House votes to make D.C. the 51st state

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking on the front steps of Capitol Hill in Washington

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the bill would ban the use of chokeholds in policing

Senate Republicans have already voiced their opposition to the bill and President Trump has vowed to veto it if it reaches his desk.

"The Founding Fathers did not intend for the District of Columbia to become a state".

"Power concedes nothing without a demand". Washington received $500 million for its pandemic response, compared with the $1.2 billion the federal government accorded to each of the 50 states.

If Washington, DC were a state "its residents would be protected from the kind of civil rights violations we saw in Lafayette Square", said Representative Steny Hoyer, the number two Democrat in the House.

"Congress has two choices: it can continue to exercise undemocratic autocratic authority over" Washington, "or Congress can live up to this nation's promise and ideals and pass HR51", said the city's non-voting House delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton.

"We believe in holding officers accountable for their actions, but the outcome of this would be making criminals out of decent cops enforcing the laws in good faith", executive director William Johnson said in a letter to the House Judiciary Committee.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gathered with members of the Congressional Black Caucus
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gathered with members of the Congressional Black Caucus

In 1978, the House and the Senate approved the District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment, which would have enabled Washington residents to elect one USA representative and two US senators.

This time, the legislation had 227 co-sponsors - a majority in the House. Like the other bills, this one is expected to pass both chambers with broad bipartisan support. We are one step closer to becoming a state, and therefore one step closer to a stronger Democratic majority.

It is because of this unique status that residents of "Washington DC", "the District of Columbia", do not have elected officials who vote in Congress.

'For something to happen, they're going to have to face the realities of police brutalities, the realities of the need for justice in policing, and the recognition that there's many good people in law enforcement, but not all, ' Pelosi said of Republicans.

His comments were met with scorn by various law enforcement agencies. But the bill would wipe out the role of Congress in D.C.'s affairs.

The U.S. constitution gives Congress the power to admit new states without specifying a process. Some also said Washington was not equipped to be a state and should be absorbed back into Maryland.

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Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.), a former CBC chairman, said that this time, lawmakers "cannot succumb to congressional timidity". "The consent of the governed is a fundamental part of the American architecture".

On Friday the city council voted unanimously to replace the Minneapolis police department with a new entity focused on "community safety and violence prevention".

Nineteen Republican lawmakers did not vote.

Under the Democratic proposal, Norton said, a small federal district would remain, encompassing government buildings, Congress, monuments, the National Mall area and the White House.

The rest of the city, and its 705,000 predominantly non-white residents, would become the 51st state, named the Washington, Douglass Commonwealth.

On Wednesday, US Senate Republicans failed to secure the 60 votes needed to advance their version of a police reform bill. "It is true that DC is more brown and more liberal than many other states".

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Collin Peterson from midwest state Minnesota was the only Democrat to vote against the bill. That would change under the House's legislation, which would grant them two Senators and voting representation in the House where seats are allocated based on population. I grew up in D.C. without Congressional representation. " Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) asked ahead of the vote on Friday". "There's widespread ignorance in the country about these core matters of citizenship affecting their own capital".

Hakeem Jeffries, a New York Democrat, said: "Here in America, every black mother and every black father has to have the talk with their child about what to do when approached by police".

"I didn't sign up for this" Perry said.

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