Biden Administration Supports DC Statehood
WASHINGTON – The White House on Tuesday formally threw its support behind the D.C. Statehood bill, saying it would provide the residents of the District with “long overdue full representation in Congress.”
“Establishing the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth as the 51st state will make our Union stronger and more just,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement of administration policy. “Washington, D.C., has a robust economy, a rich culture, and a diverse population of Americans from all walks of life who are entitled to full and equal participation in our democracy.”
“For far too long, the more than 700,000 people of Washington, D.C., have been deprived of full representation in the U.S. Congress,” the statement continued. “This taxation without representation and denial of self governance is an affront to the democratic values on which our nation was founded. H.R. 51 rights this wrong by making Washington, D.C., a state and providing its residents with long overdue full representation in Congress, while maintaining a Federal District that will continue to serve as our nation’s seat of government.”
The statement further called for Congress “to provide for a swift and orderly transition to statehood for the people of Washington, D.C.”
The House is expected to begin the process of passing the D.C. Statehood Act later today. It is one of three pieces of major legislation the chamber plans to move by the end of the week.
During a virtual meeting with reporters on Tuesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said of the bills currently before the House, “the D.C. Statehood Act is the one that I have really focused on … and I believe [it] will correct a longtime blot on our democracy.”
Hoyer said to the best of his knowledge, the United States is the only free democratic country whose capital city does not have a voting member in its legislature.
“Obviously, when the District of Columbia was created, there was not a perception that it would one day grow to the size that it is, nor that it would have home rule, but U.S. citizens living in the District of Columbia are essentially, in some respects, second class citizens,” Hoyer said, adding, “This bill rights an historic wrong.”
Hoyer went on to say he expects every Democrat in the House will vote in favor of the bill, and he said he hopes a significant number of Republicans will vote for it as well.
He noted that some believe admitting the District of Columbia to the fraternity of states is tantamount to admitting a new Democratic stronghold to the union, calling such a notion a “misperception.”
“When Alaska and Hawaii were admitted to the union, there was a clear thought that Alaska would be a Democratic state and Hawaii would be a Republican state. Of course, today, just the opposite is true,” he said.
“The Constitution ensures that states must be treated equally,” Hoyer said. “Right now, the District of Columbia is not treated equally. This bill will correct that.”