DC statehood faces a crossroads with congressional vote – Washington, District of Columbia

Washington, District of Columbia 2021-04-22 07:09:13 –

Washington, DC state supporters are facing a milestone in decades of movement to reshape America’s political map.

Washington (AP) — State supporters in Washington, DC face a milestone in decades of movement to reshape the political map of the United States.

The House of Representatives will vote on Thursday for a bill to create a new state in Washington, the Douglas Federation, with one representative and two senators. The small land, including the White House, the US Capitol, and the National Mall, remains a federal district. The bill is expected to pass easily in the House of Representatives and be sent to the Senate — where the real battle awaits.

For lifelong state supporters like Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington’s long-time non-voting representative in the House of Representatives, voting will be the culmination of life’s work.

“My service in Parliament has been dedicated to achieving equality for the people I represent, which can only be provided by the state,” Norton said at a press conference Wednesday. “My life as a third-generation Washingtonian has moved towards this milestone.”

At a press conference, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Who wore a “DC51” face mask, called Norton “the patron saint of DC” and the vote “truth that everything deserves remarks in democracy.” I will reconfirm. ” .. “

The bill received strong support from President Joe Biden’s White House, who issued a statement on Tuesday calling the current situation in Washington “an insult to the democratic values ​​in which our country was established.” ..

The White House statement makes Washington a nation-worthy statement, “a strong economy, a rich culture, and a diverse population of Americans in all disciplines who are eligible to participate fully and equally in our democracy.” I praised it.

Given that the proposed 51st state is overwhelmingly democratic, the bill is certain to face strong Republican opposition. The same state bill passed the House of Representatives in 2020, but died shortly after in the Republican-controlled Senate. Now that the Democratic Party is under the control of both Houses and the White House in the 2020 elections, Republican senators may resort to filibuster to thwart state bills.

A March hearing by the House Oversight Committee provided a preview of Republican issues, and a series of GOP representatives argued that DC was unfit for the state and called all efforts an ironic democratic power struggle. .. Opponents have proposed a variety of alternatives, from exempting Washington citizens from federal taxes to “returning” most of DC to Maryland.

Another big objection is that Congress does not have the authority to change the status of DCs. All but the original 13 states were approved by the union by a parliamentary vote, but state opponents claim that DC is a special case that requires special action.

Zack Smith, a legal fellow at the Heritage Institute, a conservative think tank, testified in Congress last month that the creation and restrictions of DCs are stipulated in Article 1 of the Constitution and can only be changed by constitutional amendments. .. He also argued that DC should not be a state, and that the founding father “intended it to be a federal territory outside the jurisdiction of any state.”

When the bill was enacted, Smith predicted a wave of proceedings that would overshadow the actions of the new state and the legislation of Congress that touched it.

“You’re basically seeing a lot of proceedings,” Smith told The Associated Press. “All legislative actions in this new state will be questioned …. Things will be in flux for years.”

DC has long rubbed in relation to Congress. Parliament basically has the power to deny or change local law. Its population is larger than that of Wyoming and Vermont, with an estimated 712,000 inhabitants paying federal taxes, voting for the president, and serving in the army, but Congress does not have the right to vote.

The limits of DC’s reality were completely relieved last summer during a series of angry protests against George Floyd’s police detention death in Minneapolis and general police atrocities. After a night of widespread vandalism, President Donald Trump seized the authority of DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and called a large multi-institutional federal army downtown. Law enforcement agencies have wiped out peaceful protesters from public roads so that Trump can take pictures outside the church.

Rabbi Perry, Dean of Political Science at Howard University, said the summer 2020 event was an important turning point in recognizing the impetus for DC, and the issue was the country’s predominant racial justice. He said it was intertwined with the movement. Just recently in 2018, national polls showed that the majority of Americans were at best lukewarm on this topic, but their poll numbers have changed dramatically over the last two years, he said. It was.

“People are beginning to see DC as a matter of racial justice,” said Perry, who is also a board member of the DC vote for state support groups. “There have been major sea changes, many of which have been motivated by trumpism.”

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