The push to add the District of Columbia as the 51 state has taken another step forward, with a Democratic senator wasting little time in floating legislation now that a new administration is in place and Democrats control Capitol Hill.
The bill filed Friday by Sen. Thomas Carper of Delaware was hailed by Bo Shuff, executive director for DC Vote.
“Ten days into the Biden presidency, we are excited to see action taken to finally secure statehood for D.C.,” Shuff said in a statement. “This is the earliest the bill for D.C. statehood has ever been introduced in the Senate, and it is imperative that the House and Senate move swiftly with their consideration of this historic legislation.”
Shuff urged Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Gary Peters (D-Mich.) “to move quickly, establish necessary hearings and work alongside Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to advance the bill to the Senate floor for the vote.”
In June, the House voted to support D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton’s bill to establish the District as a state. Then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he would not bring any D.C. statehood bill to the Senate floor because he feels the District would send two Democratic senators to the chamber indefinitely.
Since the convening of the 117th Congress earlier this month, Norton has got a record 208 original co-sponsors for her D.C. statehood bill that she will formally introduce in the near future. President Biden has indicated his willingness to sign a statehood bill but White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday he hasn’t considered the matter any further.
Josh Burch, founder of Neighbors United for DC Statehood, announced Friday 39 senators signing on as original co-sponsors, including Maryland’s Ben Cardin (D) and Chris Van Hollen (D) and Virginia’s Mark Warner (D) and Tim Kaine (D).
Burch encouraged statehood supporters to contact the offices as well as friends and relatives who live in the states represented by Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) to request that they become co-sponsors of Carper’s legislation. He added Angus King (I-Maine), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) “and may a few GOPers too” should be contacted to support statehood, also.
Burch said all senators, regardless of party affiliation, from Maine, Arizona and West Virginia should be contacted to move the statehood bill forward.