The push for Washington, D.C. to become a state scored a major victory on Capitol Hill today. Members of the House of Representatives have approved H.R. 51, a bill that would grant statehood for the District of Columbia.
"This country was founded on the principles of no taxation without representation and consent of the governed. But D.C. residents are taxed without representation and cannot consent to the laws under which they as American citizens must live," Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said after the bill was passed.
H.R. 51 passed through the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 216-208, along party lines. Republican lawmakers pushed back against the bill largely because Washington, D.C. traditionally votes for Democratic lawmakers. Adding two Senators from Washington, D.C. and possibly two more Democratic Senators from Puerto Rico could sway power away from the GOP. With an even split in the Senate, passing H.R. 51 into law appears to be a long shot at the moment.
"This is not about a balance of power, this is about more power. This is about government-run health care, a 93 trillion [dollar] Green New Deal, packing the Supreme Court, higher taxes and a bigger, less efficient form of government," Rep. Nancy Mace said.
"I wonder, listening to the debate, if our friends on the other side of the aisle would be so passionate if Washington D.C. were 90% Republican as [opposed to] 90% Democrat," he said. "H.R. 51 goes against the founding fathers' intent, and is unconstitutional, impractical and a blatant power grab," Rep. James Comer added.
If H.R. 51 does pass into law, it could increase Black representation in Congress. Not only does Washington, D.C. traditionally vote for Democrats, but its last eight mayors are also Black. Adding on, Washington, D.C. would be the first state with a plurality of Black residents.
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