Washington

House of Representatives Votes to Give D.C. Statehood

The House voted to recognize the District of Columbia as a state, but many obstacles still lie ahead.

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The House of Representatives voted on Friday to recognize the District of Columbia as the 51st state.

The bill, H.R. 51, passed 232-180, predominantly along partisan lines. Every Democrat but Rep. Collin Peterson (D–Minn.) voted for it, while most Republicans—and Libertarian Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.)—voted against it. Nineteen Republicans abstained.

The bill would rename the District of Columbia as the Douglass Commonwealth, a tribute to Frederick Douglass that keeps the D.C. abbreviation. The new state would be granted two representatives and one senator with full congressional voting rights—a privilege the District does not currently enjoy. It would also carve out a much smaller federal district consisting of a cluster of government offices and buildings.

An earlier D.C. statehood bill, also titled H.R. 51, made it to the floor of the House in 1992, but failed in a 153-277 vote. 

A surge of attention to contemporary racial justice issues has prompted a renewed interest in the cause. Racial minorities are a majority of D.C.'s residents, and some advocates have come to view the District's lack of congressional representation as a form of racism.

While the House vote marks a huge win for advocates and brings D.C. closer than ever to statehood, there are still significant obstacles ahead.

Some critics argue that D.C. statehood may require a constitutional amendment. According to Cornell's Legal Information Institute, the District was created to be "removed from the control of any state" under the jurisdiction of Congress. Although the House bill ostensibly corrects for this by outlining new, smaller borders for a federal district, Cato Institute legal scholar Roger Pilon argues that because the Constitution draws no distinction between the seat of government and the federal district, the current borders must remain intact.

Other critics dismiss the push for D.C. statehood as a ploy to increase Democratic sway in Congress. "D.C. will never be a state," President Donald Trump told the New York Post. "Why? So we can have two more Democratic—Democrat senators and five more congressmen? No thank you. That'll never happen."

One way to alleviate such concerns would be to create two new states, one that leans Democrat, the other that leans Republican. A proposal by RealClearPolitics columnist Frank Mieli argues that both the District and a predominantly Republican region, such as eastern Washington state, be granted statehood.

Still other critics of D.C. statehood argue that most of the District's current land could be retroceded to its northern neighbor, Maryland. Under such a plan, the residential areas of the District would become Douglass County. 

D.C. has retroceded land in the past to Virginia, and the city was built on territory gifted by Virginia and Maryland. Because this proposal does not involve adding any new members to Congress, it would avoid upsetting the current political balance in that body.

The idea of granting statehood to D.C. is very popular among residents of the city, but most of the rest of the country remains either opposed or indifferent to the issue. Indeed, a Hill-HarrisX poll found that 52 percent of Americans reject the idea. While support has jumped from 29 percent last year, the statehood movement still has many hearts and minds to win over.

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  1. DC is never going to be a state and nor should it be. At most you carve out a smaller federal district and cede the rest back to Maryland. Even that is unlikely since Maryland wouldn’t want it. I am not sure you could do it without Maryland’s consent.

    I think the CATO likely has the better of the argument here. To turn DC into a state would be to eliminate the federal district mandated by the Constitution. And that can’t be done without an amendment.

    We need to go the opposite way and revoke home rule. The reason why the District was created was to ensure a state did not hold the national government hostage. Well, the mayor of DC has been doing just that in response to the BLM riots. The DC MDP refused to show up and do anything about the riots and have allowed the Pantifa losers to turn Layette Park into a cesspool.

    Clearly the mayor is need of adult supervision. If the Republicans retake the House this fall, they should pay that bitch back by revoking home rule and ending the DC City government entirely. Go back to having Congress run it. It was a better run city. If the residents don’t like that, they can move to Maryland or Virginia, which many have already done.

    1. “If the Republicans retake the House this fall,”‘

      Delusional, bigoted Republicans are among my favorite culture war stompees.

      1. I am pretty sure the patented brand of ignorance and rioting the Democrats are offering will do real well.

        Now go get some dental work you buck toothed hillbilly.

