Democratic lawmakers introduce bill to make D.C. 51st state

After years of advocating for D.C. statehood, a bill has been introduced to make it a reality

Loading the player...

Now that there’s a new administration in charge, Democrats are now pushing harder for Washington, D.C. to become a state.

Read More: Racism is fueling the climate crisis as Biden signs orders to save the planet

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, the longtime non-voting delegate to the District of Columbia, says she has over 200 co-sponsors in the House in support of finally getting statehood for the District. She introduced the legislation on Wednesday that could make D.C. the 51st state in America.

“It’s an American issue because the lack of fair representation given to the residents of D.C. is inconsistent with the values on which this country was founded,” said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del per ABC News. “It is therefore incumbent upon all of us who enjoy the right and the privilege of full voting rights and representation to take up the cause of our fellow citizens in the District of Columbia.”

The bill could pass in the House but would still need support from the Senate. Some GOP lawmakers have made it clear they are against the proposal.

Democrats Hold News Conference Discussing Equal Treatment Washington, DC In Next Coronavirus Relief Bill
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C) speaks on Capitol Hill on July 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. The bill defies longstanding precedents in treating the District of Columbia as a territory instead of as a state for federal funding under the $150 billion coronavirus relief fund for states and territories, depriving D.C. of an estimated $750 million. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Josh Burch, the founder of Neighbors United for D.C. Statehood says Republicans are afraid of D.C becoming a state because of its large Black population.

“They are afraid of us becoming a state because of the number of African Americans that live in the District, the number of people that vote Democratic in the District, the number of people who support pro-democracy, a liberal agenda,” he said per Washington City Paper.

Back in May, Donald Trump said D.C. statehood will never happen.

“D.C. will never be a state,” Trump told the New York Post. “You mean District of Columbia, a state? Why? So we can have two more Democratic — Democrat senators and five more congressmen? No, thank you. That’ll never happen.”

D.C. is has a population of about 700,000, more than Vermont and Wyoming. More than 45% of its population is Black.

After decades of leading the fight for the D.C. to become a state, Norton believes it can happen now.

“There’s never been a time when statehood for the District was more likely,” said Norton, adding that the bill did pass in the House last year.

Read More: Black-owned scheduling startup Calendly valued at $3B after new investment

“We’re ready to achieve voting representation and full local self-government for the 712,000+ residents of the District of Columbia.”

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!

Loading the player...