House Dems Push to Make Washington, D.C., the 51st State as Panel Approves Statehood Bill

Proponents of making Washington, D.C., the 51st state scored a win after a House panel advanced legislation to make D.C. a state for the first time in almost 30 years.

In a party-line vote on Tuesday, the House Oversight Committee approved legislation that would grant statehood to the district and give its roughly 700,000 residents full representation in Congress. 

Eleanor Holmes Norton, the district’s non-voting member of the House, called on Congress to approve the legislation and “live up to the nation’s promise and ideals.”

“Congress has two choices: It can continue to exercise undemocratic authority over 700,000 American citizens who live in the nation’s capital, treating them in the words of Frederick Douglass, as ‘aliens, not citizens, but subjects.’ Or it can live up to the nation’s promise and ideals.”

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) vowed to bring the legislation to the House floor, where it is expected to pass. Currently, the bill has 223 co-sponsors, which is more than the 218 votes needed to pass legislation in the House.

The issue of granting statehood to D.C. has crept back into the national spotlight in recent years after residents in the district voted to approve a referendum petitioning Congress to grant the district statehood in 2016. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said before that vote that it was “morally wrong for American citizens who pay federal taxes, fight in our wars and live in our country to be denied the basic right to full congressional representation.”

He reiterated his support for statehood in a tweet last year: 

Last year, House Democrats passed a measure that called for D.C. to receive “full congressional voting rights and self-government, which only statehood can provide.”

Proponents of such a move note that D.C. has a larger population than Wyoming or Vermont, but residents only have a non-voting representative who can cast votes in committee but not on the House floor. They also do not have representation in the Senate. 

While the bill is expected to pass the House, it’s unlikely that the measure will get passed the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) previously called the idea of statehood “full bore socialism,” and vowed to block such legislation. 

Conservatives have argued that statehood should be achieved through a Constitutional amendment, not Congress. 

While Republicans appeared to be mostly against the idea of statehood, then-candidate Donald Trump said in 2015 that he would want “whatever’s best for” the district when asked about the matter.

The newfound support for statehood marks a major shift from the last time such a measure was voted on. In 1993, when Congress last considered the issue, a bill granting D.C. statehood only was defeated in a 153-277 vote.

Responses

  1. Hey confuction no one said you could not play a game. After all you have been playing with your brain for years. It is now to the point that it does not work and you are crying that no one believes you and your lies. DC should NOT be a state. It is the way it is because DC must represent ALL states, be independent from them and neutral.

  2. If the area which is now the District of Columbia should really have voting representatives in Congress, then Congress should give the land back to the state from which it was taken (Maryland) like it did in 1846 with the land originally ceded by Virginia.

    However, just like an embassy does not belong to the country in which it is located, the seat of our federal government should not belong to any state because the purpose of that land is to provide housing and work places for representatives of all states, who are citizens of their respective states, who should not be subject to another state’s laws, regulations, or taxes.

    Too many in D.C. already consider themselves the elite and not really representatives of their states. If D.C. were to become another state, it should be called Swamp.

  3. It won’t pass the senate, it won’t pass the vote of the other 50 states. The left is looking for 2 more senators and a house seat. That’s what this is about.

  4. no No NO!!!!!!! DC must not become a state. The Founding Fathers knew that the Nations Capital Must NOT be a state. It would give one state more power over all the other states and our Founding Fathers knew all states must be equal or it will cause contention in the union. Sure the Dem’s want DC to become a state because it works for their cause after all DC is a Democrat Stronghold.

    1. “our Founding Fathers knew all states must be equal or it will cause contention in the union” William

      You are contradicting yourself. D.C. is NOT equal to other states now and has been a bone of contention since the start.

  5. “Conservatives have argued that statehood should be achieved through a Constitutional amendment, not Congress.” Article

    Tell that to Presidents Lincoln and Harrison. They would be confused.

  6. Sad, the Democrats are desperate! This tact is unconstitutional but if it makes the Democrats feel good, do it!!

    Get rid of the Electoral College because THAT didn’t go our way.

    Trump cheated! That didn’t go our way.

    I got it, let’s make DC a state regardless of what The Constitution says….

    Like I said, desperate!!

    1. They are desperate for the Electoral votes and reps “blue” DC will give them. Funny how the Consitiution and Electoral College only matter for them when it’s convenient.

  7. In 1786 the founding fathers decided that a fever-swamp, part of Maryland, would be the new FEDERAL district to be governed by Congress.

    If DC is to become a state, then Congress MUST approve it. They have months before the Dims lose Congress to do this.