Senate Democrats have reintroduced a bill that would give Washington, D.C. statehood. The bill, first introduced in 2013, was reintroduced by a group of senators led by Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.).
“This isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue; it’s an American issue because the lack of fair representation for D.C. residents is clearly inconsistent with the values on which this country was founded,” Carper said in a statement.
Washington, D.C. is home to more than 700,000 residents––that’s more than the states of Wyoming and Vermont. But D.C. lacks representation in Congress; those who oppose a statehood measure believe it would only advance the Democratic Party’s interests, guaranteeing it two seats on Capitol Hill. Some also say the move would violate the 23rd Amendment, which allows D.C. residents to vote in presidential elections but gives them as much say as the residents of the “least populous State.”
Talk about D.C. statehood has persisted for years, however. Last year, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) criticized the possibility as a “bad deal” for South Carolina that would dilute its power in the Senate.
“This is about expanding the Senate map to accommodate the most radical agenda that I’ve ever seen since I’ve been up here,” Graham said.
Graham’s colleagues, Republican Senators Steve Daines of Montana and Tom Cotton of Arkansas (who said Republicans should go on the record in a vote for statehood), concurred with his assessment.
“If you get outside the Beltway and craziness here of Washington, DC, the American people agree with us,” Daines told CNN at the time. “Sometimes I think it’s important for senators, congressmen, in fact, most the time, get out of this city, go out to where the real people are at across our country and ask them what they think.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.