Politics

105 Democrats Voted Against DC Statehood More Than 25 Years Ago. This Year, Zero Democrats Voted Against It

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
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Every Democrat in the House of Representatives voted to pass a bill that would make Washington, D.C., a state Thursday, while almost half of all House Democrats voted no to a similar bill in 1993.

H.R. 51 passed Thursday along party lines, 216-208. Two Democrats and four Republicans were not present for the vote.

In 1993, however, the Democratic Party split, with 105 Democrats voting against a D.C. statehood bill. Overall, that vote failed 153-277. Four of the Democrats who voted against making the District of Columbia a state changed their stance in 2021.

Despite voting no in 1993, Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, Tennessee Rep. Jim Cooper, Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur, and North Carolina Rep. David Price all supported making DC a state in 2020 and 2021. Hoyer, Kaptur and Price were co-sponsors of the latest version of the legislation. (RELATED: Progressives Want To Make DC And Puerto Rico States. It May Not Go As Well As They Think)

None of the four Democrats responded to a Daily Caller request for comment on why they changed their position on the issue.

Hoyer suggested in a Thursday interview with WAMU radio that he did not believe DC statehood would successfully pass in 1993, so he voted no. “In 1993, I believed that getting a vote for the representative was a first step toward representation, but I thought it would be very difficult to get a statehood bill through the Congress,” he said.

He also noted that he was opposed to a potential commuter tax that Maryland residents who worked in Washington, DC would have to pay.

Congressional Republicans condemned the vote. “The Democrats’ D.C. statehood scheme is about two things: consolidating power and enacting radical policies. The American people see right through this blatant power grab,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted shortly before the vote.

Some constitutional scholars argue that creating a new state out of the District of Columbia would be unconstitutional. Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the Constitution gives Congress the power “to exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever” over “the Seat of Government of the United States.”