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Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. Mr. Chairman, I say later on that I naturally favor this resolution in its present form if we can't have it in some other form. However, it has seemed to us and to the corporate counsel in his extensive study of the bill and the possible effect that this language might have later as to the question of the power of the Congress later on to extend voting rights if they are not written into the amendment, that we should call this to the attention of the committee and ask that it be written into the amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well.
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. Unquestionably, inclusion in the amendment itself of the voting power in the Delegates would preclude any possible future contention of lack of authority in the Congress to confer the power.
In the opinion of those who feel that the people of the District of Columbia are entitled to a status equal to that of other Americans in respect to representation in the National Legislature, the resolution falls short of an important objective in that it makes no provision for representation in the Senate.
Since the passage of the resolution in its present form would be a great step forward
The CHAIRMAN. If you have the resolution before you, on page 2, line 10 do you have it?
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. According to your suggestion on line 10, with such powers, including the right to vote, as the Congress, by law, provides. Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. Yes, sir.
Since passage of the resolution in its present form would be a great step forward from the present backward position in the political field in which the people of the District find themselves, I naturally favor it. Nevertheless, in good conscience, I must advise the committee that it would be very much preferable that the resolution be amended so as to provide for the people of the District voting representation in both Houses of Congress.
Let me emphasize, however, that the Board of Commissioners has heretofore urged, and still urges, enactment of their bill-H.R. 4400 or one of a number of other identical bills-providing for an appointed Governor, an elected legislature and an elected nonvoting Delegate for the District in the House of Representatives.
The CHAIRMAN. What bill is H.R. 4400?
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. That was Congressman O'Konski's bill. It happened to be the easiest number to remember of a score of bills that were introduced, identical bills. That is the reason we have used that. The CHAIRMAN. I don't believe that bill is before this committee. Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. No, sir; it is not. We are merely bringing out the point again, Mr. Chairman
Mr. HOLTZMAN. Is this a home rule bill?
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. This is the only way we can speak to the Congress.
The CHAIRMAN. That is the home rule bill.
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. That is the home rule bill; yes, sir. It is only in appearing before these committees that we can speak to the Congress.
To give the people of the District representation in the electoral college and in the House of Representatives, as provided in the resolution, requires a constitutional amendment and necessarily involves a considerable period of time. To bestow upon the people of the District the benefits of a territorial form of government, as set forth in H.R. 4400 and in similar bills, would require only the enactment of legislation by the Congress and is therefore possible of much earlier attainment. Essentially, both measures are of the utmost importance but action on one should not be influenced by action or lack thereof on the other.
In lieu of the constitutional amendment set out on page 2 of the resolution, the Board of Commissioners submits the following:
"The people of the District constituting the seat of the government of the United States shall elect, in such manner and under such regulations as the Congress shall provide by law:
"Two Senators to represent the people of said District in the Senate of the United States, such Senators to have the same. rights, powers and duties as if the said District were a State; "One or more members of the House of Representatives to represent the people of said District in the House of Representatives, the number thereof to be determined according to the rules of apportionment established by law for representation from the several States in the House of Representatives, such members to have the same rights, powers and duties as if the said District were a State; and
"A number of electors for President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in the Congress to which the District is entitled by virtue of this Article; such electors shall possess the qualifications required by Article II of this Constitution; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and cast their ballots as provided by the twelfth article of amendment." Brig. Gen. A. C. Welling, the Engineer Commissioner, has refrained from participating in the formulation of these views.
Mr. Chairman, I wish to say that the Engineer Commissioner traditionally refrains from participating in the political proposals made by the Board of Commissioners.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, what you are seeking is the following: We give you an inch, and you want a yard.
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I doubt if you will get it, Commissioner. Let's not fool ourselves.
I wish the people who testify will concentrate on the bill before us. I think it is the best you can get, and if you are going to ask for more you may get nothing.
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. We considered this very carefully, Mr. Chair
The CHAIRMAN. It may be the most you will get. I will put it that way.
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. The Board of Commissioners considered this very carefully.
