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Speeches and Floor Statements

Beyer Remarks Opposing Republican Attacks On D.C. Self-Governance

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), who represents the Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital, delivered the following remarks earlier this week during debate on Republican bills to override local legislation passed by the D.C. Council.

Beyer’s remarks as delivered follow below, with video here.

Mister Speaker, I rise in opposition to the rule.

H.J.Res. 24 and H.J.Res. 26 are blatant attempts to undermine D.C. home rule.

These resolutions are explicit efforts by Members of Congress to interfere in local self-government.

They aim to directly override the D.C. Council and dictate what D.C. residents can and cannot do on a local level.

I firmly believe that D.C., like any other jurisdiction across the country, should be allowed to govern itself.

I’m just confused that my Republican friends, who have such a deep commitment to federalism – federalism, where decisions are best made at the local level – why would they work to impede 700,000 American citizens ability to self-govern?

It is critical that we fiercely protect this right on behalf of citizens living in D.C.

We weren’t voted to be D.C.’s Councilmembers—D.C. citizens did not ask for our say in their local matters.

I trust my Mayor of the City of Alexandria, Justin Wilson, to represent me ably there. Everyone else respects the people in their home towns and their home states to do the same.

I’m certainly not here offering to overturn a local city council rulemaking in Kentucky or Georgia or Texas, but I’m sure I could find plenty to disagree with.

We’ve got to respect the American democratic process and allow the people of D.C. to govern themselves.

If we as a Congress value and respect the principle of local self-governance that makes up the core of our democracy, it is hypocritical of us to revoke that right for the citizens of the District of Columbia.

I urge my colleagues to strongly join me in opposing House Joint Resolutions 24 and 26.

Thank you, and I yield back.