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[Slashdot] - House Democrats Pass DC Statehood Bill

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House Democrats approved a bill to admit Washington, DC, as a state on Friday, marking the first time either chamber of Congress has advanced a DC statehood measure. From a report: The bill, introduced by DC's nonvoting House member, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, would shrink the federal capital to a small area encompassing the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and other federal buildings along the National Mall. The rest of the city would become the 51st state, named the Washington, Douglass Commonwealth after abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The bill passed with a vote of 232-180. Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota was the only Democrat to join Republicans in voting against it. Independent Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan also voted no. The bill would grant DC two senators and make the existing sole House representative a voting member. It is unlikely to gain traction in the Republican-held Senate, however, and the White House said (PDF) this week that President Donald Trump would veto the bill if it came to his desk. Proponents of making DC a state also point to the area's large population, which surpasses the populations of Wyoming and Vermont. As of June 2019, DC had more than 705,000 residents, according to estimates from the US Census Bureau. To become law, the bill's supporters argue it would only have to pass both chambers of Congress with a simple majority and then be signed by the President. They say the legislation's strategy of resizing the capital area would sidestep constitutional questions about making the rest of DC a state. But Republicans who oppose DC statehood maintain that adding the district as a state would require a constitutional amendment.

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