On Monday, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will display support for the cause of D.C. voting rights – on their cars, at least.
The White House announced this week that beginning inauguration weekend and continuing through Obama’s second term, D.C.’s “Taxation Without Representation” license plates will be standard on presidential vehicles.
Saturday, the new plates debuted on the President and Vice President's limousines and the plates will be seen by millions around the world during Monday's inaugural parade.
“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,” White House spokesman Keith Maley said. “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.”
Last week, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Council member Mary Cheh went to the White House to request the president use the plates.
Mayor Vincent Gray released an appreciative statement, saying: "As a District resident himself, President Obama has seen up close the injustice of denying voting representation and other forms of robust self-government to the 632,000 people who live in the very shadow of our nation’s most recognizable symbol of democracy.”
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton said, "Kudos to the president for agreeing to a small but larger-than-life sign of his commitment to the District and its residents. Double kudos to the D.C. Council for pursuing a strategy to make it happen."
City leaders added the phrase “Taxation Without Representation” to standard-issue license plates in 2000 to call attention to the District's lack of voting representation in Congress.
President Bill Clinton made the symbolic gesture of placing the “Taxation Without Representation” tags on the presidential limo. President George W. Bush reversed course. Obama did not restore the plates in 2008.