01.28.21

Baldwin Joins Senate Democrats in Reintroducing Statehood Bill to Ensure Equal Representation for Over 700,000 D.C. Residents

D.C. Statehood legislation, with historic number of original cosponsors, becomes one of the first bills introduced in the U.S. Senate during the 117th Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) joined Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) and a group of Democratic senators in re-introducing legislation to grant Washington, D.C. statehood. The bill, which Senator Carper first introduced in 2013, would make Washington, D.C. the 51st state, finally give its citizens full representation in Congress, and also ensure that the citizens and elected leaders of the District of Columbia have full authority over local affairs, including crucial safety and security matters. The Washington, D.C. Admission Act (S.51) would also designate the areas surrounding the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the National Mall as the seat of the federal government. That area would inherit the name the “Capital” and remain under the control of Congress, as mandated by the Constitution.

“More than 700,000 Americans live in Washington, D.C. and pay their fair share in federal taxes, but do not have full representation in our nation’s government,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m proud to join my colleagues on legislation to make Washington, D.C. the 51st state in the union and finally give D.C. residents the full voting rights and equal representation they deserve.”

In June 2020, federal agents and the U.S. military were deployed against Americans exercising their constitutional right to peacefully protest in the District of Columbia, specifically in Lafayette Square just north of the White House. And on January 6, 2021, when violent rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, it took hours to approve National Guard mobilization. There are 54 units that make up the National Guard: one for each state plus Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia. However, of those 54 units, only the D.C. National Guard doesn’t fall under local control. Instead, the order to mobilize the D.C. National Guard must come from the White House, rather than the head of D.C. government.   

Del. Eleanor Norton Holmes (D-DC) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives with 202 original cosponsors. Last year, the companion bill received a full vote in the House of Representatives and passed by a vote of 232-180. District of Columbia residents have also voted overwhelmingly to petition the federal government to end this unjust situation by granting it statehood. A November 2016 referendum approved a name, constitution, and boundaries for what would become the new state called Washington, Douglass Commonwealth (D.C.).

The bill is also cosponsored by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jackey Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

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