Politics

House Passes Bill To Make DC The 51st State

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Henry Rodgers Senior Congressional Correspondent
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The House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday which would give statehood to Washington, D.C., making it the 51st state in the U.S.

H.R. 51 passed the House 216-208. The bill would designate “Washington, Douglass Commonwealth” as the 51st state while still having a separate federal district.

Republicans have argued that the move is unconstitutional and that Democrats want D.C. statehood in order to add two Democratic senators in Congress as well as one Democratic representative in the House.

“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 said before the vote.

Del. Eleanor Norton Holmes (D-DC) speaks during a news conference on H.R. 51, the DC Admission Act on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The likelihood of D.C. becoming a state would mean Senate Democrats would need at least 10 Republicans to jump on board, however, if they abolished the filibuster it could be done without Repbulican support.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has continued to support the idea of D.C. statehood and said he would love to see both D.C. and Puerto Rico become states in a September interview with MSNBC, saying, “Believe me, on D.C. and Puerto Rico — particularly if Puerto Rico votes for it, D.C. already has voted for it and wants it — [we] would love to make them states.”

Democrats still need to get a few of their own to vote with them in the Senate, such as West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. (RELATED: Joe Manchin’s Position On DC, Puerto Rico Statehood Remains A Mystery)

In September, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who was then the majority leader, warned Republicans before the November 2020 elections that if the GOP loses control of all three branches of government that Democrats will try to end the filibuster and add D.C. and Puerto Rico as states. (RELATED: Biden Admin Announces ‘Strong Support’ For DC Statehood Bill, Says 51st State ‘Long Overdue’)

“After they change the filibuster, they’re going to admit the District as a state. They’re going to admit Puerto Rico as a state. That’s four new Democratic senators in perpetuity,” McConnell said in a speech.

The bill has full support from President Joe Biden and the White House.