February 28, 2019

Van Hollen, Carper Reintroduce Statehood Bill to Ensure Full Representation for Over 700,000 D.C. Residents

Today, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), along with a group of Democratic Senators, introduced legislation that would grant Washington, D.C. full statehood, making it the 51st state and giving its citizens full representation in Congress. The Washington, D.C. Admission Act would also designate the areas surrounding the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the National Mall as the seat of the federal government. The area would inherit the name “District of Columbia” and remain under the control of Congress, as mandated by the Constitution.

In November 2016, District of Columbia residents voted overwhelming to petition the federal government to end this unjust situation by granting it statehood. The referendum also approved a name, constitution, and boundaries for what would become the new state called Washington, Douglass Commonwealth (D.C.)

Joining Senators Van Hollen and Carper as original cosponsors on the Washington, D.C. Admission Act are Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Catherine Cortez Mastro (D-Nev.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).

The House companion bill (H.R. 51), now has a record number of cosponsors with 198 members supporting the bill. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has endorsed D.C. statehood, and House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) has committed to holding a hearing and markup of H.R. 51 this year. The legislation was also incorporated into the For the People Act of 2019 (H.R.1) a major democracy reform package that advanced out of committee this week.

Full text of the Washington, D.C. Admission Act is available here. 

A summary and section-by-section breakdown of the bill is available here.