The House Oversight Committee on Tuesday sent the full chamber a proposal to grant statehood to Washington, DC, marking a historic step in a decades-long battle to transform the federal district into the nation’s 51st state.
The Democratic-led committee approved H.R. 5803 by a vote of 21-16. Of the 24 Democrats on the panel, all but one had cosponsored a version of the bill introduced last year. Its passage comes after a nearly 8-hour debate on the measure in which Democratic members killed more than a dozen Republican-supported amendments.
The legislation, titled the “Washington, D.C. Admission Act,” was first introduced in January 2019 by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s nonvoting House member. It would make DC a state and would provide its residents with two senators and at least one voting House member. The state would comprise all of the land currently in DC, excluding the land on which all existing federal buildings and monuments in DC sit.
The bill is expected to be passed by the Democratic-controlled House, where its supporters include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. A version of the bill introduced by Norton last year garnered more than 200 cosponsors. But its prospects remain dim in the Republican-controlled Senate.