House approves Washington state, but Senate hurdles remain

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Lawmakers on Thursday pointed to the deadly riot on Capitol Hill on January 6, in which the Washington Metropolitan Police Department helped respond to the chaos, as further evidence of the need for a state. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser was unable to summon the National Guard quickly, as a governor might have, and officials acknowledged that the delay in sending troops had contributed to the devastation of the Capitol.

“Creating a state for the District of Columbia is about showing respect for our democracy, for the American people and for our Constitution,” President Nancy Pelosi of California told the House Thursday. “For more than two centuries, the people of Washington, DC have been denied the right to participate fully in our democracy and their democracy.”

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Republicans launched a fierce campaign against the legislation, insisting it was not about equal representation, but about making sure Democrats would get three reliable votes – two in the Senate and one in the House – and strengthen their low margins in both chambers. During an hour of debate, several Republican lawmakers criticized the bill as an unconstitutional affront to the country’s founders when they established the nation’s capital.

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“They never wanted the seat of our government to be a state, and they specifically framed the Constitution to say it,” said Rep. Jody B. Hice, Republican of Georgia. “And yet what the Democrats are really trying to do, which they don’t admit, is gain even more representation by creating a city-state in which they get two more senators.

Other Republicans have pushed for the handover of the nation’s capital in Maryland as a solution to ensuring representation, a suggestion that has been repeatedly rejected by Washingtonians and Marylanders.

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“Instead of moving to a full state – which would conveniently add two new Democrats to the US Senate – we should address the underlying issue, which is representation,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois. , in a press release before the vote.

He said he would be prepared to give Ms. Norton, or her successor, full voting rights in the House. “Let’s respect the institutions of our democracy and have real conversations about fair representation in Congress for the District of Columbia,” he said.