The House on Thursday voted to make Washington, DC, the nation’s 51st state — a move that, if approved by the Senate, would hand Democrats two new senators.
The 216-208 vote along party lines would make DC a state while preserving the land around the White House, US Capitol and National Mall as a federal district.
It would be known as Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, after abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who lived in the district from 1877 until his death in 1895.
The Biden administration has supported the statehood push.
“For far too long, the more than 700,000 people of Washington, D.C. have been deprived of full representation in the U.S. Congress,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement earlier this week.
“This taxation without representation and denial of self-governance is an affront to the democratic values on which our Nation was founded.”
The city of Washington is home to more people than Vermont and Wyoming, but has no representation in Congress, as per Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.
Republicans are strongly opposed to DC statehood because it would expand the Senate to 102 members and almost assuredly provide Democrats with two new senators.
It would also allow for an additional representative to serve in the House.
But the legislation faces a tough road in the evenly divided Senate, which Democrats control by way of Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote. The move would require 60 votes to pass.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the longtime non-voting representative of DC, said statehood has been a lifelong mission.
“My service in the Congress has been dedicated to achieving equality for the people I represent, which only statehood can provide,” Norton said at a Wednesday news conference. “My life as a third-generation Washingtonian has marched toward this milestone.”
With Post wires