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House Takes Historic First Step Toward Granting Voting Rights, Statehood to Our Nation’s Capital; Senate Should Follow

Statements of Public Citizen Experts

Note: The U.S. House of Representatives today, for the first time in history, approved legislation that would grant the District of Columbia statehood. The “Washington D.C. Admissions Act” (H.R. 51), championed by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) with a majority of House members signed on as co-sponsors, was overwhelmingly approved largely along party lines. This is the first time either chamber of Congress has approved such legislation. The bill now moves to the U.S. Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has vowed to block the measure.

“We are the only advanced democratic country in the world that denies voting rights and equal representation to the citizens of our nation’s capital. D.C. residents – who pay taxes, serve in the military and have more resources and people than nearly half the states – should not be denied the rights of voting and representation granted to everyone else in the country.”

  • Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist

“The District of Columbia has a population in excess of 700,000 residents and pays more in taxes than 22 states. Yet citizens of D.C. are not equally represented in Congress, and decisions by the D.C. Council and mayor may be overridden by Congress. Just this month, during peaceful protests denouncing racism and police brutality, D.C. was essentially occupied by the military under orders from President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr. Those who stand in the way of D.C. statehood do so simply for partisan purposes. How we are going to vote should never, ever be the factor that determines who gets to vote.”

  • Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president