Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser on Thursday said the District of Columbia was treated like a “territory” instead of a state after it was allocated $725 million less than the states in the latest coronavirus response bill.
Her comment comes less than 24 hours after the Senate unanimously voted to approve a historic $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. According to Bowser, while the 50 states were given at least $1.25 billion each, the district was given $500 million. She said the very idea of being treated like a territory is “shocking” and “infuriating.”
“It’s wrong. It’s outrageous,” she said during a press conference. “We’re not a territory. We pay more taxes – unlike the territories – than 22 states. We have a larger population than several states and we are treated as a state by thousands of federal laws and programs.”
She continued, “it’s unconscionable to give DC the least amount of funding of any state, especially given the unique challenges we take on as the seat of the federal government.”
On Wednesday, Bowser and D.C. City Council Chairman Phil Mendelson co-signed a letter that was sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer expressing concern over the bill’s proposed allocation amount, prior to the Senate’s vote.
During a press conference Thursday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed she was not satisfied with the way Washington, DC, was treated, saying the district was being treated in a “discriminatory” manner and said that she wants to correct this in the next bill.
“But it was curious, that the, the, in this bill, they decided to treat the District of Columbia, in a very discriminatory way,” Pelosi said. “It really makes no sense unless you have some other motivation.”
There are more than 75,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US, at least 231 in the nation’s capital.
Bowser ordered nonessential businesses in the district to close from March 25 at 10 p.m. through April 24, joining several other states that have implemented the restriction. On Wednesday, Washington residents were sent an emergency alert urging them to stay at home and only make essential trips.
CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.