        1. No, the urban sophisticate Rev is probably having his nails done and his butt waxed.

          (sorry for that image)

          1. No need for the apology, said image is deliciously titillating.

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    2. I think Maryland would want it unfortunately. But there is a grand deal that perhaps Republicans could agree to – return the bulk of federal lands back to the states, maybe create a new western state to offset DC getting statehood. #NEVADAFORNIA!

      1. Read the CATO article. The guy is right. They can’t change the boundaries of the District without amending the Constitution.

        What they can do is just revoke home rule and put an end to this clown show.

        1. I agree an Amendment would be necessary. I just think if they worked something out that benefited both sides that be best, of course if the Dems balked they’d have no leg to stand on since they’re argument is that people should have a say in their political leadership. Well what’s good for DC is good for a lot Western states too.

          1. >”It would also carve out a much smaller federal district consisting of a cluster of government offices and buildings.”

            The reason here is clear. Shrinking the boundaries would gift a lot of Democrats to both VA and MD while retaining control of DC. Add this to votes on PR, and this looks like State stacking. Other than for political advantage, the idea of granting statehood to a cluster of government offices and buildings is ludicrous.

            Constitutional arguments aside, I fail to see how this has a chance in hell of passing a Senate with the required 2/3 majority.

            1. Hmm I seem to recall another bygone era of deep political divide in this country’s history where Democrats tried to pull off these kinds of tactics.

          2. I say split NM into a whole passel of new states at the county level. Every single one of ’em is bigger than DC is anyway.

        2. The cannot make DC a state constitutionally without an amendment. I do not have confidence anymore that that is a significant obstacle if the federal political class wants it enough, amendment or not.

          1. The Republicans will never support DC becoming a state. As long as the Democrats don’t control both the House and the Senate at the same time it can’t happen.

      2. The residents would see their property taxes double and triple. Metro would be in even worse shape. There are so many ways that Maryland would run the city into the ground.

        1. Metro would be in even worse shape.
          What will Maryland add to the regular fires and floods?

    3. I don’t follow. They can carve out a smaller DC and create a state from the rest.

      But it makes more sense to carve out a smaller DC and cede the rest back to MD. They did the same for VA in 1841. Well before the civil war.

    4. You can’t have the nation’s capital in one state. Besides, Maryland can barely manage Baltimore. Leave it as is.

  2. And I thought it was silly when the Green New Deal was put to a vote.

    1. If the GOP wasn’t the stupid party, they would revoke home rule the next time they have the Congress and the White House. Actually make people pay a price for doing stupid shit for once. But, they will never do that. That would make too much sense.

      1. Why bother. DC has always been a hotbed and outlet for the people to complain in. Nothings going to change if it is home rule or not. And then you just picked a fight against “Democracy” which will be hard to explain back home as to why people shouldn’t have a direct say in their political leadership.

        1. which will be hard to explain back home

          Except to the 52% of people who already oppose the idea presumably regardless of if their representative supports it or not.

        2. No one cares about DC. And you could give it back to them in a couple of years. The experience of losing home rule would leave them scared for generations and there would never be a situation like we have now for a very long time.

          1. Yeah, I think the idea that it wouldn’t play in Poughkeepsie because democracy is an attempt to shame you with crocodile tears.

      2. Wow. Punishing a population by taking away their democracy for expressing a political opinion that you don’t like is as un-American as it gets.

        1. How about taking away their democracy because they don’t know how it works, and even don’t know which candidate stands for the positions they support? And don’t even go near the idea that democracy helps people the most.

  3. I am all for it. And merge Hawaii, Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, Sacramento, and San Diego into the new state of Oceania. That creates two socialist states, offset by the rest of California, Oregon, and Washington state flipping Republican. Revoke home rule to get rid of the two “observers” in the house, and proceed.

    1. Is there any way your plan can permit me to stay in New Jersey, but subscribe to Florida’s tax rules?

      1. That’s actually a solution I ponder, and wonder if it could solve many of our political and social problems. How can we belong to different nations but share the same geography?

