A group of Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate have introduced a bill to make the Capital District of Columbia, where Washington, D.C., is located, the 51st state.
The bill would give the District’s citizens full authority over local issues and give them full representation in Congress.”This is not a Republican or Democratic issue; this is an American issue because the lack of fair representation for D.C. residents is clearly incompatible with the values on which this country was founded,” Democratic Senator Tom Carper said in a statement.
Washington, D.C., is home to about 700,000 residents, more than the populations of Wyoming and Vermont. But Republicans argue that the effort is a push to expand Democratic interests on Capitol Hill.
The bill could pass in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, but its chances of approval in the Senate are slim.
Democrats control the Senate only because Vice President Kamala Harris has the deciding vote in a 50/50 split of seats. For D.C. to become a state, Democrats would need the support of at least 10 Republicans to overcome the bill’s obstruction by the Republican minority.
President Biden has long voiced his support for making D.C. a state.
The bill was brought up again in the wake of the riots at the Capitol building in January.