The CHAIRMAN. One thing more. This is an opportunity you have now; seize it. I say to the witnesses, if you don't seize it now you may not get anything and it will be a long time before this committee will start any hearings again on this matter. I am going to warn people of that.
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. If I may say one more thing, the Commissioners considered this very carefully. We feel ourselves in a position of trust with respect both to the Congress and to the people of the District. of Columbia. In years to come-this is a proposal to change the Constitution of the United States. We cannot see the difference between the people, citizens living in the District of Columbia and the citizens living across the lines in the States.
Therefore, in years to come, we feel that it would be regarded an erroneous attitude for the Board of Commissioners to come up here and take a position short of the position that we feel the Congress should take with respect to a constitutional amendment involving the inhabitants of the District.
Mr. MEADER. Mr. Chairman?
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Meader.
Mr. MEADER. Mr. Commissioner, what is the population of the District of Columbia at the present time?
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. It is between 830,000 and 850,000.
Mr. MEADER. Do you have any means of telling how many of those people that you count among that 850,000 retain their residence in the States from which they come and still vote there?
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. The only way we have, Mr. Chairman, is by getting indications from the political parties here as to the number of absentee ballots that are cast. This is a couple of years old, but I would say it is in the vicinity-it is over a hundred thousand, I believe, that are still voting by absentee ballot in their home districts. Mr. MEADER. Do you think it would be appropriate for the Congress, in the event the Celler resolution is adopted, to take into account in fixing the number of delegates only those residents of the District of Columbia who do not vote, or maintain their residence back home?
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. I should think the Congress should have some latitude for measuring that because this is such a unique territory here. However, it seems to me, just as some one has said heretofore at this hearing, that there are many citizens here who retain their vote back home merely because there is no vote here, and they feel they want to vote for President and Vice President and have some political franchise.
Mr. MEADER. Mr. Commissioner, you heard my question to Representative Broyhill about the retrocession of the Virginia part of the District. What is the sentiment of the people who live in the District with respect to retrocession of the Maryland part of the District to the State of Maryland?
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. It would be difficult, Mr. Meader, for me to say. I haven't asked that question around. Personally, I know that in Annapolis, during the past five years, there has been some expression that they would not want the District of Columbia back, and I think we
can see reasons for it politically why some of those people would not want us back.
Mr. MEADER. The retrocession, as a matter of fact, would give you home rule and the right to vote for President, Senators, and congressional representation, and all, could be done by statute. Isn't that correct?
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. That is true. I testified in response to a question before the other committee with respect to home rule that if we cannot get home rule here I feel it would be a better thing to do than leave this city in the voteless condition it is in now. But I can't say that a majority of the people of the District feel that way because, frankly, we haven't conducted any questionnaires on the subject, and I really don't know how they feel about that.
Mr. MEADER. Your personal feeling is that retrocession would be the way to handle it; is that correct?
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. My personal feeling is that there is an advantage in giving us home rule and keeping this all just as it is; I mean, keeping it as the permanent seat of the Government and under Congress. I personally feel that there is such a paramount interest in the way the Nation's Capital is run in the Federal Government that the Congress should always retain this ultimate legislative power.
However, I say again that if it is impossible to produce home rule here and local rule by the citizens living here, under present conditions, I personally would favor its going back, at least outside the Federal Triangle.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Commissioner.
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Our next witness is Mr. F. Elwood Davis, chairman of the Citizens Joint Committee on National Representation for the District of Columbia.
Mr. Davis, you have a rather long statement. Do you want to submit it and then give us the epitome of it?
STATEMENT OF F. ELWOOD DAVIS, CHAIRMAN, CITIZENS' JOINT COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL REPRESENTATION FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Mr. DAVIS. Mr. Chairman, I will file my statement.
As you will recall, 10 days ago I appeared before you and asked for this hearing, and you were kind enough to grant it.
