WASHINGTON – House and Senate Democrats on Wednesday introduced a bill that would make Washington, DC, the 51st state.
The measure was reintroduced to the House by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who represents the District of Columbia, and her companion was unveiled in the Senate by Senator Tom Carper, D-Del. On Tuesday evening, Norton said she had more than 200 co-sponsors in the House.
“There has never been a time when statehood for the district was more likely,” Norton said in a statement, adding that the bill was passed by the House last year for the first time and now had a “record” of 202 co-sponsors. The accompanying Senate bill is also gaining co-sponsors, “we stand ready to achieve electoral representation and full local self-government for the 712,000+ residents of the District of Columbia,” she said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., And Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Have pledged to put the bill to a vote, Norton said. She added that with the majority Democrats in the House and Senate, and with the support of President Joe Biden, “this is the time when we can finally right this historic injustice and give DC residents the same rights. than other American taxpayers. “
While the bill could pass again in the House, which remains under Democratic control, its chances of emptying the Senate are nil. Democrats control the Senate because, with a 50-50 split, Vice President Kamala Harris can cast decisive votes. But Democrats would have to overcome a filibuster, requiring 60 votes, for the legislation to pass, meaning they would need at least 10 Republicans to join them. Many GOP lawmakers have expressed opposition to creating a state for DC because its representation in Congress would almost certainly be Democratic.
Carper, however, said in a statement that DC’s statehood is not “a Republican or Democratic issue.”
“It’s an American problem because the lack of fair representation given to residents of DC is incompatible with the values on which this country was founded,” he said. “It is therefore incumbent upon all of us who enjoy the right and the privilege to enjoy the full right to vote and to represent the cause of our fellow citizens in the District of Columbia.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser applauded the move on Wednesday.
“Generations of Washingtonians have been denied the right to participate in our democracy – to have their voices and votes heard in Congress, to help shape the future of our nation, and to have a say in the judges of the Supreme Court, ”she wrote on Twitter.