DC Statehood: What does it mean?

Maddy Crisera
May 19, 2021

Washington D.C. was founded in 1790 with the purpose of serving as the nation’s capital. When writing the Constitution, the Founding Fathers determined that no single state should hold the power of the federal government, so a district with no representation in Congress was created.


This structure functioned well for many generations, but in recent decades residents of D.C. – who pay more federal taxes per capita than any state – feel as though they are being denied the full rights of citizenship by getting no votes in Congress.


Residents of D.C. believe the only remedy to this situation is statehood, and they may be getting closer than ever. The bill H.R. 51, which would add Washington, Douglass Commonwealth as the 51st state, passed the House on April 22.


The biggest obstacle to D.C. statehood is the G.O.P., as many Republicans believe that the left-leaning district would give Democrats too much power in Congress. Additionally, some people on both sides of the political spectrum believe the concept of adding a new state could set a dangerous precedent.


Due to these controversies, it is unclear if H.R. 51 will pass. The bill only needs to win a simple majority, but it would also have to pass a Republican-led filibuster, which would require 60 votes to break.


Sources:
https://washington.org/DC-information/washington-dc-history
https://statehood.dc.gov/page/why-statehood-dc
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/22/us/politics/dc-statehood-vote.html