The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed a bill aimed at making the federal district of the District of Columbia, which houses the metropolis of Washington, the 51st state of the United States. The AP agency informed about it.
For the first time in the history of the United States, one of the chambers of Congress has called for the federal constituency to be granted political representation and voting rights in Congress. The proposal now goes to the Senate, where it faces opposition from the majority of Republicans.
The legislators approved the proposal by a vote of 232 in favor and 180 against, voting mostly according to the party line.
There are about 700,000 people living in the federal district, more than, for example, in the states of Wyoming or Vermont. However, local residents do not have their representation in the Senate and send only one non-voting representative to the House of Representatives. That is why they have long claimed that they are denied the basic political rights enjoyed by all other Americans.
Car license plates in Washington even carry the slogan “end taxation without representation”, referring to one of the main slogans of the American Revolution, with which American colonists protested against British domination.
However, Republicans accuse Democrats of wanting to promote precinct status only for reasons of power, and that the intention of the American founding fathers has always been for the capital to have a different status from other states. Democrats, on the other hand, argue that Republicans are defending the district’s statehood because the local population is strongly leaning toward Democrats.
Washington, Douglass Commonwealth
The bill would create a new state called Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, in honor of former slave Frederick Douglass, who subsequently became a famous abolitionist. According to the proposal, the federal district would shrink to include only the National Mall, along with the White House, the Congress Building, the Supreme Court, federal monuments, and other federal agencies in the vicinity.
Proponents of the district’s promotion also say the proposal gained new urgency following security crackdown on protesters in Lafayette Square in early June. Police violently dispersed a mostly peaceful protest, so that President Trump could then walk through the square and take a picture with the Bible at the adjacent church. “There should be no troops from other states in Washington, DC,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser.
President Trump is against
However, Republican President Donald Trump said last month that “DC (District of Columbia – note CTK) it will never be a state, “because it would probably mean that Democrats would get two more senators.” No, thanks. That will never happen, “the president said.
Each American state has equal representation in the Senate, in the House of Representatives the number of legislators is determined by the number of inhabitants. However, Steny Hoyer, the leader of the Democratic majority in the lower house, called on Republicans to rise above political calculations.
The United States last enlarged in 1959, when Congress approved Alaska and Hawaii as the 49th and 50th states of the Union. The US Constitution gives Congress the power to add new states without setting out a clear process for doing so.
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