GOP Rep. Jody Hice argued against DC statehood by incorrectly citing a lack of car dealerships

Jody Hice
Rep. Jody Hice (R-Georgia) speaks on the House floor.

  • In citing his opposition to DC statehood, Hice incorrectly said that the city lacks car dealerships.
  • The conservative congressman had long argued that statehood went against the intent of the Framers.
  • The proposed bill, H.R. 51, is likely to pass the House but faces major roadblocks in the Senate.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia is staunchly opposed to statehood for Washington DC, an opinion shared by most congressional Republicans.

During a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Monday to discuss H.R. 51, a Democratic-backed bill that would grant statehood to the District, he incorrectly cited the District’s lack of car dealerships as a rationale against the proposal.

In the past, Hice has largely opposed statehood under his view that it goes against the intention of the Framers, but he expanded on his viewpoint during the hearing.

“DC would be the only state – the only state – without an airport, without a car dealership, without a capital city and without a landfill,” he argued.

Hice was incorrect in his assessment, as the city boasts numerous car dealerships, including a Tesla showroom not far from the Capitol.

Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who represents a congressional district anchored in suburban Washington DC, slammed Hice’s rationale for opposing statehood.

“It was cited that there’s no car dealership in the District of Columbia,” he said. “That’s not a constitutional restriction. It turns out, there is a car dealership in the District of Columbia. At this point, [do] we agree that people in DC should enjoy equal political rights? Of course not, because they’re simply trying to gin up whatever arguments they can think of. These are frivolous arguments.”

After Hice was informed that he was wrong, he walked back his statement, claiming he didn’t know where a dealership in the city was located.

“If there’s a car dealership in DC, I apologize for being wrong,” he said. “I have no idea where it is.”

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The House bill is likely to pass the Democratic-controlled House, but it will face major roadblocks in the Senate. While Democrats narrowly control the upper chamber due to Vice President Kamala Harris’s tiebreaking vote, Republicans are overwhelmingly opposed to the bill and prevent it from reaching the 60-vote threshold to cut off debate.

There are 215 cosponsors of H.R. 51 in the House and 41 cosponsors of the Senate bill, and all are Democrats.

Earlier in the day, Hice announced that he would challenge Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican who former President Donald Trump repeatedly excoriated for validating the integrity of President Joe Biden’s Georgia victory in the 2020 presidential election.

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