District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray has expressed gratitude to President Barack Obama for agreeing to place D.C.’s “Taxation without Representation” license plates on his official vehicles.
The agreement, which comes just in time for the inaugural parade, has turned a spotlight on the District’s long-running lack of voting representation in Congress.
“I appreciate the president agreeing to bring attention to this important issue during the inauguration festivities,” said Gray. “As a District resident himself, President Obama has seen up close the injustice of denying voting representation and other forms of robust self-government to the 632,000 people who live in the very shadow of our nation’s most recognizable symbol of democracy.”
The White House indicated that the plates would remain on the presidential vehicles throughout the remainder of Obama’s term.
D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton also thanked Obama “for agreeing to a small but larger than life sign of his commitment” to the District and its residents.
“Double kudos to the D.C. Council for pursuing a strategy to make it happen,” Norton said in a statement. “Each step must be counted as bringing us closer to our full entitlement as American citizens who pay more than our fair share of federal taxes and have served in all the nation’s wars, always without the rights those obligations demand.”
D.C.’s “Taxation without Representation” plates were first used on presidential vehicles by President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, but they were removed by President George W. Bush after he took office in 2001.
During his first term, Obama did not use the “Taxation without Representation” plates. But the White House issued a statement saying that the president had seen how it was “patently unfair” for D.C. residents to pay federal taxes without enjoying voting representation in Congress.
The statement also said that placing the plates on his vehicles “demonstrates the president’s commitment to the principle of full representation for the people of the District of Columbia and his willingness to fight for voting rights, Home Rule and budget autonomy for the District.”