Flag of the District of Columbia
Flag of the District of Columbia (Courtesy of dpw.dc.gov)

The House on Friday passed a bill to support D.C.’s bid for statehood — a landmark vote marking the first time either chamber of Congress has approved such a measure.

The bill — HR1: the For the People Act — was passed by a 234-193 vote. Though it is unlikely to pass in the GOP-controlled Senate and doesn’t specifically call for the District to join the union as the 51st state, the legislation says the city’s residents “deserve full congressional voting rights and self-government, which only statehood can provide.”

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), D.C.’s nonvoting member of the House who has long championed the statehood cause, lauded the vote as “historic.”

“After decades of struggle, the House of Representatives today endorsed D.C. statehood in H.R. 1, our major democracy reform bill,” said the venerable congresswoman, whose own statehood bill has a large number of sponsors. “In 2019, D.C. residents cannot make up for two centuries of carrying all the obligations of citizenship without full equality. This vote comes too late for members of the armed forces who have served in all the nation’s wars without the rights of those who fought beside them.

“What today’s vote does do is pave the way for a vote on H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, and assures we are on the cusp of righting one of the nation’s oldest continuing wrongs,” Norton said.

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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