For the first time in 26 years, Congress will vote on a resolution to designate Washinton D.C. as America’s fifty-first state and every senator running for president in the 2020 election is co-sponsoring the bill.
According to the New Yorker, Senators Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, and Kirsten Gillibrand, along with 22 others, have co-signed the legislation originally introduced by Sen. Tom Carper.
It’s a companion bill to H.R. 51, which the Democrat-led House is expected to vote and pass in the coming weeks.
The Republican-led Senate, however, is expected to shoot down the bill.
That’s likely because D.C. is a Democrat-dominated district. In 2016, Hillary Clinton received over 90 percent of the vote there while Donald Trump got just over four percent.
Washinton D.C. is home to more people than Vermont and Wyoming, and yet they have little say in what happens in the federal government. Eleanor Holmes Norton represents the capital in the House of Representatives but is not allowed to vote. She’s the one who introduced H.R. 51.
“It matters,” Sen. Warren told the New Yorker on the issue of D.C. statehood.
“Here’s an example. In 2017, when Republicans tried to rip away health care from millions of Americans, including tens of thousands of people in D.C., Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton didn’t have a vote. This is not right. The right to vote is at the heart of our democracy.”
Washington D.C. has no representation in the Senate and is allowed electoral college votes in the presidential election, but no more than the least populated state.
Because of this, as the New Yorker noted, Congress had been able to strike down legislation that Washinton D.C. voters overwhelmingly supported, such as marijuana legalization and abortion access.
But H.R.51 proves that the idea of a D.C. statehood isn’t as far away from the mainstream as previously thought, especially with six presidential candidates openly supporting the idea.
“The argument is that, if American citizens get to vote, then the Senate might be more progressive,” Warren added. “Yes! That’s right. The Senate might be more responsive to American citizens. That’s how democracy is supposed to work.”