        1. Sounds like something from a Neal Stephenson book.

          1. Whatever happened to ‘move there’?

            Have we turned into a nation of serfs who want to remain both serf and libertarian?

            1. DC residents could similarly move to Maryland or Virginia.

          2. It is. They’re called “burb-claves.”

            Snow Crash, 1992.

    2. The northern third of California, from Mendocino county east to Nevada county and north to Oregon, has an area about the size of Maine, with 1.2 million people. They all live as a colony of LA and the Bay Area. None of their issues are ever considered in Sacramento, and Pelosi et al see them as a place from which to get fresh vegetables and fruits delivered and as pretty mountains that should be free of any people actually living there.
      If DC can be a state, why not Northern California?

  4. D.C. aka ‘The Black State’
    Motto: Sic Semper Servus

    It will be less than 1/20th the size R.I. after all the carveouts. In a couple years, the CHAZ will be larger.

  5. DC barely has enough population for 1 house seat, but it could swing the senate.

    1. It has a larger population then a few states.

      1. That depends if you consider federal workers to be people.

      2. 2 states to be exact. Vermont and Wyoming.

        US Sates and Territories by Population

  6. I like the idea of retrocession, but if the Congress is going to do that, we should also repeal the 23rd Amendment to avoid creating a pocket borough, maybe with nobody living in it but the President’s family, that still has 3 electoral votes.

  7. This is the fluff the House is going to waste their time on right now?

    Anything but ceding it back to Maryland would be a travesty. Except, of course, leveling everything inside the Capitol Beltway with a nuke or three.

    Disclosure: the high school I graduated from is inside the Capitol Beltway. But I would still advocate for this scenario.

    1. It is a presidential election year and Pelosi is Speaker. It is Pandering Time!

      1. Also, COVID-19 Panderdemic.

    2. Build a giant rocket under DC and fire it into the Sun.

      1. What did the sun ever do to you?

        1. It didn’t reach down and destroy DC when I asked it to.

      2. Build a giant sun rocket and fire it into DC.

    3. “…leveling everything inside the Capitol Beltway with a nuke or three.”

      Nope. Too many good museums and art galleries. Not to mention some excellent restaurants and bars. Move the Capitol to somewhere in the middle of Wyoming, and turn what’s now the Federal zone of D.C. into a center for the arts and recreation.

      1. And what did Wyoming do to you to deserve that?

  8. ‘The new state would be granted two representatives and one senator… ‘

    One senator?!?

    How is this even remotely constitutional?

    1. OK, half a senator.

      1. Let’s compromise on 3/5ths of a Senator.

    2. Do you think Speaker Pelosi gives a rat’s ass about whether or not it’s constitutional. Assuming making DC as state at all was constitutional, they would get 1 Rep and 2 Senators like every other state of similar population.

      1. I suspect the womyn’s room in the Capitol has Constitutional toilet paper.

    3. That is what I was thinking.
      But then I suppose it is because they aren’t actually proposing to make it a formal state.

    4. Yeesh. You think there may be a typo in the article? Nah. That would be way too banal an explanation

      The actual bill linked to say 2 Sen and 1 Rep

      1. Oh, huh. That would make more sense.

        1. And considering we are talking about a Congresional bill, that’s exactly why the error was so plausible. 🙂

  9. I’M NOT REPLACING ALL THE FLAGS FOR THIS

    1. Wait 20 yrs. and the SJWs of the future will tear them down for you.

      They’d set it on fire too but only 3 of them know how to use a lighter, they’ve only got 1 lighter between the 3 of them, and it’s out of butane.

  10. F this crap. D.C has full representation. 435 reps in the house and 100 in the Senate makes sure they always come out on top. Better than getting rid of home rule, threaten to move the US capitol out to the center of the country. Leave the bureaucracy behind, without it breathing down the neck it should be a lot easier to eliminate.

