The House approved legislation titled H.R. 51, making Washington, D.C. as the fifty-first state passing 232 to 180 votes.
Said legislation would give voting representation to Washington residents, who have been paying federal taxes. This will also open the doors for one House member and two senators from the area. With Washington, D.C. being a state, smaller areas around the White House, U.S. Capitol, federal buildings, and monuments will still be overseen by the U.S.
The new state will be known as Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, named after black abolitionist Frederick Douglass, and America's first president, George Washington. Currently, Washington, D.C. has a population of over 700,000 people, which is larger compared to the populations of Wyoming and Vermont.
Despite its big population, the residents of D.C. do not have any voting representation in Congress. Although Eleanor Holmes Norton of the United States House of Representatives is part of the Congress, her post is mere as a non-voting delegate.
"The United States is the only democratic country that denies both voting rights in the national legislature and local autonomy to the residents of the nation's capital," said Norton, according to CBS News. Norton introduced the bill giving emphasis to the federal taxes Washington is paying, which is more than what 22 states are paying for.
Washington, D.C. Statehood Arguments
Republicans oppose the Washington, D.C. statehood because it is a heavily Democratic city. Its population is also largely black and brown.
Republican Senator Tom Cotton questioned the legislation implying that Mayor Bowser and former mayor Marion Barry may not be trusted as governors. He also added that although Wyoming is smaller than Washington, it is a "well-rounded working-class state."
Apart from Cotton and other GOP senators, President Donald Trump is also not happy about this new bill.
In May, Trump told New York Post, "D.C. will never be a state. You mean District of Columbia, a state? Why? So we can have two more Democratic — Democrat senators and five more congressmen? No, thank you. That'll never happen."
On the other hand, Democrat Joe Biden expressed his support for the bill, tweeting that "D.C. should be a state." Biden is running for president against Trump for the November election.
The approval of the bill is considered by many as a racial justice since D.C. has been fighting for their statehood for a long time. The statehood vote is considered a historic move since this is the first in Congress since 1993 that cleared the House or Senate.