WASHINGTON – Today, with Independence Day on the horizon, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, lead a group of 17 senators in introducing legislation that would grant Washington, D.C. full statehood, including full voter representation in Congress for its residents. Joining Sen. Carper as original cosponsors are Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
The New Columbia Admission Act would lay the groundwork for creating the 51st state, called New Columbia, and provide residents with full voting rights in Congress. The bill would designate the areas surrounding the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the National Mall as the seat of the federal government. The area would inherit the name “District of Columbia” and remain under the control of Congress, as mandated by the Constitution. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) introduced companion legislation in the House, H.R. 317, in January.
“The District of Columbia is not just a collection of government offices, monuments and museums. It is home to more than 600,000 people who build lives, families, and careers here. These Americans serve in our military, die defending our country, serve on our juries, and pay federal taxes. Yet, despite their civic contributions, they are not afforded a vote in either chamber of Congress. This situation is simply not fair, and it isn’t consistent with the values we celebrate as a country on July 4th every year. Most importantly, it isn’t consistent with the Golden Rule: to treat others the way we want to be treated,” Sen. Carper said. “This bill, a companion to legislation introduced earlier this year in the House by my colleague Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, would end a longstanding injustice and allow District of Columbia citizens to vote to become the state of New Columbia with full voting rights in Congress. Last Congress, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held the first hearing on D.C. statehood in nearly 20 years and helped reinvigorate a conversation in Congress and across the country about equality and fairness for District residents. It is my hope that this bill will help continue that important dialogue. I look forward to partnering with Rep. Norton and our colleagues in the House and Senate on this important issue.
“As my colleagues and I put forward this legislation on behalf of the citizens of the District of Columbia today, I would like to acknowledge the hard work and advocacy of Rep. Norton, Mayor Bowser and her colleagues in D.C. government, D.C.’s shadow senators Paul Strauss and Michael Brown, and the dozens of citizen advocates for D.C. statehood who have worked so hard to build support for this important and just cause.”