(The full statement follows:)
STATEMENT OF MR. F. ELWOOD DAVIS, CHAIRMAN, CITIZENS' JOINT COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL REPRESENTATION FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, ON HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 529
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am F. Elwood Davis, and I am appearing here as the chairman of the Citizens' Joint Committee on National Representation for the District of Columbia which was organized in 1917. Since that time virtually every civic, business, labor, and patriotic organization in the District of Columbia and numerous national organizations have joined to support the joint committee in its efforts to secure for District residents a vote for President and Vice President and representation in Congress. We know of no group in Washington which opposes this objective.
We believe that the committee will want for themselves and the record historical and background material bearing on this issue. I will devote the first part of my statement to this subject.
The District of Columbia owes its origin to section 8 of article I of the Constitution which enumerates the powers of Congress. Among those powers is the following:
"To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States." The District of Columbia was established under the authority and direction of acts of Congress approved July 16, 1790, and March 3, 1791. Maryland in 1788 and Virginia in 1789 had made cessions from which the 10-mile square area lying on either side of the Potomac River at the head of navigation was selected. This 10-mile square area contained two municipalities-Georgetown and Alexandria. Georgetown had been laid out in 1752 and incorporated in 1789 and had a population of 2,993 in 1800. Alexandria had been founded in 1749, incorporated in 1790, and had a population of 4,971 in 1800. Boundaries of the original city of Washington, while never fixed by statute or proclamation, are to be found in the trust deeds from the original proprietors and on the maps made by the Commissioners. They may be described in the following terms in
the present city:
The east bank of Rock Creek to approximately P Street NW., thence along Florida Avenue to 9th Street NW., and continuing to 15th Street NE. Along 15th Street NE., from Florida Avenue to C Street NE.; up C Street NE., to the Anacostia River; and then the Anacostia River and the Potomac River back to Rock Creek.
The first of the Government offices moved to the District was the Post Office Department, which moved to the city on June 11, 1800. The second session of the Sixth Congress convened here on November 17, 1800.
Up to 1801, no government had been provided in the District and the laws of Maryland and Virginia continued in force under the provisions of the act of July 16, 1790, which provided that "The operation of the laws of the State within such district shall not be affected by this acceptance, until the time fixed for the removal of the government thereto and until Congress shall otherwise by law provide."
In an act of February 27, 1801 (2 Stat. L. 103) Congress made the first provisions for the District's government. The laws of Maryland and Virginia were continued in the sections ceded by those States. The portion ceded by Maryland was designated Washington County, and the area south of the Potomac was named Alexandria County. A circuit court was created, provision was made for a marshal, a district attorney, justices of the peace, a register of wills and a judge of the orphans' court. A supplementary act passed 4 days later (2 Stat. L. 115) provided that the justices of the peace, who were appointed by the President, were made a board of commissioners for their respective counties and given the same powers as the levy courts or county commissioners in the State of Maryland.
On May 3, 1802 (3 Stat. L. 195) the people of the city of Washington, the boundaries of which I have already described, were constituted a body politic by the naming of the mayor and council of the city of Washington. The mayor was appointed by the President and the council was elected by the qualified voters. From 1812 until 1819 the mayor was elected by the city council and then from 1820 until 1871 he was chosen by popular election.
In 1846, at the request of the people of Alexandria, Congress retroceded to the State of Virginia all the portion which had been ceded to the Federal Government by that State (9 Stat. L. 35).
The unsettled conditions at the outbreak of the Civil War probably caused the first attempt at unification of governmental functions in the District of Columbia in the act of August 6, 1861 (12 Stat. L. 320), which established the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia consisting of the "Corporations of Washington and Georgetown and the County of Washington, outside the limits of said corporations."
The first really major change in the government of the District was effective June 1, 1871, when a government essentially the same as that used for the organized territories was created pursuant to the act of February 21, 1871 (16 Stat. L. 419). At that time the charters of the cities of Washington and Georgetown were repealed. The levy court was abolished and all the territory in the limits of the District of Columbia was included in the government by the name of the District of Columbia which was constituted a body corporate for municipal purposes and the successor of the two cities and the county which were eliminated.