Congressman Fred Keller votes against legislation authorizing statehood for Washington, D.C.

February 11, 2020
Press Release
Introduces amendments to ban sanctuary status in new Capital area, require state pension fund management

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Fred Keller (R-PA) on Tuesday voted against legislation that would create a new state out of Washington, D.C. The legislation, which passed out of the House Oversight and Reform Committee along partisan lines, would create “Washington Douglass Commonwealth” for the areas surrounding the Capitol making up the current city of Washington, D.C.


“Washington, D.C. was never meant to be a state, it was meant to be a neutral location for the seat of the federal government. Our founders felt this was important so that no state received favoritism with having the assets of the federal government located within it,” Congressman Keller said. “On top of that, Washington, D.C. has a troubled history of financial mismanagement and high crime. It has barely been able to manage itself as a city and should not be allowed to manage itself as a state.”


During Tuesday’s committee mark-up, Congressman Keller introduced two amendments that would bring some sense to an otherwise bad bill. Both were defeated by the committee’s Democrat majority.


The first amendment would limit the imposition of Washington, D.C.’s current status as a sanctuary city to carry over to the proposed Capital area.


“The right thing for the new hypothetical Capital area is to lead by example, follow the laws of this land, and work cooperatively with federal law enforcement, including immigration authorities,” Congressman Keller said of his amendment.


“Americans heard last week from President Trump about the dangers of sanctuary city policies. It is not in the best interests of Americans anywhere to live in a society where known dangerous criminals are allowed to prowl the streets so liberal local governments can cave to their political base’s desires.”


Congressman Keller also introduced an amendment that would require, as with all states, that the new Washington Douglass Commonwealth manage its own pension fund.


As a result of gross mismanagement, Washington, D.C.’s pension fund has been managed by the federal government.


“Having served on Pennsylvania’s PSERS board, one of the nation’s largest pension systems, I know the importance and difficulties in states needing to manage their own pension liabilities. However, this is an important state function,” Congressman Keller said. “If D.C. wants statehood, they need to take on the benefits as well as the responsibilities. The new state and its local municipalities should bear the burden of funding its own pension programs, just like every other state and municipality in this country.”


The bill authorizing statehood advanced from the House Oversight and Reform Committee by a vote of 21 to 16. It next needs to be considered by the full House of Representatives.