Overwhelming Support for Landmark D.C. Statehood Bill Ahead of Committee Vote

Apr 14, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Apr. 14, 2021)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, along with Committee Member Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, will hold a business meeting on H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, introduced by Congresswoman Norton on January 4, 2021.

 

H.R. 51 would admit the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth into the Union and reduce the size of the federal district.  The bill has 215 cosponsors and an identical version was passed by the House of Representatives in the 116th Congress.

 

Ahead of the Committee’s vote on this legislation, more than 120 groups supporting civil rights, federal workers, education, and the environment have endorsed this bill.

 

Below are excerpts from letters of endorsements of this historic legislation.

 

American Civil Liberties Union:  “Continued congressional control of the District of Columbia and its residents undermines the fundamental principle of self-government and is antithetical to a free society. Congressional interference in D.C.’s autonomy has had disastrous consequences for the health and welfare of District residents. Congress has an opportunity to rectify a great injustice that has left hundreds of thousands of Americans in the District of Columbia unable to fully participate in our representative democracy. Disenfranchised District residents deserve full representation in Congress, and the true autonomy and self- governance that comes with statehood.”

 

Constitutional Accountability Center:  “Consistent with the principles upon which this country was founded, Congress should pass the Washington, D.C. Admission Act to give D.C. residents full voting rights, meaningful political representation in Congress, and control over their local affairs. The bill is an exercise of Congress’s express constitutional power to add new states to our nation by enacting simple legislation—a power it has used repeatedly throughout history—and to adjust the borders of the seat of government.”

 

District of Columbia Affairs Community of the District of Columbia Bar:  “As the United States continues to bring democratic values and ideals to nations historically governed by tyrants, the Community urges Congress to correct a lingering injustice in its own shadow, namely, the denial of equality and full democracy to the more than 712,000 residents who live in the Nation’s Capital.”

 

D.C. Developmental Disabilities Council:  “Achieving D.C. statehood would be directly in line with DDC’s mission. It is particularly important that individuals with I/DD and their families have the opportunity to have their voices heard. Without statehood, residents of D.C., including those with I/DD and their families, do not have the full representation in government that is granted to those in the rest of the fifty states.”

 

Greater Washington Area Chapter, Women Lawyers Division of the National Bar Association (GWAC):  “The officers and members of our organization believe that 231 years is long enough and we implore you, as our elected representative to the 117th Congress, to deliver justice for our fellow American citizens living in Washington, DC, by voting in favor of H.R.51.”

 

The George Washington University President Dr. Thomas LeBlanc:  “The last year has shown that lack of fair representation in the federal government has disadvantaged the 700,000 District residents—which include many of our faculty, staff and students—in critical matters of funding to address racial and health inequities in our nation’s capital. In addition to hardships District residents experience, the issue of lack of federal representation also negatively impacts faculty members and research at D.C. universities, and as a result, research and innovation that has the potential to benefit society.”

 

Joint Environmental and Faith Coalition Letter:   “H.R. 51 is an important and necessary step toward righting a historic wrong, fully enfranchising more than seven hundred thousand people and realizing our nation’s values of equal representation. By establishing Washington D.C. as a state, while preserving a constitutionally required Federal District, this legislation returns power to the people, where it belongs.”

 

National Active and Retired Federal Employees:  “There are 141,955 active federal employees working in the District of Columbia, many of whom live there, and 43,819 District of Columbia residents who are federal annuitants. These men and women have served our nation with distinction, yet are not afforded the same rights and privileges to self-government as the citizens they have served. It is past time they are.”

 

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice:  “As people of faith, we believe that it is every citizen’s right and responsibility to participate in the political process as an expression of their inherent dignity. Our nation was founded on the principle of self-governance, but the people of D.C. do not have control over their own laws or their own budget. Residents of the District must no longer be denied this sacred right and responsibility—it is time for Congress to act.” 

 

Service Employees International Union:  “The push for statehood is important to ensure that workers and residents of the District of Columbia, who are marching and leading to end anti-Black and systemic racism, are never without a voice in their democracy. With a majority Black and brown population the fight for D.C. Statehood cannot be separated from the fight for racial justice. And as our nation continues to strive for a more perfect union by becoming a true multi-racial democracy, it is imperative that the residents of the District of Columbia be fully represented in the Congress by their admission as a state.” 

 

State Board of Education of the District of Columbia:  “Statehood would allow the D.C. government the same authorities as any other state government to provide laws for its residents developed by the representatives of those residents. The violent insurrection on January 6, 2021, demonstrated the failure of the federal government to appropriately protect the health and safety of our students, parents, and families. This is the Nation’s Capital, but it is also our home.”

 

Click here to watch today’s business meeting.

 

Click here to read the bill.

 

Click here for a full listing of endorsements.

 

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Issues: 
117th Congress