House committee to vote on bill to grant DC statehood
The House Oversight and Reform Committee is slated to hold a vote on Wednesday to approve a bill that would grant statehood to Washington, D.C.
“Today is an historic day for our country — and our democracy,” House oversight committee chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney said in her opening remarks on Wednesday. “For only the second time in a generation, we will vote on whether hundreds of thousands of American citizens will finally have their voices counted in Congress.
“The United States is the only democratic country that denies both voting rights in the national legislature and local self-government to the people of its capital. That is wrong. It violates everything we stand for as Americans,” Maloney said.
During the last session of Congress, House Democrats successfully passed the bill — H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, marking the first time either chamber of Congress had advanced a DC statehood measure. It did not advance, however, in the Senate, which was controlled by a Republican majority at the time, reported CNN.
Now, Democrats are bringing the bill back up for consideration. The DC statehood bill would still face an uphill fight in the chamber, even though the Democrats control a narrow majority in the Senate, because it’s unlikely to get enough Republican support to clear a 60-vote threshold for passage, reported CNN.
HR 51 was introduced by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC’s nonvoting House member and a longtime advocate for statehood.
“Congress can no longer exclude DC residents from the democratic process, forcing residents to watch from the sidelines as Congress votes on laws that affect the nation or votes even on the laws of the duly elected DC government. Democracy requires much more,” Norton said in her opening remarks.
“DC residents deserve full voting representation in the Senate and the House and complete control over their local affairs. They deserve statehood,” she said.
Republicans argue that the legislation represents a partisan effort by Democrats to push a progressive agenda and tip the scales in Congress in their favor.
“Let’s be very clear what HR 51 is all about. It’s all about creating two new Democrat US Senate seats,” GOP Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, the committee ranking member, said.
“That’s what it’s all about. We could end the discussion there. That’s what this bill is all about and everyone in America knows it. This bill is part of the progressive pathway that President Biden, Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi have to reshape America into that socialist utopia that the Squad talk about.”
The House committee vote on the bill will pave the way for a House floor vote on the measure, which is expected to take place next week, reported CNN.
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