by WorldTribune Staff, April 22, 2021
House Democrats on Thursday, with zero support from Republicans, passed legislation that would make Washington, D.C the 51st state in the union.
The party-line vote in the House was 216 to 208, with all Republicans rejecting H.R. 51.
The legislation has support from Joe Biden but faces long odds of passing in the 50-50 split Senate.
Under the plan, the 51st state would be called “Washington, Douglass Commonwealth,” named for Frederick Douglass. The state would consist of 66 of the 68 square miles of the present-day federal district.
The two square miles around the White House, Capitol, Supreme Court and National Mall would be carved out into a reduced federal district controlled by Congress and named the “Capital.”
“Statehood for the District of Columbia is about showing respect for our democracy,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “It’s well past the time to grant them the rights that they have been fighting for and that they deserve.”
“Let’s be clear what H.R. 51 is all about: It’s about Democrats adding two new progressive U.S. senators to push a radical agenda championed by the Squad to reshape America into the socialist utopia they always talk about,” said Kentucky Republican Rep. James Comer.
Passages of D.C. statehood in the Senate is far from guaranteed due to the legislative filibuster that requires 60 votes to advance legislation.
Many leftists, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, are demanding the Senate ditch the filibuster so the statehood legislation could pass with a simple majority vote.
Even if that happens, “not all 50 Democrats in the Senate have embraced D.C. statehood,” Fox News noted.
H.R. 51 has 44 co-sponsors in the Senate. Maine Independent Sen. Angus King and Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly of Arizona, and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, are not yet on board.
Republicans argued that because Washington, D.C.’s establishment is constitutionally based, any change to the district must come in the form of a constitutional amendment – not legislation from Congress.
George Republican Rep. Jody Hice argued that D.C. statehood flies in the face of the Constitution, which established the federal district as a non-state seat of government.
“This is absolutely against what our Constitution and our Founders intended,” Hice said.