April 26, 2021

Pelosi and House Pass Bill to Make D.C. the 51st State

  • The Hill

In Brief: 

The House of Representatives approved a bill last week that would make Washington, D.C. the fifty-first state. The bill will now be sent to the Senate but faces an uphill battle to reach the required number of votes. The Democrats have mentioned that they are considering the “nuclear option,” and will do what it takes to pass their agenda. 

The Background: 

The House of Representatives voted to pass HR 51, a bill that would grant Washington, D.C. statehood. The bill will likely fall short of the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate and be signed into law. Similar legislation advanced last year, but was stopped in the Senate due to lack of bipartisan support. 

Democrats have discussed using the “nuclear option,” which will do away with the filibuster and allow a simple majority to destroy the deliberative process of the Senate. When they were in the minority, Democrats were strong proponents of the filibuster, loudly decrying any efforts to use the "nuclear option."

After Democrats took the majority by just one vote in the 2020 Elections, Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) stated,  “If we start to get faced with a situation that bills we have repeatedly promised to our voters ... and then we find that Republicans want to block it, then we’ll have to ask ourselves what’s more important, keeping the promises that we made or some artificial Senate rule?” 

Democrats say they hope to add Washington, D.C. as a state for better “equality” and representation of progressive views. Washington, D.C. voted 92% in favor of Biden in the 2020 Presidential Election, and is a primarily progressive area.

Republicans counter that DC statehood is nothing more than an attempt to give Democrats two new permanent Democrat seats in the Senate.  Why not give conservative areas statehood, Republicans ask, granting them representation in the Senate? 

Notable Quotes:

“With H.R 51, Congress is taking a significant step to enfranchise the people of DC and empower them to participate fully in our democracy. Again, we’re excited that we will pass it. We will celebrate, and we hope that momentum will help it pass in the Senate so that the President can sign it into law.” - Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) 
"Their number one priority is they want to stay in power forever. ...They’re pushing D.C. statehood. Why? Because they want two new Democratic senators.” - Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)

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