Democrats in the House of Representatives are set to approve Washington, DC, making it the 51st state in the nation in a historic vote scheduled for Friday.
Washington, the “District of Columbia” would no longer be, according to the language of the bill, since the new state would be called “Washington, Douglass Commonwealth”, exchanging Italian explorer Christopher Columbus for Maryland-born abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
“And what appropriate name: George Washington and Frederick Douglass, united in support of citizenship, what appropriate name seems to me for the capital of the United States,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 House Democrat who represents nearby Maryland. “To honor two of its citizens: one white, one black, both committed to union and committed to citizenship.”
House Democrats and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (left) met on Capitol Hill Thursday to plan a landmark Friday vote that aims to make Washington, DC, the nation’s 51st state.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (left) of Maryland explained that Washington, District of Columbia would move to Washington, Douglass Commonwealth after Maryland-born abolitionist Frederick Douglass (right). Virginia and Maryland gave land to create Washington, which was named after a Virginian, President George Washington.
Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, a non-voting member of the DC House of Representatives, indicated that she agreed that the bill should only go into the House this Congress, as she suggested that Republicans would lose control of the Senate and the White House in November, allowing the bill to become law in 2021
And presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden tweeted Thursday afternoon that he believed DC should be granted statehood, removing any sort of veto threat if the White House won over President Trump in the 2020 election.
The plight of the DC state has recently drawn attention amid the altercation between DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (pictured) and President Trump as he has insisted on militarizing the area around the White House due to protests by ‘Black Lives Matter’.
After protesters were gassed outside St. John’s Church before President Trump’s controversial photo shoot, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser had ‘Black Lives Matter’ painted in large yellow letters on 16th Street NW
“Frederick Douglas was one of the great spokespersons for” Black Lives Matter, “” added Hoyer.
Douglas was also chosen because he was Marylander, since Washington was Virginian. Those two states originally renounced the land to create the District, although Virginia withdrew its portion.
Hoyer, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the city’s non-voting member of Congress, and Mayor Muriel Bowers, among others, met on Capitol Hill Thursday to anticipate the vote.
The bill is expected to pass the majority Democratic House, even if it doesn’t go anywhere in the Republican-led Senate this cycle.
Holmes Norton said he agreed with that because control of the Senate appeared to be ready for the election, as new poll data showed that Republican candidates fighting in several key states are moving toward the 2020 elections.
“Speaking even louder is what the polls tell us about the President of the United States,” Holmes Norton said in the Thursday press. “The reason he is spreading the coronavirus, I have never seen so much irresponsibility on the part of an ordinary citizen, let alone an elected official, is because his number of polls is so low that his presidency is so threatened.”
If Trump lost the White House, there would be no veto threat, as alleged Democratic nominee Joe Biden tweeted Thursday that ‘DC should be a state. Pass it on.’
Republicans have been reluctant to grant the city of 706,000 Americans statehood because it would mean giving Holmes Norton, a Democrat, one vote, and then there would be two new senators.
In 2016, approximately 91 percent of DC voters selected Democrat Hillary Clinton for president, while only 4 percent elected President Trump.
With the city’s current demographic makeup, there would be virtually no chance that a Republican senator would be elected from the new Washington, Douglass Commonwealth.
The District currently has two Democratic “shadow” senators: Paul Strauss and Mike Brown. The city also has a “shadow” representative, who is a different role than Holmes Norton, who is known as a “non-voting delegate.”
The Democrats bill would also move to quickly repeal Amendment 23 to the Constitution, which grants DC its Electoral College votes.
The issue of DC’s statehood has been made more prominent by Trump’s recent battle with city mayor Muriel Bowser.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has also been fighting with President Trump via Twitter, sending this message on Saturday night after he attacked her at his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Trump suggested that Bowser’s mismanagement of the city created chaos in front of LaFayette Square just after the death of George Floyd, a black man from Minneapolis, by a white police officer.
Coping with massive protests in DC has become a tug-of-war between the federal and local governments, with Trump ordering outside forces to enter.
And the federal government has more power to override the will of city officials because of the District’s unique status.
Bowser made that point at a press conference in mid-June explaining that with the DC state he could refuse to allow members of the National Guard from other states to enter the city without the consent of the local official.
Stateless, Bowser has had to use creative means to greet Trump.
The morning after protesters received tear gas on H Street just before the president posed with a Bible in front of St. John’s Church, Bowser had ‘Black Lives Matter’ painted in yellow on 16th Street, which stretches in front of the church to the north.
That street also received a new name: Black Lives Matter Plaza, with black signs.
More recently, he has used Twitter to applaud Trump.
“ I see @AOC and I’m living in her head, and there is apparently a lot of empty space there … just like the half-empty Tulsa stadium tonight, ” Bowser tweeted Saturday after Trump attacked her at his rally. Oklahoma campaign.