Legislation to turn Washington, D.C. into the nation’s 51st state advanced out of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform late Wednesday, setting the stage for the full House to possibly pass the bill next week.
House Democratic leaders praised the progress after today’s vote, which passed along party lines in the Democrat-controlled committee.
Before anyone gets too excited, know that this vote is not a surprise. But it is strong momentum for Democrats as they try to push forward DC Statehood, which has become an integral part of the party’s agenda in recent years, due to the importance of voting rights, in particular for the District’s minority residents.
Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the District and sponsored the bill, said it’s time for D.C. residents’ votes to be counted.
“Congress can no longer exclude D.C. residents from the democratic process, forcing residents to watch from the sidelines as Congress votes on laws that affect the nation or votes even on the laws of the duly elected D.C. government. Democracy requires much more.”
Another D.C. Statehood bill failed to clear the Senate last year. The same hurdles in that chamber remain. With the filibuster in place, the bill would need 60 senate votes to advance. There’s a 50-50 split in the chamber, with Vice President Harris the tie breaking vote. So without Republican support, this legislation has little chance of being approved. And that’s without even considering that not all Democratic senators are in favor of making D.C. a state.