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Rep. Steve Scalise

In a memo obtained by Forbes reporter Andrew Solender on Wednesday, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) says Washington, D.C., shouldn't be made a state because it "can't even perform basic governmental duties like protecting its residents from criminals."

Scalise pointed to a "spike in murders" as well as "an alarming surge in carjackings" in saying that the 700,000 residents of Washington do not deserve voting representation in Congress.

It's the latest Republican argument against granting statehood to the district, something the GOP wants to block on the assumption that the new state's voters would select Democrats to make up their congressional delegation.

Other Republicans have argued that D.C. shouldn't be a state because:

  • Its economy isn't based on mining or manufacturing.
  • It does not have an airport or landfill.
  • It's too small geographically.
  • It doesn't have enough people to be a state — even though its population is larger than that of either Vermont or Wyoming.

Scalise doesn't mention that his home state of Louisiana also has a problem with crime.

According to FBI data published in 2019, in 2017 Louisiana had a higher rate of crime than any other state in the country, with 12.4 murders per 100,000 residents. The state has had the highest murder rate in the country for 31 years running, the New York Times reported this February.

In 2020, the Metropolitan Crime Commission in New Orleans, part of which is in Scalise's 1st Congressional District, reported a 70 percent increase in homicides in the city.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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