The District of Columbia could become the “Washington, Douglass Commonwealth” as the district has renewed its effort to become the United States’ 51st state.
As ABC News reports, a bill with 220 co-sponsors is making its way through Congress and has the favor of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Speaking at a news conference at the Capitol, Pelosi said the district’s 700,000 residents were “disenfranchised” and that she was scheduling a historic vote on Friday for the district’s statehood.
“For more than two centuries, the residents of Washington D.C., the District of Columbia, have been denied their right to fully participate in their democracy,” she said via the report. “Instead, they have been dealt the injustice of paying taxes, proudly serving in uniform in great numbers and contributing to the economic power of our nation while being denied the full enfranchisement which is their right.”
“This deprivation of statehood is unjust, unequal, undemocratic and unacceptable,” Pelosi added.
On Thursday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser similarly said that while residents of the district were born without a vote, they “will not die here without a vote.”
“Let’s fight back against the cries that we are too liberal or too black or too many Democrats,” she said per ABC News.
According to the report, however, even if the bill were to clear the House (which is expected), it is unlikely to continue any further in the lawmaking process.
Republicans control a majority in the Senate and President Trump has already said he would veto any measure granting the district statehood.
“You mean District of Columbia, a state? Why? So we can have two more Democratic — Democrat senators and five more congressmen? No thank you. That’ll never happen,” Trump said last month.
Here’s more on the bill, from ABC News:
The bill has garnered 220 cosponsors and was crafted by D.C.’s non-voting Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who is in her 15th term representing the district. The legislation was aptly assigned the bill number H.R. 51, and would admit the state of “Washington, Douglass Commonwealth,” as the union’s 51st state, drawing its new name from President George Washington, a Virginian, and abolitionist Frederick Douglass who was from Maryland.
The boundaries of the proposed new state would encompass the district’s residential and business areas, but would exclude the federal monuments, the White House, the Capitol Building, the United States Supreme Court Building, and the federal executive, legislative, and judicial office buildings that are near the National Mall and the Capitol. Those excluded areas would then serve as the District of Columbia and would remain under federal oversight.