House Passes Landmark Bill to Admit D.C. as the 51st State—Second Time in Two Years
Washington, D.C. (Apr. 22, 2021)— Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued the following statement on the House floor in support of H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act.
The bill, introduced by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton in January 2021, would admit the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth into the Union as a state consisting of most of the territory of the present-day District of Columbia. More than 120 groups supporting civil rights, federal workers, education, and the environment have endorsed this bill.
On March 22, 2021, Chairwoman Maloney held a Committee hearing on the legislation. On April 14, 2021, the Committee held a markup of the bill and the Committee voted to pass the bill, paving the way for today’s vote on the House floor.
Below are Chairwoman Maloney’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, on the House floor in support of this historic legislation:
Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney
Floor Statement for H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act
April 22, 2021
Thank you, Mr./Madam Speaker. I yield myself three minutes.
I thank the Gentlewoman from the District of Columbia and my dear friend, Congresswoman Norton, for her years of leadership on this bill. She is not only the author of this bill, but of this moment in history.
Today, for the second time in two years, the House will vote to overturn the wrongs of over 200 years of political repression in the District of Columbia.
We will vote to honor the most fundamental principle of this nation—that all people have a right to full and equal representation in their government.
Our nation has not always lived up to its promise of full and equal representation, but that has not stopped those dedicated to equality from fighting to ensure that all people are fully represented in their government.
This fundamental right is denied to the more than 712,000 Americans living in the District of Columbia.
For more than 200 years, the District has been fighting for equal rights. Despite 86 percent of its residents voting for statehood in 2016, Congress has still not acted to ensure that the District shares in the blessings of liberty promised by the Founders in the U.S. Constitution.
The United States is a republic, but the people of its capital lack representation. 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 and violates everything we stand for as Americans.
The District pays more in federal taxes than 21 states, and more per capita than any state. Think about that. It pays more than nearly half the states in this country. Yet D.C. residents have no vote in Congress. That is wrong.
Unfortunately, so far, Republicans have opposed our efforts to ensure equality for District residents.
But let us be clear what Republican opposition is really about. Partisanship.
They would rather deny voting rights for hundreds of thousands of American citizens than even consider the possibility that representatives from the new State could be Democrats.
Think about this argument. They are willing to violate the core principles of our democracy merely because the new state might elect representatives from a different political party.
I strongly urge every member to vote yes on H.R. 51, and reserve the balance of my time.