On Thursday, the House passed a bill that would make the District of Columbia the 51st state in the nation. This is the second time in history that the Democrats have passed it. It adds momentum to a long sought after goal by the Democrats and they unanimously accepted Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton’s Washington, D.C. Admission Act. It is also called the H.R. 51.
The act has been described as an attempt to restore equal citizenship to the nation’s residents who live in the capital. It is also a bid to rectify a historic injustice and Norton told colleagues that they had a “moral obligation” to ensure that the bill is passed. The bill was passed along party lines 216-208.
Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), sponsored the bill in the Senate. It will have a much tougher passage in the Senate. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said that they would try to work a path to get the bill passed so D. C. gets statehood. The White House has also released a policy statement asking Congress to pass the bill as soon as possible.
Despite all this support, the bill will face strong opposition as the Senate filibuster requires a support of 60 senators. The Republicans have already called it a “power grab” as two seats will come up and D.C. is a city that is deep-blue. Some Democrats are also wary of supporting the bill as the run up to the 2022 midterms is close.
Muriel E. Bowser (D), Mayor of D.C. said in a statement that lawmakers who voted for D.C statehood had made a decision to believe in a democracy that was stronger and “more inclusive.”
If H.R. 51 is passed, it would shrink the federal district to a two-mile square. Federal buildings including the White House and the Capitol would be within the square. The rest of the areas, which include both residential and commercial ones, would be designated as the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, in honor of the abolitionist Frederick Douglas.
Editorial image credit: Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock
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