House passes bill endorsing DC statehood


Courtesy of The Washington Post

Zoe Friedman

The House of Representatives voted 234 to 193 on March 8 in favor of a bill that endorsed DC statehood. While the legislation will almost certainly not pass in the Senate, the vote is an important step forward for Washington statehood advocates.

The provision of the bill that includes DC statehood reads: “State of Washington, District of Columbia is declared to be a State of the United States of America, and is declared admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the other States in all respects whatever.”

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced the bill on January 3. Even though the odds of the bill passing both houses are not in her favor, her goal is simply “to inform and remind Americans that over 700,000 of their fellow citizens who live in the nation’s capital are denied their basic democratic rights.”

This bill on DC statehood will be the first one given a hearing since 1993. At the time, Norton had 155 cosponsors, the most of any DC statehood bill. Now she has 200.

The bill will most likely not pass the Senate because Republicans in the Senate outnumber Democrats. In the House, every Democrat voted in favor of the bill and every Republican voted against.

Republicans generally don’t support DC statehood because Washingtonians overwhelmingly vote Democrat. DC, after all, did vote 90 percent for Hillary Clinton in the last presidential election.

When the Constitution was written, DC was intentionally not given statehood because the founding fathers wanted the federal government in a politically neutral place and feared federal officials would become beholden to local governance.

While students generally support statehood, opinions vary. “I don’t believe DC should be granted statehood as it has always been set from the start that DC shall never be a state,” said sophomore Logan McClure.

Freshman Sophie Bruch disagreed. “I think it’s important for us to have representation and if we need to be a state to have it then yes [DC should be a state,]” she said. “I doubt it will happen unless Democrats control both houses and the presidency. Even then it will get representation without being a full-fledged state.”