Could Washington D.C. finally be a state? See the news around a new bill
American flags waved high & proud over the weekend from the White House to Capitol Hill, displayed in the direction towards Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser. However, instead of the usual fifty stars, these ones were instead donned with fifty-one stars, raised all the way down Pennsylvania Avenue to call attention to the district’s bid to be the fifty-first state.
So what is the latest news on Washington D.C. and what is the probability that America will soon have fifty-one states? Find out all the details here.
A new state?
The American flags lined up & down the streets comes just days before Congress is scheduled to debate the issue. Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington is set to testify before the House Oversight Committee regarding the news of Washington D.C. statehood today.
The bill, drafted by Democrat Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton who is representing the district as a non-voting Congress member, would turn the city of Washington D.C. into the fifty-first state. The new state would then be called Washington, Douglas Commonwealth, named after abolitionist Frederick Douglas.
If this news turns into reality, which would be decided later this year when it gets voted on, the 700,000 residents that make up Washington D.C. would get voting representation in the House and Senate. This would also mean miles of federal buildings & monuments such as the Supreme Court & the White House would have to be redrawn as the new federal capital of the country.
Violent riots at Capitol Hill
An issue that will likely arise in today’s hearing is the attack on the Capitol following the Trump Rally on Jan. 6 that led to violence and five deaths. Because Washington’s status was a federal district and not a territory, Mayor Bowser was not able to call on the National Guard to support the officers during the attack.
Only the President, Secretary of Defense & Secretary of Army can call up the D.C. National Guard, which ABC News confirmed “is the only National Guard unit in all 54 states and territories that can only report to this chain of command”. To that, Oversight Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney said: “The horrific events of Jan. 6th epitomized the need for D.C. statehood”.
“Each of the 712,000 tax-paying D.C. residents deserve to have their voices heard in Congress and have elected officials with the ability to protect them from domestic terrorists, as happened on Jan. 6th when the D.C. Metropolitan Police and National Guard came to the assistance of the Capitol Police”.
Wyoming has 578,000 people, is 92% white and has 2 senators
Washington DC has 712,000 people, is 46% Black and has 0 senators
DC should be a state
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) March 22, 2021
Civil rights issue
Many in support of the news of Washington D.C. statehood see this as a civil rights issue. ABC News reported that Bowser’s senior advisor, Beverly Perry, stressed: “Instead of referring to it as statehood, I will refer to it as disenfranchisement for residents of the District of Columbia”, and mentioned that when the founders created a federal district, they were unaware they were disenfranchising natives of Washington.
“As time passed, and the Black population came to Washington, D.C., to help build this Capitol and work, it became a large Black population, and then it became a problem. And that’s why it has not been corrected. But now, in this climate of equity, in this climate of equality in this climate of voting rights, it is no longer excusable and has to be corrected”, Perry said.
With the Democrats leading both the House & Senate for the very first time in decades, this new shift in power in Washington brings hope to those in support of the news of Washington D.C. statehood, and makes the possibility of fifty-one states in America all the more likely.