WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJZ) — Senate Democrats introduced a DC statehood bill Wednesday.
In a tweet, Delaware Sen. Tom Carper said he wants to give the nearly 700,000 DC residents a voice.
“For years, I have fought alongside Eleanor Holmes Norton and Mayor Muriel Bowser to make DC Statehood a reality,” Carper tweeted, “to give the over 700,000 DC residents a voice, vote and full representation in Congress.”
— Senator Tom Carper (@SenatorCarper) January 27, 2021
More than three dozen fellow Democrats joined Carper to introduce Senate Bill 51 (SB51) to hopefully end DC’s “taxation without representation” campaign. It’s a companion bill to the statehood bill introduced in the House Tuesday.
While the effort has normally had Democratic support, Republican lawmakers have generally opposed DC Statehood. CBS News reports DC is unlikely to become a state unless Democrats eliminate the legislative filibuster in the Senate.
“This isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue; it’s an American issue because the lack of fair representation for D.C. residents is clearly inconsistent with the values on which this country was founded,” Carper said in a statement. “It is therefore incumbent upon all of us who enjoy the right and the privilege of full voting rights and representation to take up the cause of our fellow citizens in the District of Columbia.”
DC’s population is larger than Vermont or Wyoming. The bill would also cordoned off the White House, U.S Capitol and the National Mall — leaving it under federal control.
The effort gained more attention after the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, when Mayor Bowser couldn’t mobilize the D.C. National Guard quickly. The DC guard is not under local control and can only be authorized for service by the White House.
In a tweet, Bowser thanked Carper: ‘We know that DC Statehood cannot wait.”
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) January 27, 2021