Last week, the House passed legislation approving the statehood of Washington, D.C. The vote fell along party lines, and the Associated Press says that was the easy part. The full chamber will vote on this bill for the second year in a row; last year, it passed the House but not the Senate. People have mixed wishes for the upcoming Senate vote. (And not just because people are worried how a 51st state would affect the flag.)
Washington, Douglass Commonwealth
The 51st state would be called Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, after Frederick Douglass. And the bill would give this new state one House rep and two senators, so whichever party rules in the nation’s capitol would clinch more seats. AP says the Senate is split 50/50 with Vice President Harris as the tie-breaker. What’s the main point of both sides? Politicians have voiced several opinions, but here are two prominent arguments.
Democrats are pushing D.C. statehood to pack the U.S. Senate with two progressive senators so they can end the filibuster, pack the Supreme Court, enact the Green New Deal, and create the socialist utopia the Squad dreams about.Rep. James Comer (R-KY) via Associated Press
This side also argues that the nation’s founders always intended for D.C. to be a separate, federal area and that this legislation completely rewrites that intention.
Civil rights issue?
Democrats argue that D.C. becoming the 51st state is a basic civil rights issue.
This vote comes at a critical time when Americans nationwide are eager to deliver on the promise of liberty and justice for all. For centuries, an incremental approach to equality in America has delayed this promise for too many. Now is the time for bold action.D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser via Associated Press
They argue that D.C. is a well-populated place that has taxation without representation.
Where does the filibuster come into play?
A filibuster is when a lawmaker blocks or delays Senate action on a bill through extensive debates and other “obstructive actions.” You can end a filibuster with three-fifths (60 senators) of the vote. Since President Biden was elected, supporters were looking forward to his campaign promises coming to pass. But it hasn’t been that easy.
Many Democrats want to end the filibuster. But Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has been a big supporter of it. Why? According to Axios, Manchin believes the Senate is heavily partisan and doesn’t want to just vote with the Democratic majority. “When it comes to the Senate, [it] is expected and it was designed for us to come together and find a pathway forward and that pathway forward,” he said. He wants to see some changes before he lets up.
Now, the filibuster has to be ended before the Senate could pass the D.C. statehood because some moderate Democrats aren’t going for it. They have some issues to work out, and their solutions could cause ripple effects on a lot of proposed legislation.
What do you think? Should Washington, D.C. be the 51st state?