(USA Features) Claiming that residents of the nation’s capital do not full representation, the Biden administration announced Tuesday it supports adding Washington, D.C., as the country’s 51st state, saying it is vital to address an “affront to the democratic values.”
In a statement, the White House said the administration “strongly supports” the passage of H.R. 51, The Washington, D.C. Admission Act, which it said would “right this wrong” of “taxation without representation.”
“For far too long, the more than 700,000 people of Washington, D.C. have been deprived of full representation in the U.S. Congress,” the statement said. “This taxation without representation and denial of self-governance is an affront to the democratic values on which our nation was founded. H.R. 51 rights this wrong.”
The Democrat-controlled House is set to vote on the measure Thursday.
Democrats see the initiative as a way to pad their House and Senate majorities with two new Senate seats and one additional House seat in the overwhelmingly blue enclave.
But Republicans counter that the district is already fully represented in presidential races with three Electoral College votes.
For now, under the current Senate filibuster rules, it does not appear that H.R. 51 will pass; there are 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans and 60 would be needed to overcome the filibuster.
Constitutional experts disagree over whether D.C. can become a state. According to the nation’s founding document, a “seat of government” is mandated to be formed from parts of other states which serves as home to the federal government and cannot be a state itself.
“Reasonable people can disagree on the wisdom or fairness of the framers’ plan, but the only way to change it is to amend the Constitution,” Boston Globe columnist and lawyer Jeff Jacoby wrote in June. “That’s exactly what happened in 1961, when the 23rd Amendment was ratified and D.C. residents were granted the right to vote in presidential elections and participate in the Electoral College.”