House Democrats plan to pass legislation that would make the District of Columbia America’s 51st state, but admit the bill has little chance of Senate passage.
Democrats have led the drive to make Washington, D.C., which is a longtime Democratic Party stronghold, into a state. That would give Democrats one additional House member and two additional seats in the Senate, which is currently split 50-50.
The legislative filibuster would require 60 Senate votes to pass the statehood bill. Democrats on Wednesday attacked the parliamentary rule that prevents them from exploiting their current majority to the fullest and called on senators to change it.
“I hope that the filibuster is jettisoned,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said according to Fox News.
“Hopefully at some point in time, the people themselves will say to the United States Senate … it is undemocratic [and] it is un-American to have the minority hold the majority hostage,” Hoyer said.
“With the movement of the filibuster, there will be movement for D.C. statehood,” said Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the district’s non-voting lone congressional member. “And I do believe that the filibuster is on its way out.”
However, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has said he will not join in the movement to abolish the filibuster.
The House bill would rename Washington, D.C., the “Washington, Douglass Commonwealth,” for Frederick Douglass.
The legislation would give the new state control over all of the current District of Columbia except for a roughly two-square-mile area controlled by Congress around the White House, Capitol, Supreme Court and National Mall, which would be renamed “Capital.”
President Joe Biden has said he is in favor of statehood for D.C.
During a hearing on the House bill last month, Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina summed up the statehood drive as nothing more than politics.
“D.C. is a pawn being used by congressional Democrats to gain power,” she said, according to USA Today.
Make no mistake, DC Statehood is a power grab to install 2 new Democrat Senators.@RepRaskin said the quiet part out loud: “There’s a national political logic…because the Senate has become the principal obstacle to social progress..”pic.twitter.com/AlBdLWKaqZ
— Rep. James Comer (@RepJamesComer) April 14, 2021
Republican Rep. James Comer of Kentucky said statehood is purely about locking in Democrats’ current advantage in Congress, according to The Washington Post.
“Let’s be very clear what H.R. 51 is about: It’s all about creating two new Democratic Senate seats,” he said.
He said Democrats want permanent power to go about “defunding the police, packing the Supreme Court and enacting the Green New Deal.”
“This bill is part of the progressive pathway that President Biden, Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi have to reshape America into a socialist utopia that the squad talks about.”
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