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Washington, D.C., Statehood Battle
News Bytes 04/26/2021 63 Comments

Proponents of statehood for Washington, D.C., passed a milestone in their decades-long movement to reshape the American political map. The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to make the nation’s capital the 51st state. Now the bill heads to the Senate—where the real fight awaits.

D.C. has long chafed under its relationship with Congress. Lawmakers there have the power to veto or alter local laws. Its population is larger than that of Wyoming or Vermont. Its residents pay federal taxes, vote for president, and serve in the armed forces. Yet they have no voting representation in Congress.

The House voted 216-208 to create the new state of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth. The state would have one representative and two senators. A tiny sliver of land including the White House, the U.S. Capitol and the National Mall would remain as a federal district.

For lifelong statehood advocates like Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington’s long-serving and nonvoting delegate in the House, the vote is a culmination of a life’s work.

“My service in the Congress has been dedicated to achieving equality for the people I represent, which only statehood can provide,” Norton says. “My life as a third-generation Washingtonian has marched toward this milestone.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wore a “D.C. 51” face mask at a news conference before the vote. She called Norton the “patron saint of D.C. statehood” and predicted the vote would “reaffirm the truth that all deserve a voice in our democracy.”

The measure has received strong support from President Joe Biden’s White House, which released a statement calling Washington’s current status “an affront to the democratic values on which our Nation was founded.”

The White House praised Washington as worthy of statehood, with “a robust economy, a rich culture, and a diverse population of Americans from all walks of life who are entitled to full and equal participation in our democracy.”

The proposal faces a tough road to passage in the Senate, where even full Democratic support isn’t guaranteed. It is certain to face strong Republican opposition, given that the proposed 51st state would be overwhelmingly Democratic. Another statehood bill passed the House in 2020, but it quickly died in the Republican-controlled Senate.

A major opposition point is the idea that Congress does not have the authority to change D.C.’s status. Pro-statehood advocates say every state other than the original 13 entered the union via congressional vote. But opponents argue that D.C. is a special case that requires special steps.

Zack Smith, a legal fellow at a conservative think tank, argues that D.C.’s creation and limitations are enshrined in Article I of the Constitution. He says its status can only be changed through a constitutional amendment. He believes D.C. shouldn’t be a state at all and that the Founding Fathers “intended this to be a federal district outside the jurisdiction of any one state.”

If the statehood measure becomes law, Smith predicts a wave of lawsuits. “You’re basically looking at a lot of litigation,” Smith says. “Every legislative act of this new state would be called into question.”

Political scientist Ravi Perry says the events of 2020 were a turning point for the view of the D.C. statehood push. The issue became meshed with the country’s rising racial justice movement. As recently as 2018, nationwide polls showed the majority of Americans to be lukewarm at best on the topic. But those poll numbers changed dramatically in the past two years.

What do you think about whether Washington, D.C., should be America’s 51st state?

(Eleanor Holmes-Norton, center, joined from left by Senator Tom Carper and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaks at a news conference ahead of the House vote on H.R. 51—the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, on Capitol Hill in Washington. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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Most recent comments

1st comment!

1st comment!

Thoughts?

Does anyone have any insight on this?

3rd comment

A 51st state? Ah, I don’t think so.
1. 50 is a nice, balanced number. 51 does not sound right.
2. If they’ve managed to not be a state for so long, what is the rush or ‘desperation’ to be one?
3. A city should not be a state.

David

I’ll have to think a little bit more.

The whole reason they made

The whole reason they made Washington a district was because THEY DIDNT WANT IT TO BE A STATE. Let's just go against every single wish of the founding fathers, why don't we?

My thoughts

I do not think that DC should become a state. It is a district for a reason, and I really don't think it is even big enough to be a state. I think it is very unique because it is a district and not a state. I like the even and balanced number of 50 for the amount of states. If they made it into 51, it just does not sound right, and we would even have to design a whole new flag!!! And I love our dear old Stars and Stripes just how it is!!!! 51 stars would not look right!

@Carys M

Yeah I know right?!?!??!?

When are they gonna put the

When are they gonna put the new articles up? I got my magazine and I want to hear the end of the to be continued.

This is stupid

The District of Columbia is not a state for a reason. The founding fathers wanted D.C to not be a state so that no state could be more important than another because it has the nation's capital. The only reason they want D.C to be a state is that they will vote blue no matter who.

51 doesn’t sound right

I do not think Washington D.C. should be a state after all it is only a city

51 doesn’t sound right

I do not think Washington D.C. should be a state after all it is only a city

@ Asher

I agree. Also I thought D.C. stood for District of Columbia?

@ mirela j.

