- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 6, 2014


Although he probably was unaware, President Obama conjured up a neatly wrapped birthday gift for Marion Barry the other day.

Problem is, Congress has to deliver the present.

What’s inside, you ask?

The first ever, praise Jesus for the Democratic president, wonderful little ditty called statuary language that would give the District of Columbia legislative autonomy.

The proposal, part of the president’s fiscal 2015 spending request to Congress, also would eliminate the 30-day congressional review period for bills approved by city lawmakers.

Cup your ears, because the blue-robed choruses are everywhere.

But it’s way too soon to shout.

As I said, Congress has to first grant the president the go-ahead, and like all other matters tangled from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other, freeing D.C., a longtime dream of Mr. Barry‘s, just might not be realized in 2014.

Many voters and other residents weren’t around in the 1960s, when Mr. Barry — who turned 78 years young on Thursday — was front and center in the civil rights, Free D.C. and D.C. Statehood movements. But, boy, oh boy, do they understand the dynamics now.

Back then, while many residents and others pushed for full-fledged statehood, Southern Democrats had to be prodded to grant D.C. home rule in the early 1970s — more than a decade after the 87th Congress had passed the 23rd Amendment that gave D.C. a voice in presidential elections and the right to vote for a school board.

Now, here we are with the 113th Congress and denizens of the nation’s capital still remain under the confines of the original U.S. Constitution, which grants Congress considerable leeway.

Agree or disagree, only Congress and a wide berth of American voters can change that course.

The ‘senator’ is trying

Shadow Sen. Paul Strauss is one of the city’s go-to men when it comes to statehood.

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