    1. Uh? DC residents do not get any representation in the Senate and only non voting observers in the House.

      1. If they don’t like it they can move a mile or two to VA or MD.

      2. And it’s not like the rules about that have been set from the very beginning.

        If they want a vote, move somewhere that has one. DC isn’t it.

    2. LOL! The Elite White Folk Removal Act of 2020. I hear there are some nice spots out in Oklahoma.

      1. Dems would hate Oklahoma.

    3. threaten to move the US capitol out to the center of the country
      There was a great wailing when the USDA decided to relocate some personnel to Kansas City.

  11. But will DC be slave or free???

    1. Freed slaves?

  12. So they want to create a new state that’s 4% the size of Rhode Island with no significant industry or tax base other than government. Shoot, DC doesn’t even make the list of the top 150 US cities by land area.

    They already have an independent municipal government. And that experience doesn’t demonstrate any great flair for self-government.

    That said, I have no concerns if they decide to cede the residential neighborhoods back to Maryland. I’m not sure MD would want them but that’s a different problem.

  13. OK, semi-seriously, how about giving people who live within the federal district “citizenship” in Maryland? If we need to have a magic zone when the power crystals do not belong to any state, does this have to apply to the people? Aside from the crystal keeper wizards, of course.

    1. And if we’re going to do this, why not permit anyone to apply for citizenship in any state, regardless of their physical location?

      1. Sounds good to me. You can join the state of Perpetually Offended but the people around you will be free to do what they want.

      2. That would be quite messy The above suggestion would not.

        1. Well sure, but it would be an avenue for discussing such an idea.

          What if citizenship was akin to cell phone service? You didn’t need to physically reside in a specific geographic area to be covered by a carrier, you could live in lots of different places where that carrier had service. Citizenship could work the same way. You could be a citizen of a sovereign state wherever that state had the ability to deliver to you the services you wanted. And given that so much occurs on the Internet now, it would obviate a lot of the need for geographical proximity. Things like fire protection and police protection and road maintenance could be contracted out to private entities or public/private partnerships, and citizens would just pay something like a “subscription fee” for those.

          1. I like it. Can I live in CA and only have to pay NM taxes?

            1. Better yet, live in CA and only have to obey MT gun laws? I’m liking this plan more every second.

  14. So if you are just going to create a smaller district within the existing district, why not cede what would be the new state back to Maryland?

  15. This stupid issue again? Do they not teach civics in class anymore? Or do they just teach it wrong?

    1. As someone who hangs with the local youth at school, smoking marijuana and listening to Pearl Jam, I’m told that school begins too early; classes are too big; the textbooks are shit; the curriculum sucks; testing is garbage; parents don’t care; my fellow bros and hoes are too busy having race wars; and too few of the teachers dole out sex.

  16. A. Creating a new state requires a constitutional amendment.
    B. DC citizens re-elected Marion Barry as mayor, after he was caught red-handed on video smoking a crack pipe – and looking like a pro doing it.
    C. You need 38 states – 75% – to ratify an amendment. Ain’t no way you’re gonna get Kansas wheat farmers, et al, to give DC 2 senators.

    1. People in Oregon (where they grow marionberries) always thought I was joking when I mentioned Marion Barry.

      During his videotaped arrest in 1990, Barry said, “Bitch set me up…I shouldn’t have come up here…goddamn bitch!” He served 6 months for smoking crack with the hooker and was re-elected in 1995.

      DC is festering shithole that doesn’t deserve the representation they have.

      1. If you thought THAT was bad, just ask Massachusetts what they did with Ted Kennedy after he killed Mary Jo Kopechne…

        Though I will say, Marion Barry and Ted Kennedy jokes are perhaps my favorite political jokes.

    2. Hey now, bitch set him up.

  17. And yet, Puerto Rico is still just a territory.

    Makes one wonder how PR should stay a territory but a constitutionally created special zone to house the FedGov deserves it’s own Senator(s) and Congress reps without even an amendment.

    Nevermind the absurdity of suggesting a single city should become a state.

    I get it though, and there is some good reasoning behind it.

