WASHINGTON, D.C. — The bill that would grant statehood to the 700,000 residents of Washington, D.C. cleared an early hurdle on Wednesday. The House Oversight and Reform Committee voted to approve H.R. 51, passing the legislation along party lines. The bill is expected to receive a full House floor vote next week.
H.R. 51 would define a new federal congressional district and turn the residential areas of Washington, D.C. into a state. The legislation was first proposed by D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) 30 years ago and passed the U.S. House for the first time last year after Democrats regained control of the chamber. With new Democratic majorities in the House and Senate and control of the White House, advocates are hopeful that statehood has a chance of making its way to President Joe Biden’s desk. “The United States is the only democratic country that denies both voting rights in the national legislature and local self-government to the people of its capital. That is wrong. It violates everything we stand for as American,” said Oversight Chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.).