Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), a nonvoting delegate in Congress, on January 3 introduced one more time a bill to make Washington, D.C. the 51st state. This is Norton’s first bill of the 116th Congress.
The bill attracted 155 original co-sponsors, which is a new record, up from the previous one she set in the 115th Congress that saw 116 co-sponsors, according to a press release issued by Norton’s office.
“We are gratified by the overwhelming support from my Democratic colleagues as we seize this new moment for statehood and press our bill in the 116th Congress with unprecedented momentum,” the congresswoman was quoted as saying in the press release.
D.C. statehood bill was previously introduced by Norton but it didn’t make any progress as Republicans had been controlling the House over the past eight years. With Republicans holding the majority in the Senate and President Donald J. Trump having veto power, the bill is still expected to struggle to pass through.
According to Norton, the bill will help to protect the rights of hundreds of thousands of Americans living in Washington, D.C. who don’t have a congressional representation. “A hearing and markup will provide a prime opportunity to inform and remind Americans that over 700,000 of their fellow citizens who live in the nation’s capital are denied their basic democratic rights,” she said.
Norton also thanked the Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Elijah Cummings (D-MD), for his support of the bill and his commitment to holding a hearing and markup in 2019, the first such House hearing or markup since 1993.
Chairman Cummings said the rights of everyone across the country must be protected, including hundreds of thousands of American citizens living in the capital.
Another year, another D.C. statehood bill. There's a difference this time around, though: it has support from the Speaker of the House. https://t.co/OnhLIG3wFO pic.twitter.com/F1TglErdxA
— DCist (@DCist) January 4, 2019
“Congresswoman Norton has been a strong advocate for her constituents for many years, and now is the time to take action. I plan to schedule a hearing and markup this year in the Oversight Committee on her bill, H.R. 51, and I will work closely with our leadership to move this legislation onto the House floor,” said Cummings.