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State of DC: House passes bill that would make Washington, DC, 51st state

The bill now faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where it is unlikely to gain enough Republican support to cross a 60-vote threshold for passage.

It’s unclear if even all Senate Democrats would support the measure. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said Thursday he was undecided on the Washington state bill.

“I have so much on my plate that I haven’t even gotten there yet,” he told CNN when asked if he supports him.

Democrats have presented the issue of granting statehood to Washington, DC – which voted for Joe Biden in place of then-President Donald Trump from 92% to 5% in November – as a milestone for equal representation and the right to vote in the United States, while Republicans argued that the legislation represents a partisan effort by Democrats to promote a progressive agenda and tip the scales in Congress in their favor.

DC’s estimated population in 2019 – 705,749 – was larger than the estimated populations of 77 of the existing 435 congressional districts, according to one-year estimates from the American Community Survey of the Census Bureau. DC also had an estimated population larger than two states in 2019: Vermont (623,989) and Wyoming (578,759).

HR 51 was presented by Democratic Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a non-voting member of the United States House and a long-time advocate for statehood.

“With HR 51, Congress takes an important step to empower the citizens of DC and empower them to participate fully in our democracy,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said of the legislation on Wednesday. “Once again, we are delighted that we are adopting it. We will celebrate it, and we hope that this momentum will help it pass to the Senate so that the president can sign it into law,” said the Democrat of California.

House Democrats also passed the bill – HR 51, Washington, DC’s admission bill – last year in a landmark vote that marked the first time a House of Congress had moved forward. a measure of DC statehood. But he did not advance in the Senate, which was then controlled by a Republican majority.

“Let’s be very clear what HR 51 is: it’s about creating two new Democratic seats in the US Senate,” Kentucky GOP Representative James Comer said during a bill markup last week.

“This bill is part of the progressive path that President Biden, Chief Schumer and President Pelosi must turn America into this socialist utopia the Squad is talking about,” he said, referring to the group of Self-proclaimed lawmakers that includes New York Democrats. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
State of DC: House passes bill that would make Washington, DC, 51st state
Last month, a hearing on the legislation featured testimony from Democratic DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and other local officials.

Throughout the hearing, Democrats made it clear that they viewed granting DC statehood a matter of civil rights and representation, while Republicans said what to do with the nation’s capital. the 51st state through legislation, rather than a constitutional amendment, defies the laws of the nation and has pushed back on other logistical and political issues.

Bowser said in a statement on Thursday following the passage of the law by the House: “This vote comes at a critical time when Americans across the country are eager to keep the promise of freedom and justice for all. centuries, a progressive approach to equality in America has delayed that promise for too many. Now is the time to take bold action. “

This story and title has been updated to reflect additional developments on Thursday.

CNN’s Manu Raju, Daniel Dale, Kristin Wilson and Haley Byrd contributed to this report.


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