Biden’s new presidential license plates make subtle call for DC statehood

The idea of 'no taxation without representation' helped fuel American independence from Britain

The presidential limousine was spotted in Washington Wednesday sporting new license plates marking the start of President Biden’s term -- and maybe a subtle wink in favor of D.C. statehood.

Many drivers in the city choose license plates bearing the phrase, "Taxation Without Representation," which is a sarcastic play on the Founding Fathers’ demand that they pay the British "no taxation without representation" in Parliament -- and the capital city’s lack of a vote in Congress.

The plate new plates on "The Beast," as the chief executive's armored limo is known, have a No. 46, to represent Biden being the nation's 46th president, and the phrase across the bottom.

The license plate is seen on the new car of US President Joe Biden, parked at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 20, 2021. (Photo by Rod LAMKEY / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ROD LAMKEY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The license plate is seen on the new car of US President Joe Biden, parked at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 20, 2021. (Photo by Rod LAMKEY / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ROD LAMKEY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Washington is represented in the House by a "delegate," Eleanor Norton, who has less privileges than a U.S. representative, and the city does not have a senator. The city has issued license plates bearing the phrase since the mid-1990s in protest, since residents still pay taxes.

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Statehood would create two new Senate seats – a move that would likely favor Democrats.

The plate has appeared on the presidential limo during several recent administrations, DCist reported Wednesday.

President Bill Clinton used the phrase, according to the outlet. President George W. Bush did not. And Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump each displayed it for only part of their time in office.

House Democrats passed a DC statehood bill over the summer, but it failed to find support in the Senate -- where Republicans had no incentive to vote to create two new seats for colleagues who would likely oppose them.

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It would have created a 51st state named Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, after the abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The D.C. currently stands for District of Columbia.

The city would have gained two senators and a single new member of the House of Representatives, based on population. It does already have three Electoral College votes, and that would not change.

Fox News’ Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.