D.C. statehood to be voted on in the House for the first time in a quarter century
The House will vote this week on a bill that could provide statehood to Washington, D.C., and has garnered more support than it had when it voted on a similar bill 25 years before.
The Washington, DC Admission Act was introduced by Sen. Tom Carper, Delaware Democrat, on Feb. 28 and co-sponsored by 29 senators. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s Democratic delegate with no voting power, introduced an identical bill in the House with almost 200 co-sponsors in January.
The bill would make Washington the 51st state of the union with full representation in Congress. The District of Columbia would shrink down to the blocks containing the White House, Capitol, Supreme Court and National Mall and the remaining areas would become the state of New Columbia.
“The Senate re-introduction of the Washington, DC Admission Act is an important step in the march toward full equality for the residents of Washington, DC,” Bo Shuff, executive director of DC Vote, said in a statement. “The record level of support ... shows that DC Statehood has become a mainstream issue for people across the country.”
Washington’s population of more than 700,000 is larger than two states and pays more federal taxes than 22 states, all without a vote in Congress.
“We are grateful to Senator Tom Carper for his tremendous leadership and for being our staunch ally in the Senate,” Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement. “DC is not asking for a handout; we are demanding our fundamental rights as American citizens.”
Many Republicans have opposed statehood for D.C. because the area would likely elect only Democrats. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won 90 percent of the D.C. vote in 2016.
The last time a D.C. statehood bill was brought up was in 1993 and was defeated in the house 277 to 153. While the bill is expected to pass the Democratic house, chances are slim it will pass the Republican-controlled Senate.