House to vote on bill to grant Washington, D.C., statehood

June 25 (UPI) — The House on Friday is set to vote on a bill to grant Washington, D.C., statehood that has received overwhelming Democratic support.

House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland declared the measure to recognize Washington, D.C., as a state “long overdue” as he noted that 226 lawmakers had co-sponsored the measure ahead of the vote.

“We are going to pass a bill in the House of Representatives that says those who happen to live within these three-quarters and river are full citizens of America and should be accorded, therefore, the full rights of citizenship in our country,” Hoyer said.

The measure — introduced by Washington, D.C., delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a nonvoting member of the House representing the capital — would admit all land in the federal district, except for existing federal buildings and monuments, as a state and provide it with two U.S. senators and at least one House member.

It would also rename Washington, D.C., to Washington, Douglass Commonwealth after Frederick Douglass.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated it would cost about $3 million over 10 years to pay salaries, while Norton or her successor also would become a full voting member.

If passed by the House. this would be the first time either chamber of Congress has approved a measure on statehood for Washington, D.C.

“We know that statehood is the only way to ensure that we have full representation, that we have votes here in the United States of America capital, but also to make sure that we’re fully autonomous. And that is our birthright,” Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser said.

The vote comes amid an increased push for statehood after the Trump administration deployed federal law enforcement officers to disperse protesters form an area near St. John‘s Church, where President Donald Trump was preparing for a photo opportunity earlier this month.

Supporters also have said the area was shortchanged for funding under the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act, under which it was treated as a territory rather than a state.

Despite strong support in the House and 40 co-sponsors in the Senate, the bill has received pushback from Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and President Donald Trump.

McConnell has objected the proposition of statehood for Washington, D.C., and has said he would not bring the measure up for a floor vote in the chamber.

A White House policy statement issued on Wednesday also stated that Trump’s advisers would recommend that he veto a statehood bill if passed by Congress. The president told the New York Post that Republicans would be “very, very stupid” to allow Washington, D.C., to become a state.

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