WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ The U.S. House voted Friday to make Washington, D.C. the country’s 51st state.
But while the legislation has been approved by the House, it isn’t expected to make it past the U.S. Senate.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, said he knows firsthand the plight of the people in the nation’s capital.
“This just isn’t working out anymore for the people of Washington,” Raskin said. “In America, states make their own local policy and budget decisions without constant tampering and interference by other people’s representatives.”
Raskin said the people of Washington, D.C. don’t have those same rights.
“The only question now is whether Congress is mature enough, man enough, to deal with the fact that Washington no longer wants to be under our thumb,” Raskin said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said the district’s 700,000 residents deserve full participation in the country’s democracy.
“Paying taxes, serving in the military and contributing to the economic power of our nation while being denied the full enfranchisement that is their right,” Pelosi said.
The legislation would also change the meaning of D.C., from District of Columbia to Douglass Commonwealth in honor of Frederick Douglass.
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said it’s time to right what she considers “a historic wrong.”
“I swear, I will not die here without a vote,” Bowser said.
Republicans are against the bill, calling it a “power-grab” by the Democrats.
“It means if you’re surrounded by a state, and the Capitol is part of that state…then pressure can be brought to bear that would be so unfair to this country,” Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said.
Even though he’s primarily against the bill, Gohmert said there may be common ground.
“It is wrong to make people, the residents of the District of Columbia, pay income tax,” he said.
President Donald Trump is also against the bill and said if it did make its way through the Senate and to his desk, he would veto it.