President Joe Biden’s administration officially endorsed Tuesday the movement to make Washington DC the 51st state of the United States of America. In particular, the administration called on the US Congress to “provide for a swift and orderly transition to statehood” for the nation’s capital.
In a statement, the Biden White House affirmed their support for Washington DC as the 51st state. “Establishing the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth as the 51st state will make our Union stronger and more just.
Washington, D.C. has a robust economy, a rich culture, and a diverse population of Americans from all walks of life who are entitled to full and equal participation in our democracy,” it wrote.
The 51st State
Specifically, the administration expressed its support for HR 51, or the Washington DC Admission Act. It said that “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,” referring to the district’s unofficial slogan. The phrase “Taxation without representation” often appears in many local license plates.
“This taxation without representation and denial of self-governance is an affront to the democratic values on which our Nation was founded. H.R. 51rights this wrong by making Washington, D.C. a state and providing its residents with long-overdue full representation in Congress while maintaining a Federal District that will continue to serve as our Nation’s seat of government,” the statement added.
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Vote Scheduled This Week
Meanwhile, the House plans to vote for HR 51 this week. The campaign for Washington DC’s statehood is part of Biden’s first 100-days agenda. Even if the bill passes the House, it will need GOP support. Specifically, they’ll need the votes of at least 10 Republican senators to make it to Biden’s desk. Otherwise, the Democrat majority will need to go around the requirement for supermajority voting.
However, getting GOP support for Washington DC is easier said than done. Many Republicans believe that the push for DC statehood is a purely political power play. In fact, Texas Senator Ted Cruz tweeted that Democrats are only pushing for DC statehood to get two more senators. He asked Democrats if they would support moves to give Arlington back to Washington DC. Cruz’s statement implies that outside of Arlington, the state of Virginia votes Republican. He then challenges Democrats if they’re ready to accept losing Virginia.
Reasons the GOP Opposes The 51st State
Outside of the potential political windfall for Democrats, the GOP did come up with a number of reasons for opposing the proposed statehood. Foremost among their arguments is what they called the Founders’ intent.
When they created the federal territory of Washington DC, the Founding Fathers didn’t exactly mean a small strip of land that holds the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Mall.
Also, Republicans argued that if Washington DC residents purely wanted representation in Congress, they could agree to give most of the District’s territory back to Maryland.
This way, the 712,000 residents can now vote for their representative. However, both Maryland and DC oppose this suggestion. Washington DC residents Finally, the GOP believes that granting statehood makes the 23rd Amendment, which awards three electoral votes to the district, becomes meaningless.
Also, if Washington DC becomes a state, only the White House, Congress, SCOTUS, and the Mall will remain a federal district. This means the White House residents will hold the voting power to determine which candidate will receive their electoral votes.
Watch the TODAY video reporting that the bill to make Washington, DC the 51st state advances:
Do you support the movement to make Washington DC a state? In addition, what are your reasons for agreeing or not agreeing?
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