I think they want more senators or representatives in the house.
@ All: I have a debate topic: So, black lives matter right? But doesn't everyone's life matter? My life, your life, the thousands of babies being murdered, everyone created by God matters, right? So, instead of Black Lives Matter (which they most certainly do!), shouldn't it be ALL Lives Matter? (I don't know if this is the kind of things you debate about...)
@ All: So, Idk when our grandma will send the money for our new subscription, so we may not be here at the beginning of May, but we'll be back!

If the bill

If the bill does pass the U.S.A. will probably never have a republican president again, because D C will give a lot of points. And everything that Biden said he wouldn't do he did.

Hello, everyone, this is

Hello, everyone, this is Monday morning, and the stupidity and hypocrisy in America is at all time high. The liberals propose to turn a sliver of land into a state to get more democratic votes, the falsely elected president is writing executive orders faster than he can take a breath, properly spaced people finally get to attend the NY Philharmonic concert and watch the not properly spaced musicians, of course, and we're all waiting and watching to see when Commie Harris knocks off Biden. It will probably be when his hand falls off from signing executive orders, and his brain turns to mush from being told what to do so much. This is another sixty seconds of Stupidities in America, and I'm your host, Hesperus D.

Ahhhhh stupid!

I really think that they shouldn't make Washington D.C. a state like Asher E said they are just gonna give a ton of points to the blue side, I think that's probably pretty much the main reason they're doing that. Plus its such a tiny piece of land, why would you make that a state and, 51 sates just is not a nice even number and it doesn't should as nice as 50 states.

@Belwyn

I'm disappointed that I can't debate... because I agree with you!!!!

@ Nora

Well said.

This is depresing. Comunusim

This is depresing. Comunusim is on its way you have been warned

@Caleb

Yeah I know. Sad. So sad

@Belwyn

Um, good debate topic, but we already kinda had a debate on that sort of thing. It is the one that totally blew up. And I agree that was my point when I got into that debate, was that all lives matter.
@Asher: Exactly.

@Micah

They will put them up on May 1st. We get new articles every two months.
I got my magazine Saturday.

@ Riley

Ah, okay! :D

24 comment

Sheesh...there was a reason Washington D.C wasn't made into a state!
Hesperus D: LOL
Belwyn: I don't really like to debate...but I agree, all lives matter.

We're going to have to change

We're going to have to change our country's flag.

Today is my birthday! :-) :-)

Today is my birthday! :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

@ Kiara J.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-D

:D Kiara :)

Happy birthday Kiara!

Seriously?!?!

Come on people! Why all this mess? Who wants an uneven number anyways? It just sounds right out crazy to me, if you want my opinion.

@ Belwyn

I agree with you: ALL Lives Matter no matter what!

Tsk tsk

Smh.....ughhhhh This is ridiculous. 50 is a perfect number....then would we have to change the flag?? And I think this is all for votes.
I agree with Asher.
Hesperus you need to start making youtube videos. xD

Oh, and Everyone's lives

Oh, and Everyone's lives matter. Also BLM doesn't care a thing about Life.

@ Everyone

I found this article, https://teen.wng.org/node/3778, about the Ark. Has anyone been to the Ark? My older sister works there, and she gets to go in free so we go all the time.

@ N&M

I know, right?

I've been to the Ark twice,

I've been to the Ark twice, and the Creation Musem multiple times.

@ Isabel f

My family is hoping to go sometime this year! I'm really excited, it looks SO cool! It's cool your sister works there!

@ Belwyn

That's awesome! When you go, make sure you do the zip lines! Especially the free fall ones! I LOVE the zip lines! Been on them a dozen times!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KIARA!!!!!!!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KIARA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

@ Abigail

I haven't gone, but I wish I could! :)

@N&M A

How do you know? I might be terrible at it.

@ Bethy

It's really awesome! You REALLY need to come sometime to the Ark!

@ HD

You might ;P Or you might not be

@Isabel

That’s so cool! I love the Ark, we went 3 times this fall, and are going this summer! What does she do at the ark?

oh my goodness.

I think...America has bigger problems to worry about, but if the government insists on doing this, then I'll live with it or without it. But I'd rather we stay with 50 states, thanks. @Hesperus HAHA! I love it!

oh my goodness.

I think...America has bigger problems to worry about, but if the government insists on doing this, then I'll live with it or without it. But I'd rather we stay with 50 states, thanks. @Hesperus HAHA! I love it!

@ Hesperus

Yeah you should do a news thing on YouTube, I would totally subscribe!

@Isabel F

I have been to the Ark and it is way bigger than you think.

Th ark is awesome! been there

Th ark is awesome! been there once before it's really cool and if you are there you definitely also have to go to the creation museum.

@everyone who likes my occasional wonderfully witty remarks.

Unfortunately, I write better than I speak. But, hey, maybe one day I could write stuff like that for someone. Truth is tho, there are ppl out there who are way better, like Andrew Klavaan. That's one of the places I get my inspiration.

@ Amelia

She works in retail, which means she checks people out, stocks the shelves, etc cetera. What's your favorite part of the Ark?

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