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House passes DC statehood bill, because ‘it’s racist not to’: Here’s what happens if DC is a state

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Though experts have long argued that Washington, D.C. cannot be transformed into a state of its own without a constitutional amendment, House Democrats nevertheless made a show this week of passing a bill that would ostensibly make D.C. a state.

“Denying its citizens equal participation and representation is a racial, democratic, and economic injustice we cannot tolerate,” California Rep. Maxine Waters, whose district lies approximately 2,500 miles from D.C., said on the House floor Friday.

Listen:

Introduced by D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a non-voting Democrat member of the U.S. House, the bill would reportedly condense the federal capital to encompass just major federal buildings, including the White House and the U.S. Capitol.

Meanwhile, the rest of D.C. would be separated and made into a state called the Washington, Douglass Commonwealth in honor of Frederick Douglass.

The bill reportedly passed 232-180, with zero Republicans voting in favor but one Democrat, Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, crossing the aisle to vote against.

With the bill having now made it through House, it’s now officially dead.

In a statement this week, the White House listed off a litany of reasons for why D.C. cannot and will likely never become a state of its own:

The White House’s central argument centered on the assertion that H.R. 51 would violate “the constitutional vision of our Founders for our capital.”

H.R. 51 would create an opportunity for a new State of Washington, D.C. to dominate the capital and render those who meet there beholden to its interests, rather than the interests of the Nation as a whole,” the White House wrote.

As outlined in Federalist 43, the Framers feared that the seat of government confined to the jurisdiction of a single State would not be sufficiently independent and might, therefore, prefer local instead of national interests.”

Moreover, the White House wrote, because of the new capital’s tiny size, it would naturally be entirely dependent on Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, for all its services (think water, electricity, Internet, even cable).

“[G]iven its small size, the Federal capital would depend entirely on the new State of Washington, D.C. for most, if not all, of the necessary modern services, which directly implicates a concern that troubled the Framers,” the White House wrote.

As it stands, D.C. is reportedly simultaneously comprised of parts of both Maryland and Virginia so as to prevent any single state from wielding undue influence over it.

For this reason, some have argued that simply ceding these parts back to their original states would resolve the Democrats’ key complaint, which is that the residents of Washington, D.C. lack voting power.

President Donald Trump has been vocal with his own opposition. In an interview last month with the New York Post, he outright accused Democrats of pursuing this scheme purely for political benefit.

“They want to do that so they pick up two automatic Democrat [seats in the Senate] — you know it’s 100 percent Democrat, basically — so why would the Republicans ever do that?” he said. “That’ll never happen unless we have some very, very stupid Republicans around that I don’t think you do.”

Very stupid Republicans” do exist, so you never know, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t appear to be among them:

Many of his colleagues — the not “stupid” ones, that is — agree.

While Democrats have been pining for D.C. statehood for years, the efforts swelled recently after the president had the apparent audacity to call in National Guard troops to quell riots that were destroying businesses and endangering lives.

To hear D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser tell it, the rioters were “peaceful” and deserved to be left alone.

But evidence from the scene showed otherwise:

These are the people she and other Democrats believe deserve voting power.

Vivek Saxena

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