House Passes Bill to Make DC the 51st State, but GOP Opposition Means Bill Unlikely to Advance Further

Nicholas Wu

USA TODAY
June 26, 2020

WASHINGTON – The Democratic-led House of Representatives passed a bill Friday that would make Washington, D.C., the 51st state, though Republicans and the White House have voiced their opposition to the measure.

The bill, aptly named “H.R. 51,” passed on a mostly party-line vote of 232-180. One Democrat, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, voted against it.

The bill, which now heads to the Republican-majority Senate, would allow for the admission of a new state, called Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, which would be represented by two senators and one member of Congress. The new state would be named for abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who spent the last 17 years of his life in the district.

The state’s territory would include all of the district’s current territory, except for monuments and federal buildings such as the White House and Capitol building.

Friday’s vote marks the first time a Washington statehood bill has passed in either chamber of Congress. A statehood bill came up for a vote in 1993, but failed in the House.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser hailed the bill’s passage on Twitter, “I was born without representation, but I swear – I will not die without representation. Together, we will achieve DC statehood, and when we do, we will look back on this day and remember all who stood with us on the right side of history.”

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