Biden administration officially backs DC statehood

The Biden administration has officially backed statehood for D.C.

“The Administration strongly supports H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act. For far too long, the more than 700,000 people of Washington, D.C. have been deprived of full representation in the U.S. Congress. This taxation without representation and denial of self-governance is an affront to the democratic values on which our Nation was founded,” the White House said in a Tuesday statement.

The White House said:

Establishing the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth as the 51st state will make our Union stronger and more just. Washington, D.C. has a robust economy, a rich culture, and a diverse population of Americans from all walks of life who are entitled to full and equal participation in our democracy. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress as H.R. 51 proceeds through the legislative process to ensure that it comports with Congress’ constitutional responsibilities and its constitutional authority to admit new states to the Union by legislation. The Administration calls for the Congress to provide for a swift and orderly transition to statehood for the people of Washington, D.C.”

The Biden administration said making D.C. a state would provide its “residents with long overdue full representation in Congress, while maintaining a Federal District that will continue to serve as our Nation’s seat of government.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser thanked Biden over Twitter.

“The disenfranchisement of Washingtonians is one of the remaining, glaring civil rights issues of our time,” she tweeted.

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton thanked the Biden administration in a statement.

“The residents of our nation’s capital deserve voting representation in Congress and full local self-government, and with Thursday’s House vote and expected passage, along with Democratic control of the Senate and White House, we have never been closer to statehood,” Norton said.

Under the bill, D.C. would get two U.S. senators and a voting representative in the House. The bill would cordon off the White House, Capitol and National Mall, which would remain under federal control.

House members are expected to vote on making D.C. the 51st state Thursday.

The 51st state would be called “Washington, Douglass Commonwealth,” named for Frederick Douglass.

A House committee passed the measure last week.

President Joe Biden’s support for statehood dates back to when he was vice president.

In 2015, he drew cheers when he said that D.C. “should be a state.” The comment came during a news conference on improving the nation’s infrastructure, something Biden is currently proposing for the nation.

WTOP’s Will Vitka contributed to this report.

Colleen Kelleher

Colleen Kelleher is an award-winning journalist who has been with WTOP since 1996. Kelleher joined WTOP as the afternoon radio writer and night and weekend editor and made the move to WTOP.com in 2001. Now she works early mornings as the site's Senior Digital Editor.

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