• Thomas Parker

House Democrats want to make DC a state

Democratic representatives in the House are poised to pass a bill that would make Washington, DC the nation's 51st state. It would be the first time either chamber of Congress has advanced a DC statehood measure.

The bill, introduced by DC's nonvoting House member, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, would shrink the federal capital to a small area encompassing the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and other federal buildings along the National Mall. The rest of the city would become the 51st state, named the Washington, Douglass Commonwealth.

More than 220 Democrats have cosponsored the legislation, which exceeds the threshold required to pass the bill, though the bill is unlikely to pass the Republican-held Senate, and President Trump said he would veto the bill even if it did.

"DC will never be a state," President Trump said. "You mean District of Columbia, a state? Why? So we can have two more Democratic -- Democrat senators and five more congressmen? No thank you. That'll never happen."

Ahead of the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats were working “to correct an injustice.”

“For more than two centuries, the residents of Washington D.C., the District of Columbia, have been denied their right to fully participate in their democracy,” Pelosi said to the media. “Instead, they have been dealt the injustice of paying taxes, proudly serving in uniform in great numbers and contributing to the economic power of our nation while being denied the full enfranchisement which is their right.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has in the past promised to oppose any measure that makes DC a state, calling it "full-bore socialism," implying that an increase in the Democrats' power through DC statehood will lead to ever-larger increases in the federal government.

Republican Senator Tom Cotton addressed of DC statehood this week, accusing Democrats of wanting to "make Washington a state to rig the rules of our democracy and try to give the Democratic party permanent power."

"But in doing so," Cotton said, "the Democrats are committing an act of historical vandalism as grotesque as those committed by jacobin mobs roaming our streets." Cotton went on to say that population alone is not enough of an argument to make DC a state.

"Washington has just over 700,000 residents, more than Wyoming and Vermont, and about as many as Alaska. Doesn't this qualify Washington as a state? Well, if it did, we'd need a lot more states because Washington is just the 20th largest city in the country," Cotton said.

"Yes, Wyoming is smaller than Washington by population, but it has three times as many workers in mining, logging, and construction, and ten times as many workers in manufacturing. What vital industries would the new state of Washington represent? Lobbying? Bureaucracy? Give me a break," Cotton said.

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