary confinement for 23 hours every day for over a year.
“Is this what we can expect from a D.C. state?
“D.C. is our Nation’s Capital, was intended to be our Nation’s Capital, and must remain our Nation’s Capital.
“Mr. Speaker, I yield.”