WASHINGTON (WDVM) — The United States Senate held a hearing on S-51, the Washington D.C. Admission Act, on Tuesday, June 22. If passed, the bill would grant the District of Columbia statehood.
This is the first time the Senate has held a public hearing on the topic since 2014.
The bill passed through the House of Representatives in April, and the White House has issued a statement of support for the bill as well. In order to pass in the Senate, the bill requires 60 votes, which would mean at least 10 Republicans would need to vote in favor of the bill.
It’s become a divided issue among Democrats and Republicans. Republicans argue statehood is a way for Democrats to gain more seats in the Senate, thereby maintaining a majority. The Democrats, on the other hand, said that D.C. Statehood is an issue of civil rights. Mayor Muriel Bowser addressed this in her statement to the Senate Committee on Tuesday. She said, “The prevailing constitutional issue is the civil rights violation of 700,000 D.C. residents, who fulfill all obligations of United States Citizenship, but are denied any representation in this body.”
The bill will make most of the city the 51st state, while unpopulated areas including the House and Senate office buildings, U.S. Capitol, Supreme Court building, White House, monuments and museums on the National Mall and all federal buildings and land will be part of the “federal district.”