WASHINGTON (WAVY/WDVM) — Washington, D.C. has another chance at statehood, thanks to Senate Democrats who reintroduced legislation Wednesday.
This would make D.C. the 51st state of the United States.
The Washington, D.C. Admission Act would establish congressional boundaries for the state and grant D.C. residents full congressional representation.
Additionally, the bill would ensure that the citizens and elected leaders of the District of Columbia have full authority over local affairs, including crucial safety and security matters.
The legislation would designate the areas surrounding the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the National Mall as the seat of the federal government.
That area would inherit the name the “Capital” and remain under the control of Congress, as mandated by the Constitution.
Senator Tom Carper of Delaware, who’s leading the effort, said, “#DCStatehood isn’t a Republican or a Democratic issue. It’s an American issue because the lack of fair representation for D.C. residents is clearly inconsistent with the values on which this country was founded.”
Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has long advocated for D.C. statehood, said representatives’ support is “a promising sign that our country is finally ready to right this historic wrong.”
Virginia Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine joined the efforts.
“We are proud to cosponsor this piece of legislation recognizing D.C. as our nation’s 51st state,” said the Senators. “For too long, our neighbors in D.C. have been denied their civil rights and subject to taxation without proper representation.”
On January 6 during the attack on the Capitol building, a statement released by Warner and Kaine says “it took hours to approve National Guard mobilization.”
The statement also says that D.C. National Guard doesn’t fall under local control. Instead, the order to mobilize the guard must come from the White House, rather than the head of the D.C. government.
About 712,000 residents live in the District of Columbia, more than Vermont and Wyoming, and its residents pay more in federal income tax than residents in 22 other states.
While it has representation in the U.S. House of Representatives with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, she cannot vote.
According to the District, 86 percent of voters supported the Washington, DC Admission Act. They’ve especially felt the heat during the coronavirus pandemic; Mayor Bowser requested $750 million of Covid relief from Congress but was only granted about $500 million. That’s because the CARES Act defines Washington, D.C. as a territory, not a state.
The bill will have to pass in the House, the Senate, and be signed by the president.