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A vehicle for change? Obama's license plates

Presidential limos will be sporting some new license plates for Inauguration Day.
Washington DC DMV
Washington DC DMV

Presidential limos will be sporting some new license plates for Inauguration Day. The White House announced today that President Obama has decided all presidential vehicles will bear the Washington D.C. standard "Taxation Without Representation" license plates starting this weekend.

White House spokesman Keith Maley said in a statement, "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 license plates feature the phrase, originally used by British colonists in the 18th century, to point out that residents of the District are subject to the same taxes as other Americans without having a comparable voice in Congress. Today D.C. residents are represented by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a non-voting member of the House who serves on some committees but cannot cast a final vote in favor of or against any legislation.

Norton praised the president's decision. "Kudos to the president for agreeing to a small but larger-than-life sign of his commitment to the District and its residents," she said. "Each step must be counted as bringing us closer to our full entitlement as American citizens who pay more than our fair share of federal taxes and have served in all the nation's wars, always without the rights those obligations demand."

"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," the statement said.

The plates were used by Bill Clinton in the 1990's, but removed by George W. Bush when he took office in 2001.

Democratic Senators Patty Murray, Barbara Boxer, and Dick Durbin joined outgoing Independent Senator Joe Lieberman last month in pushing legislation that would make Washington D.C. the 51st state in order to grant it full representation in Congress. Republicans have typically opposed DC statehood, while supporting statehood for Puerto Rico, presumably because the city votes overwhelmingly Democratic.