WASHINGTON, D.C. (WLNS) – The U.S. House is set to vote Thursday on a bill that would allow the District of Columbia to become a state.
The question of D.C. statehood has been debated for more than a century. Right now, Congress has direct control over the district, but D.C. has no voting representation in Congress. It has only a single representative in the House of Representatives, who can introduce legislation, participate in debates, and sit on committees, but cannot vote on bills.
The district also has a “shadow representative” in the House and a “shadow senator” in the Senate, but they are not recognized by the federal government as actual members of Congress.
Therefore, while Washington, D.C. is subject to all federal taxes and regulations, it has no say in the federal government, leading to the city’s unofficial motto of “Taxation Without Representation.” Supporters say D.C. statehood would extend the rights and representation enjoyed by most Americans to the citizens of the district. They also point out that D.C. has more residents than either Vermont or Wyoming.
Opponents argue that the district is too small to be a proper state, and argue that if the residents want the benefits of statehood, they should endeavor to become part of Maryland.
Republicans also argue that D.C. statehood would solely benefit Democrats. While D.C. would likely get a single voting member in the U.S. House, it would get two senators just like any other state, and the district historically favors Democrats.