D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Thursday it is infuriating that the Senate’s coronavirus relief package treats the District like a territory, meaning it will get significantly less money than the states.
“I have to say that the very idea of being treated like a territory is shocking, it’s infuriating, it’s wrong, it’s outrageous,” Miss Bowser said at a press conference. “We’re not a territory, we pay more taxes, unlike the territories, than 22 states, we have a larger population than several states and we are treated like a state in thousands of federal laws and programs.”
“It’s unconscionable to give D.C. the least amount of money of any state especially given the unique challenges we take on as the seat of the federal government,” the Democratic mayor said.
The Senate voted Wednesday night to give states at least $1.25 billion in relief dollars for the public health emergency, while the District will only receive $500 million.
Miss Bowser noted this is why the census is so important and said this would not have happened if the District had two senators.
The mayor and D.C. Council sent a letter to the Senate expressing their opposition to the District’s treatment.
Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said this is less about statehood and more about public health and the economy.
“It makes no sense, and I mean no criticism here, that states like Wyoming or Vermont would get more money than us when the pandemic is clearly far more of an issue and a public health threat here than it is in those states,” Mr. Mendelson said.
As of Wednesday night, the District had 48 new positive cases of coronavirus, including a D.C. Jail inmate and an 8-week-old.