DC Statehood to Go Before Full House Next Week
WASHINGTON – A bill that would make the District of Columbia the 51st state made it out of the House Oversight and Reforms Committee on Wednesday, and will come up for a vote in the full House next week.
Last June, the House passed legislation that would make the District the 51st state and give its 700,000 residents voting representation, but the bill was never considered in what was then a Republican-controlled Senate.
GOP leaders and their members have stood firmly against D.C. statehood, calling it a democratic power grab designed to tip the balance in the Senate in favor of Democrats by adding two senators from a liberal stronghold.
But with Democrats now in control, passage of the measure seems far more likely.
The legislation needs 51 votes to pass the Senate. A filibuster could create an even bigger hurdle of 60 votes to proceed to a vote. On the Senate side, supporters have 41 co-sponsors — the highest number ever.
The next stop for this year’s Hosue bill is the Rules Committee, and after that, it wil be on to the House floor.
Commenting on the House vote this week, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., said the vote was historic, “to me it’s also personal.”
“My own family has lived in D.C. since my great-grandfather Richard Holmes, as a slave, walked away from a plantation in Virginia and made his way to D.C. almost 200 years ago. Richard Holmes made it as far as D.C., a walk to freedom but not to equal citizenship so far for our family,” Norton siad.
“Last year, the House passed H.R. 51, which was the first time in history a chamber had passed the D.C. statehood bill. This year, H.R. 51 has 215 cosponsors, virtually guaranteeing House passage next week. With Democrats controlling the House, the Senate and the White House, we have never been closer to statehood,” she added.
On Wednesday, Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., a senior member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and longtime leader of the push to make the District of Columbia the 51st state, announced that three new cosponsors had joined his bill.
They are Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., Jon Ossoff, D- Ga., and John Hickenlooper, D-Colo. The Senate measure now has 44 cosponsors, the largest amount ever for a bill granting statehood to D.C.
“D.C. statehood is a matter of basic fairness, not politics,” Carper said. “With our record 44th cosponsor, momentum is firmly on the side of the movement to grant equal representation to Washington, D.C.’s more than 700,000 residents. These are Americans who, just like in any other state, pay federal taxes and proudly serve in our nation’s Armed Forces and yet do not have a voice or vote in Congress.”
Carper has introduced D.C. statehood legislation every Congress since 2013. Carper is also a cosponsor of the District of Columbia National Guard Home Rule Act which would give the District of Columbia autonomy over its own National Guard and police force.
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