In a 216-208 party-line vote that took place on Thursday, the House approved legislation to make Washington, D.C. into the 51st state, NPR reports. The bill will now go to the Senate where it almost certainly won’t pass.
This is the second time in the past two years the House (well, in this instance House Democrats) has approved legislation that would grant statehood to D.C.
Not all 50 Democrats in the Senate even support making America’s capital into a state, and The Hill writes that to make it into a reality would probably mean the filibuster requiring a 60-vote hurdle would have to end.
On Tuesday, the White House made a formal declaration backing the legislation, and said it would give D.C. residents “long overdue full representation in Congress.”
The idea to grant statehood to D.C. has been opposed by Republicans because, given how D.C. votes, it would probably give the Democrats two more senators and a House rep. In the 2020 election 92 percent of the area backed Joe Biden.
Other arguments made by Republicans opposing statehood include saying the founders didn’t intend for it to be a state, or that it would be better if the city became part of a state that already existed (see: Maryland). Democratic pushback has argued that the political leanings of those who live in D.C. isn’t relevant, and that they should have representation in Congress.
D.C. currently holds three electoral votes, but it’s delegate can’t vote on legislation.
That delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, along with other advocates, also argue that the District puts more into federal taxes per capita than any other state. D.C.’s 705,000+ people would also make it a more populous place than Vermont and Wyoming, and wouldn’t put it far behind Alaska.
A recent poll from a think tank, Data for Progress, says that 54 percent of Americans supported said statehood
These facts/arguments all remain hypothetical for the moment because, although the Democrats could break the 50-50 because the vice president breaks ties, a filibuster remains a major hurdle.