For Immediate Release
Josh Burch, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 641-4680
U.S. House Announces Historic Floor Vote for D.C. Statehood
Seven Democratic caucus senators have yet to co-sponsor Senate bill
WASHINGTON (June 16, 2020) – Today, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), along with Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a historic House vote on the Washington, D.C. Admissions Act (H.R. 51), which would grant the people of D.C. full voting rights and representation in Congress.
Companion legislation in the U.S. Senate (S. 631) has gained momentum in the past few weeks, as the Trump Administration ordered in troops and helicopters to terrorize D.C. residents, including the use of tear gas to clear a peaceful protest so President Trump could take a photo in front of a church. In the past week, Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Jon Tester (D-MT) became co-sponsors of the legislation. 40 of the 47 senators in the Democratic caucus have now signed onto the bill.
The seven who have not are Rhode Island’s Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed, Washington’s Maria Cantwell, Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema, Alabama’s Doug Jones, Maine’s Angus King, and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin.
“For far too long, over 700,000 Americans have been denied full voting rights and representation in Congress,” said Josh Burch, a D.C. resident and volunteer organizer of United for D.C. Statehood. “It is time for all senators who believe in the principles of democracy to support D.C. statehood.”
Despite D.C. having a larger population than two states — Vermont and Wyoming — President Trump was able to order the occupation of D.C. because residents lack the basic representation in Congress afforded to Americans living in all 50 states. Americans living in D.C. do not have senators or a voting representatives in Congress, nor a governor or control over their own national guard.
Prior to the Trump Administration militarizing the nation’s capital, African-Americans there were already suffering disproportionately from the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of those infected in D.C. are people of color, and 75% of those who have died are African-American.
Tragically, Washington, D.C. may be experiencing higher fatality rates because D.C. received less than half the COVID-19 funding that Americans living in the 50 states did, due to its lack of statehood.
As D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser wrote in The Washington Post this week, “It is no coincidence that Washington— affectionately known as Chocolate City — is also the only capital of a democratic nation that denies its residents a vote in the federal legislature. To think these two truths are not related is to be willfully ignorant of our nation’s history.” Along these lines, Susan Rice wrote in The New York Times last week, “The real reasons for opposition are more sinister: racism and political interest. Washington was long predominantly black, and efforts to deny its citizens their civil rights date back to Reconstruction.”
The 702,455 D.C. residents pay more than $26 billion in federal taxes, more than 22 states. As Barack Obama said during his presidency, “Folks in D.C. pay taxes like everybody else. They contribute to the overall well-being of the country like everybody else. They should be represented like everybody else….There has been a long movement to get D.C. statehood and I’ve been for it for quite some time… I think it’s absolutely the right thing to do.”
224 members of the House of Representatives have co-sponsored companion legislation in the House (H.R. 51). 218 votes are needed to pass legislation.
D.C. Neighbors United for Statehood applauds the U.S. House for setting a floor vote and urges all remaining senators to join their 40 colleagues who have co-sponsored D.C. statehood. It’s time for them to stand up against the violent overreach by the Trump Administration against D.C. residents and sign onto the Washington D.C. Admissions Act.