Editorial

EDITORIAL: Before Statehood, Washingtonians Deserve ‘Hazard Pay’ Stipends

Now that the White House and both houses of Congress are controlled by Democrats, the District of Columbia may be closer than ever before to finally being given its own voice and vote as the nation’s 51st state.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) come to mind as the more recently-vocal proponents for D.C. statehood. However, they are but two in a very long line of activists who have pressed for total independence from the federal government and an equal seat at the table.

But before the historic vote is cast, we’d like to request the disbursement of a stipend for every resident of the District as well as those who travel each day to work for the city, its businesses or who provide support for any and all essential services within the District.

For lack of a better description, we’ll call this one-time disbursement, “hazard pay.”

While every city, town, village and suburban cul-de-sac have all been impacted by the shutdowns and layoffs that have occurred because of the health pandemic, the District, in recent weeks, has experienced something germane only to Washington, D.C.

What is that you ask? The answer is a sudden and total interruption of workers’ ability to earn their daily pay because of the recent, unprecedented assault on the U.S. Capitol.

Since January 6 when pro-Trump supporters attempted to take over federal land, causing death and destruction, more businesses have shuttered their doors. Bridges and thoroughfares have been closed from vehicles. Service for trains and busses has been interrupted or temporarily halted.

And as law enforcement and the District prepared for Wednesday’s inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, more shutdowns, lockups and halted movement would be necessary to ensure safety for all.

But were our local workers given the day or days off with pay? It’s doubtful.

So, Mister President or Rep. Norton, we’d like to see someone make a motion for a “hazard pay” stipend for those impacted by a loss of income in a situation for which they had no control.

Sounds like a good idea, we believe.

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