The US House of Representatives is slated to hold a vote on DC statehood on June 26, it was announced on Tuesday.
The announcement came from Majority Leader Steny Hoyer during a news conference that was also attended by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
In an op-ed she wrote on the District’s statehood for the Washington Post on Sunday, Mayor Bowser said:
“Most Americans know that Washington is the seat of the federal government. What many people may not realize is that we are also home to more than 705,000 taxpaying Americans. Or that we are unique in the US political system. I function as a governor, county executive and mayor. For the purposes of thousands of federal laws, we act as a state, and we do it well, overseeing a $16 billion budget and paying more in federal taxes than we get back. In fact, we pay more than 22 states, and our residents pay more to the federal government per capita than any other state.
“But without full voting representation in Congress, our local autonomy, which we achieved through limited Home Rule in 1973, is regularly trampled on and threatened by representatives visiting our city from states across the nation. We see this meddling in our local affairs through legislative riders that prevent us from using federal funds to pay for reproductive health care or from setting up a system to tax and regulate the sale of recreational cannabis.”
Bowser added that the reason DC has been denied vote in Congress for decades was racist accusations about its residents not being able to govern themselves.
In the op-ed titled “Muriel Bowser: The protests show why D.C. statehood matters,” the mayor criticized officials’ harsh response to quell the George Floyd demonstrations with low flying federal helicopters and soldiers.
“Like a scene from a dystopian movie, Americans saw images of soldiers in camouflage arrayed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Units of federal law enforcement officers lacking any identifying insignia roamed downtown. This blatant degradation of our home right before my own eyes offered another reminder — a particularly powerful one — of why we need statehood for the District. Another reminder that the fight for statehood cannot be separated from the fight for racial justice.”
The bill that is likely to be approved in the House may not pass the Republican-led Senate.
Last month, President Donald Trump said in an interview with the New York Post that DC would never gain statehood because it would mean more Democratic lawmakers in Congress, and Republicans wouldn’t allow it.
“You mean District of Columbia, a state? Why? So we can have two more Democratic — Democrat senators and five more congressmen? No, thank you. That’ll never happen,” Trump said while speaking in the Oval Office.