The U.S. House of Representatives voted Friday to pass a bill granting statehood to the District of Columbia. The vote marked the first time since 1993 that the House entertained legislation pertaining to D.C. statehood.
Prior to the vote, the bill was deemed likely to pass the Democratic-controlled House, but it is expected not to be brought for a floor vote before the Republican-controlled Senate.
“As long as I’m the majority leader of the Senate, none of that stuff is going anywhere,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell when asked about the initiative by Fox News.
The White House also released a statement Wednesday threatening to veto H.R. 51 — the statehood bill — on the grounds that the bill itself is unconstitutional. Specifically, the White House alleged that the bill violates the 23rd Amendment.
The 23rd Amendment grants citizens living in the District the ability to vote for presidential electors, who cast votes in the Electoral College. However, it also notes that the District is not considered a state for purposes of congressional representation. Residents are not provided with voting representatives in Congress, though they are allowed to elect non-voting representatives.
“If H.R. 51 were presented to the president, his advisors would recommend that he veto the bill,” the White House statement concluded.
The bill, which was introduced in the House on Jan. 3 last year, is sponsored by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s non-voting representative. It currently has 227 cosponsors.
“The nation’s capital would be the only American jurisdiction whose residents do not have full voting rights and where the Congress of the United States can interfere at will with their local jurisdiction,” Norton said in an interview with NPR. “We have been in existence for 219 years but the last to get full and equal rights with other American citizens.”
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