The New Hampshire House of Representatives defeated a resolution on Wednesday to recognize the District as the 51st state, with members noisily ignoring its sponsor before one critic instructed his colleagues to "save money on the parchment, not that it's much."
House members decided, by 248 votes to 79, to adopt the recommendation of a committee, which decided on Jan. 27 that the resolution was not worth their time.
Mayor Vincent C. Gray and five D.C. Council members traveled to Concord to testify in support of the resolution before the committee, kicking off a state-by-state effort to put pressure on Congress to recognize full voting rights and budget autonomy for the District.
Rep. Tony Soltani, a Republican from Epsom, told the floor on Wednesday that D.C. statehood is a federal matter, and New Hampshire can't do anything about it.
But he wasn't done.
"The District of the Columbia has a history of mismanagement," he said, launching into colorful remarks that mixed perception with reality. "They had a cocaine dealer as a mayor and a thief as a superintendent of schools," he said, also noting amid some snickers from the chamber that Congress once appointed a receiver "to run the place."
The resolution's sponsor, Rep. Cindy Rosenwald, argued the District is entitled to the same representation that the states enjoy. At one point, she had to pause to regain the attention of the noisy chamber.
"I'm married. I'm used to being ignored," she told the House speaker upon resuming her comments.
Opponents of the resolution argued the District was carved out exclusively as a buffer from the states to protect the seat of the national government. For full representation, they suggested that parts of the District be ceded back to Maryland or Virginia before granting statehood to the District.
"They didn't call it the state of Columbia, they called it the District of Columbia," Rep. Frank McCarthy said, calling foul on the District's assertion they pay the most federal taxes per capita.
"The reason they're paying a higher tax rate is they've got 2 million government jobs and they make more money, that's why they're paying more taxes," he said, drawing laughter from the chamber.
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