House Democrats have passed a highly partisan vote through the House that paves the way for Washington D.C. to become the 51st state. The new state would be called “Douglass Commonwealth” in honor of Frederick Douglass.
Proponents of the bill say that D.C. suffers from “taxation without representation” because although they pay federal tax, they do not have any voting power. D.C. does not have any Senators and although they do have one house rep, Elanor Holmes Norton, she is a “non-voting delegate”. This means that Norton cannot vote on legislation but she can lobby for and introduce it.
The obvious problem here is that the Constitution clearly states that the Capitol of the United States cannot be within a state or a state itself. Virginia and Maryland both ceded land to Washington D.C. to grant legitimacy to the Constitution. So although HR 51 has passed the House, it still needs to pass the Senate and even if the President signs it, there is still a problem. A Constitutional amendment must happen before Washington D.C. can become a state.
A better solution here would be for Maryland to annex Washington D.C. into its state. This would still require Constitutional amendment, but it would be easier than an entirely new state forming. All of the Senators and House Reps are already in place. A Governor and State Government aside from federal officials are also already there. There wouldn’t be a need for a special election or anything of the sort. D.C. lacks much of the internal infrastructure it needs to become a state that Maryland already has.
Proponents of HR 51 would rather Washington D.C. become its own state because of the power that it grants them. Two new Senators and at least one US House Rep with voting power would come as a result of D.C. becoming a state.
The present state of the Government makes it difficult for things to pass through the US Supreme court and the Senate. SCOTUS currently has a 6-3 conservative/liberal advantage. Democrats propose “court-packing” to fix that problem. This means they want to add more Supreme Court justices to the court. In this case, Democrats want to add four more justices bringing the current total of 9 to 13. Since they would all be appointed under Biden, they would all be liberal. This tips the scale from 6-3 conservative to 7-6 liberal.
The same aforementioned logic applies to Washington D.C. becoming a state. The US Senate currently consists of 50 GOP, 48 Democrats, and two independents that always caucus with Democrats (Bernie Sanders and Angus King). The tiebreaker is vice President Kamala Harris. Two new Senators in the overwhelmingly Democrat D.C. would bolster Democratic control of the Senate.
Although some raucous members of the House and random protesters on the ground in D.C. want to make opposition of D.C. statehood a race issue, it is far from that. Opposition to D.C. statehood is all about limiting the control of the Government and preventing one-party rule like Communist China.
DC Statehood Vote: House Approves, But Senate Obstacles Remain – The New York Times
House Votes to Transform D.C. into a State, Violating Constitution
DC statehood: House passes bill that would make Washington, DC, 51st state – CNNPolitics
House passes DC statehood bill that faces long odds in the Senate
Eleanor Holmes Norton Says Progress Being Made On Bid For D.C. Statehood | WAMU
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