House approves DC Statehood in historic vote

The District of Columbia, where the plaques read “Taxation Without Representation,” has been burdened by a lack of federal representation.

The capital first obtained three electoral votes and the right to vote for the president in 1961 with the passing of Amendment 23. The right to elect a non-voting delegate came a decade later, but lawmakers were unable agree on whether to give that delegate the right to vote, and state law never survived a vote in the room.

The disparity has gained renewed national attention during the coronavirus pandemic and protests over racial injustice. In the $ 2.2 billion stimulus law enacted in March, the District of Columbia received a small fraction of the funds distributed to the states to help mitigate the economic effect of the virus because it was treated as a territory, despite the fact that it is routinely They grant you funds as if they were a state.

And when the administration flooded the streets of Washington with National Guard forces from elsewhere and riot troops during protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody, Ms. Bowser had little choice this month due to the amount of control that Congress maintains over the District of Columbia Finance and Laws.

“Denying DC status to more than 700,000 residents, most of them black and brown, is systemic racism,” said Stasha Rhodes, campaign director for pro-state group 51 by 51. “DC statehood is one of the most pressing civil rights and racial justice issues of our time, and we know we are on the right side of history. “

Bowser, a fifth generation from Washington, told reporters at a press conference on Thursday that “he was born here without voting, but I swear I will not die here without voting.”

The House vote, he said, would lay the groundwork for another administration to enact state law. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the alleged Democratic presidential candidate, said he would support the measure.

Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting.