The U.S. House of Representatives has once again voted on a bill to grant statehood to Washington, D.C., and enfranchise more than 712,000 Americans, a cause that enjoys unprecedented support but still faces an uphill battle in the U.S. Senate.

By Barbara Sprunt

“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,” said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s non-voting delegate, on the House floor ahead of the vote.

Activists hold signs as they take part in a rally in support of DC statehood near the US Capitol in Washington, DC on March 22, 2021. – Democrats emboldened by their control of the US House, Senate and White House launched a fresh push Monday for statehood for the nation’s capital Washington, beginning with a high-profile congressional hearing addressing the issue. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Her statehood bill, H.R. 51, would reduce the size of the federal district and create a new state with the remaining territory with two U.S. senators and a representative, placing residents on equal footing with voters in other states. Statehood advocates contend the cause is also a fight for racial justice. If admitted, D.C. would be the first state with a plurality of Black residents.

House Democrats passed the bill last year in a historic vote but the legislation never reached the GOP-led Senate.

Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., claimed Democrats’ push for statehood is a transparent attempt to grow their power in Washington.

But Democrats counter that at its core, the fight for statehood is a fight for equal representation, and frequently cite the fact that D.C. residents pay more in federal taxes than 21 states and more per capita than any state, according to 2019 IRS data.

President Biden has repeatedly expressed support for D.C. statehood and on Tuesday, the White House formally called on Congress to “provide for a swift and orderly transition to statehood for the people of Washington, D.C.”




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