View of the Federal Capitol in Washington DC
MICHAEL REYNOLDS / EFE
The United States House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday to make the District of Columbia the nation’s 51st state.
In an online vote with the party, Democrats yesterday approved the bill with 216 votes in favor versus 208 against.
Members of the delegation assured that the action is an attempt to restore equal citizenship for the residents of the nation’s capital and to fix a historic injustice.
Washington DC bill must go to the Senate
The bill, named HR 51, now goes to the Senate for consideration, where it is expected to be considered at a hearing in that legislative body.
The legislation proposes the creation of the 51st state with one representative and two senators. However, a limited piece of land that includes the White House, the US Capitol, and the National Mall would remain a federal district.
If the bill was finally approved in the Senate, instead of the District of Columbia, the new state would be called Washington, Commonwealth of Douglass, to honor abolitionist Frederick Douglass., who lived in Washington from 1877 until he died in 1895.
It is not the first time that the US Congress has moved to evaluate legislation aimed at turning Washington DC into a state.
Similar project died last year in the Senate
A similar bill passed the House of Representatives last year but was immediately thrown out in the Senate, which at the time was controlled by Republicans. However, now the discussion could be different since the Democrats have a majority in both houses. To pass major bills in the Senate, Democrats need about 10 Republican votes.
To stop the advance of the project, Republican senators could resort to the mechanism known as “filibusterism” or speak without rest in plenary session as a measure to delay the processes.
In fact, already some Republicans in the House like Georgia Jody I did They spoke out against the measure in Thursday’s debate on the grounds that America’s founding fathers never wanted DC to be a state and that they made it clear in the Constitution.
“This goes absolutely against what our founders intended and should be flatly rejected,” Jody Hice said as quoted by Telemundo.
For proponents of the bill like Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Washington DC delegate in the House of Representatives but without the right to vote, Thursday’s vote was the culmination of a lifetime’s work.
“My service in Congress has been dedicated to achieving equality for the people I represent that only statehood can provide,” Norton said at a news conference Wednesday. “My life, as a third generation Washingtonian, has marched towards this moment.”
The measure has the endorsement of the president Joe Biden, who in a statement Tuesday described Washington DC’s current status as an affront to the democratic values on which the nation was founded.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.