January 3, 2007
Regula still wants to join D.C. to Maryland
By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service
WASHINGTON Rep. Ralph Regula is not ruling out a "yes" vote on a
plan to grant the District of Columbia congressional
But the Bethlehem Township Republican said Tuesday he still
prefers his longstanding proposal to rejoin most of the federal
district to Maryland.
This, he said, would provide residents of the district with the
benefits of Maryland's public schools and universities, economic
and transportation planning, and a representative in Congress.
"I still think my solution is the best one for the people," he
TWO MORE HOUSE SEATS
With Democrats regaining control of the House and Senate in the
November election, chances have increased that Congress will
approve a plan to grant congressional representation to the
overwhelmingly Democratic enclave.
The incoming Democratic majority is expected to take up
legislation offered by Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., and District of
Columbia Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat. The bill
would add two more seats to the House - one for the nation's
capital and the other for Utah.
The plan stands a better chance of passing than previous
proposals because the addition of a likely Democratic
congressional seat in D.C. would be balanced by a new seat for
Utah that is likely to be held by a Republican.
Regula has not decided how he would vote if that bill makes it
the House floor, he said.
He has pushed his plan since at least 1990, when he was a member
of the then-Republican minority in Congress. Before the GOP won
control of the House in 1994, Regula served on an appropriations
subcommittee that allocated federal spending to the district.
His proposal would rejoin most of the district with Maryland,
leaving a small federal enclave including the White House, the
U.S. Capitol and other federal buildings.
The district was created in 1788, when Maryland and Virginia
ceded territory for its creation. Virginia took back its
territory, including the city of Alexandria, through an
agreement with Congress in 1846.
Although there are a number of proposals to give the district
congressional representation, Regula said his has the added
benefit of making the district part of a larger state.
D.C. residents' "quality of life, their opportunities, would be
much greater if they were to be a city in Maryland," he said.
Regula does not oppose congressional representation for the
district, he said. But he fears that if the district gets
congressional representation on its own, there will be no chance
to make it part of Maryland.
He also acknowledged that he has been unsuccessful getting his
legislation passed and is pessimistic about its prospects in a
The Regula plan has been a hard sell among officials in Maryland
and the district, and with Norton, who opposes it.
"It's hard to get people interested," he said.
But last year, Regula's proposal received a plug from John
Fortier, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who said
the Davis-Norton plan would be unconstitutional.
In a piece for The Hill, a Capitol Hill publication, Fortier
wrote that Regula's plan "is the most legitimate way to go."