Rep. Sewell Applauds Passage of the Washington, D.C. Admission Act
Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) voted to pass H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, landmark legislation that would admit Washington, D.C. as the 51st state of the Union. The bill would give D.C. residents voting representation in Congress and would allow for full, local self-government.
“Our Nation was founded on the idea that every citizen should have their voice heard and represented, but for too long, the residents of the District of Columbia have been denied a seat at the table,” said Rep Sewell. “Statehood for Washington, D.C. is an issue of civil rights, voting rights, equality, and basic fairness, which is why I was proud to join my colleagues in voting to pass the Washington, D.C. Admission Act. This legislation will strengthen our democracy and finally allow residents of the District to enjoy the full benefits of representative government.”
Background on the Washington, D.C. Admission Act:
If enacted, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act would establish the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, named after the famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass, as the 51st state of the Union. The state would consist of 66 of the 68 square miles of the present-day federal district. The remaining two square miles would comprise the federal district – the “Capital” – and would include the White House, Capitol, Supreme Court, principal federal monuments, and federal buildings adjacent to the National Mall.
Washington, D.C. residents are currently represented by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton in the U.S. House of Representatives who can vote on procedural matters and in congressional committees but is not allowed to vote on legislation on the House Floor. Residents of the District currently have no representation in the U.S. Senate.
The State of Washington, D.C. would elect two senators and one representative to Congress. These members would have the same voting and representational rights as members from every other state in the Union.
Washington, D.C. statehood is an issue of fairness:
- D.C. residents have been petitioning for voting representation in Congress and local self-government for more than 200 years. Most recently, in November 2016, 86 percent of D.C. residents voted for statehood.
- D.C. residents pay more federal taxes than 21 states and more per capita than any state; furthermore, the per capita personal income and gross domestic product is higher in D.C. than in any state.
- D.C.’s budget is larger than 12 states. Its bonds have the highest rating from Moody’s Investors Service – higher than 32 states. And it has a population larger than two states.
Events of the past year demonstrate the need for D.C. statehood:
- In the CARES Act, each state received a minimum of $1.25 billion in fiscal relief. D.C. was treated as a territory and received only $495 million.
- The D.C. mayor was not able to deploy the D.C. National Guard to the Capitol during the January 6, 2021, insurrection, because the President controls the D.C. National Guard.
- President Trump deployed thousands of federal law enforcement officers and National Guard troops in downtown D.C. against area residents engaging in constitutionally protected protests.