BREAKING: House Passes Bill to Make Washington D.C. the 51st State in Near Party Line Vote

From Craig Caplan:

232-180: House passes Washington, DC statehood legislation (HR 51), making the District of Columbia the 51st state, on a near party line vote announced by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD). Rep. Collin Peterson (MN) was only Democrat to vote No.

NBC New York reports the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Friday to make Washington, D.C., the union’s 51st state, marking the first time a chamber of Congress has ever voted in favor of giving the city of 700,000 people voting representation in the legislature.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called the vote a victory.

“With this historic vote, D.C. is closer than we have ever been to becoming the 51st state,” she said in a statement.

Citing Washingtonian Frederick Douglass, she said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. And statehood is our demand.

The measure will now go to the Senate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he won’t bring it to the Senate floor for a vote. Bowser called the block frustrating.

“[Lawmakers] should be asking themselves what is fair and what reflects the principles of the American democracy. D.C. residents being the only people in the free world whose capital city residents aren’t represented in the Capitol is simply anti-American,” she said on MSNBC.

Debate on H.R. 51, the statehood bill, was conducted for about two hours Friday morning. D.C.’s nonvoting Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who spearheaded the legislation, called for an end to taxation without representation in the District.

“Congress has both the moral obligation and constitutional authority to pass the bill,” she said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and other Democrats wore pro-statehood face masks on the floor while speeches were made in support of the bill.

“Statehood for the District is about showing respect for our democracy,” Pelosi said.

Rep. Jody Hice, a Republican from Georgia, pointed out the District is a city and said the Founding Fathers made it clear that it’s not meant to be a state.

“This District was set apart not to be a state nor to be influenced by one,” Hice said.

Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, said the bill’s authors were trying to exploit a loophole by shrinking the federal district and spinning off the rest of D.C. as a state.

“If there’s a constitutional way to turn D.C. into a state, this bill is not it,” Massie said.