Democrats are once again looking to make the District of Columbia a state.
Breitbart reports that the U.S. House of Representatives this upcoming week will vote on whether to make D.C. a state.
What members of the U.S. House will actually vote on Tuesday is H.R. 51. The hotly contested bill was voted out of the House Oversight Committee by a margin of 25 to 19 on Wednesday.
The House website states, “this bill provides for admission into the United States of the state of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, composed of most of the territory of the District of Columbia. The commonwealth shall be admitted to the Union on an equal footing with the other states.”
Democrats have been pushing to make the District of Columbia a state for many years now. And, it is clear why they would want this to happen: it would give them more senators and representatives in Congress.
Democrats, though, always make the claim that the move is about nothing other than providing the people of D.C. with congressional representation. They usually argue that the people of D.C. pay taxes, therefore, they ought to get congressional representation.
Republicans, however, vigorously oppose this idea, and not only because it is a fairly naked power grab. Republicans believe that they have the Constitution on their side, and many scholars, including some Democrats, would agree.
As Breitbart reports, there are usually three arguments that Republicans make against D.C. statehood. They are:
- Our nation’s capital was always meant to be unique. The founders wanted it to be a federal district, existing beyond the confines or influence of any one state.
- H.R. 51 would require Congress to ignore the plain command of the 23rd Amendment.
- Even those who support D.C. statehood admit district residents enjoy special benefits due to where they live and would enjoy an outsize influence in Congress.
This is not, however, to say that D.C. cannot become a state. Rather, the argument is that a constitutional amendment is needed for that to happen, as opposed to a just bill passed by Congress.
“We will use every legal tool at our disposal”
This past week, the attorneys general of twenty-two states sent a letter to President Biden and Congress arguing against H.R. 51.
“If this Congress passes and President Biden signs this Act into law, we will use every legal tool at our disposal to defend the United States Constitution and the rights of our states from this unlawful effort to provide statehood to the District of Columbia,” they wrote.
It is unclear whether H.R. 51 will get anywhere.