Congress Votes on D.C. Statehood

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By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor
mgreen@54.204.251.142

The District is one step closer to becoming the 51st state. On June 26, the House of Representatives voted to pass l H-R 51, also known as the D.C. Statehood Bill.

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), or as D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser calls her, “our warrior on the Hill,” took to Twitter to share her excitement about the historic vote for the nation’s capital.

“The House just passed the #DCStatehood bill (#HR51), marking the first time since the creation of the District of Columbia 219 years ago, that either chamber of Congress has passed a bill to grant statehood to D.C. residents and, with it, equal citizenship,” Norton, who sponsored the legislation, tweeted.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and, what she calls, the D.C. Statehood squad. (Courtesy Photo)

Mayor Bowser explained the historic vote for D.C. Statehood as what Washingtonians are owed. 

“Today, with this historic vote, D.C. is closer than we have ever been to becoming the 51st state. More than 160 years ago, Washingtonian, Frederick Douglass, told us: ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand.’ As Washingtonians and as tax paying American citizens, we are demanding what is owed to us – the rights guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution,” she wrote. 

The Mayor said this vote is a closer crawl to justice.

“It is past time to fix this injustice. It is true that D.C. is more brown and more liberal than many other states. But the issue of taxation without representation was settled more than 200 years ago through the Declaration of Independence, and disenfranchising more than 700,000 taxpaying Americans is wrong no matter our politics or demographics. Who we elect is our business, and denying us statehood based on who we might send to Congress is both undemocratic and un-American,” she Tweeted.

Bowser also saluted D.C.’s non-voting Representative in Congress. 

“On behalf of all Washingtonians, I congratulate Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. On both a personal and professional level, this is an extraordinary accomplishment for the Congresswoman, and we are all grateful not only for her tireless work on statehood, but also her commitment to uplifting D.C. residents and putting D.C. in the best position to become the 51st state.”

While the vote in Congress is incredibly historic, the Republican controlled Senate is not expected to vote in support of D.C. statehood.  However, Norton said support is building in the Senate.

“Momentum has been building for the #DCStatehood Bill in the Senate, as more Senators have become cosponsors. Today’s House passage keeps the fire ignited. I thank [Senator Tom Carper(D-DE)] and our allies for their tireless work on D.C. statehood. The fight for the next step continues,” the 83-year-old Delegate, who has been serving Washingtonians in the House for 29 years, tweeted.

Bowser remains optimistic D.C. will become the 51st state.

“I was born without representation, but I swear – I will not die without representation. Together, we will achieve D.C. 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,” the D.C. Mayor and native Washingtonian wrote.