President Barack Obama announced today that he has ceded to the demands of the D.C. Council and will install District license plates with the motto “Taxation Without Representation” on the presidential limousine.
“President Obama has lived in the District now for four years, and has seen first-hand how patently unfair it is for working families in D.C. to work hard, raise children and pay taxes, without having a vote in Congress,” the White House said in a statement. “Attaching these plates to the presidential 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.”
Obama ignored pleas to put the license plates on his ride during his first term. President Bill Clinton briefly had the plates installed near the end of his term, while President George W. Bush had them removed. Obama’s move to reinstall the plates comes after D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh met with a White House aide to push for the plates. A unanimous Council also recently passed a resolution asking the president to reinstall the plates.
Once the plates are on the limo, the District will continue to have no voting representation in Congress, despite having more residents than Wyoming and Vermont. Congress will also still have to pass a D.C. appropriations bill every year before the District is allowed to spend any of its revenue from local taxes and other fees. And of course, Obama will still be able to trade away the District government’s ability to pay for abortions for low-income women, as he did in 2011.
The White House says the plates will go on this weekend, just in time for the president’s inauguration, and will stay on for the rest of Obama’s term. Or longer, if Mark Plotkin is elected president in 2016.