D.C. to push for statehood during Obama inauguration

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Local,DC,Eric P. Newcomer,Inauguration

Now that President Obama has agreed to put "Taxation Without Representation" District license plates on his presidential limousines, what's next?

For one, the city will display a banner on its viewing stand along the path of the Inauguration Day Parade that reads, "A More Perfect Union Must Include Full Democracy in DC."

The 151-seat viewing stand will host members of city council, the mayor's staff and some D.C. residents. The Washington Examiner reported earlier this month that the viewing stand will cost federal taxpayers about $342,000.

At a press conference touting the banner, Mayor Vincent Gray didn't spend much time basking in the city's license plate victory. Asked whether he would like the president to mention D.C. statehood in his State of the Union address, the mayor said he would.

"We'll continue to fight the battle every place we possibly can," he said.

The mayor said budget autonomy for the District would be the next priority.

D.C. voters will have a chance to vote on a referendum that would give the city council more authority over its own budget by separating it from spending oversight on Capitol Hill.

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson observed that there has been a "steady drumbeat" of progress, but warned, "I can't promise this will continue."

enewcomer@washingtonexaminer.com

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