    They say they want some ‘say’ in national government since the residents essentially have no representatives. That is understandable, but it’s by design and they should absolutely need more than just a standard vote to do this given that it’s mandated by the constitution.

    And for good reason, should Maryland get to set the rules in the Federal Capitol? There are 49 other States that might have a problem with that (50 in the scenario described).

    If one wants a Senator or Congresscritter one could move just outside the D.C. area. Maybe that’s the price you should pay for actually being the Federal Government as a bureaucratic cog, and furthermore it seems to give the cogs themselves more say in how they do their own jobs. Notably something that, in other area’s, leftists are super against (and occasionally even rightly so).

    Just give residents a home address mailbox in a nearby state of their choice is the most obvious answer, and as such it is immediately off the table.

    I do find the irony to be palpable that in the heart of the FedGov black people are still disenfranchised even though that same FedGov pretty literally say they started a war with our own country to give them the right to vote.

    1. And yet, Puerto Rico is still just a territory.

      Right, because the people of Puerto Rico don’t want to be a state. Allowing a minority of Puerto Ricans to drag the island into statehood would be rankest colonialism.

      1. worth it so I can be mayor of San Juan.

  18. Puerto Rico first.

    1. Yeah they have a much greater claim to statehood than DC does.

    2. I’m thinking neither.

  19. Make them a proper state or get rid of the Senate. No reason that 500k people in Wyoming should have 2 votes in the Senate yet DC, 700k people, has none.

    1. Yeah, and then just get rid of states, and counties, too. Then we can eliminate the idea of a republic, and create one righteous ideological government with all power vested in a single Dear Leader.

      Or you could pull your head out of your ass and accept that not everyone wants to live in Trump Land or Hillary Land, or not even BLM Land, and that the states continue to have significance of variations on the federation.

    2. The reason is because that’s the way this country was set up.
      And nobody forced anyone to live in DC.

    3. repeal the 17th.

      1. You need to repeal the 14th too.
        Reynolds v. Sims is more consequential than the 17th.
        Not to mention Roe v. Wade etc.

  20. Has there been a more naked power play since Roosevelt’s court-stacking plan? The Democratic Party think they’re within reach of permanent unilateral authority, and they’re no longer afraid of trying any stunt they think will get them over the finish line. Wars have been started over lesser acts than this.

    1. We are at war, but only one side fighting

  21. Finally Democrats could have a state completely devoid of the horrible villains that keep them from reaching their utopia. Namely, regular people with actual jobs

  22. Another meaningless vote from an ineffective Congress run by frauds.

  23. Of course DC should have statehood.
    Just look what a wonderful place to live it is.
    No crime.
    Highly educated kids.
    Poverty doesn’t exist.
    People are happy and never are angry.
    No traffic congestion ever.
    If the politicians in DC can make that place the perfect Utopia that it is today, just imagine what they would do for America.

  24. Why don’t we just use zoning laws* to ban** residences within the District with the exception of those official or temporary residences of:
    – Elected members of the Executive Branch
    – Elected members of the House of Representatives
    – Elected members of the Senate
    – Justices of the Supreme Court

    * I know that we’re generally not in favor of most zoning laws.
    ** Or banning things.

  25. Better..if the GOP ever had any stones they would have shut down every federal agency created after 1950…hell 1932…that would solve the DC problem…honestly this kind of insane crap from the marxist democrats is darn right scary but its the result of 50 years of cultural marxism in colleges, media, and yes even govt. And if DC an become a state..well so can central NY or southern Illinois and so on…we can play this game forever…

  26. This is all about stuffing congress. I guess the DNC figures counting all their illegal voters isn’t enough to win the federal government so now are resorting to other UN-Constitutional tactics like pretending DC isn’t the federal government but a State.

    Next thing you know they’ll be pretending their own presence in congress deems the necessity of electing another congressman. They must think they’re earth worms that multiply every-time they get cut short.

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  28. Everybody take a breath, this posturing, preening by the Democrats and it makes them feel good, and who are we to deprive them of their days in the sun?

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