The upcoming hurdles for D.C. statehood
By Meagan Flynn and Teddy Amenabar
With Democrats in control of both chambers of Congress and the White House, advocates of making Washington, D.C., the 51st state believe they are on the brink of a historic opportunity.
Seven months after the House of Representatives passed a D.C. statehood bill for the first time, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) says the unprecedented assault on the U.S. Capitol adds to the urgency of the cause: D.C. residents, she said, risked their lives on Jan. 6 to defend a Congress that affords them no voting representation.
But D.C. statehood still faces a number of high hurdles, not only in the narrowly divided Senate but in public opinion. A 2019 Gallup poll found that nearly two-thirds of Americans opposed D.C. statehood.
Why isn’t D.C. already a state? What does the Constitution say?
Washington, D.C.’s founding is enshrined in the Constitution, which provides that the District — “not exceeding 10 Miles square” — would “become the Seat of the Government of the United States.”For a brief period after the city’s creation in 1790, residents enjoyed voting rights and were allowed to cast ballots as residents of Maryland or Virginia. But those rights ended shortly after Congress moved into town and the new Capitol in 1800 and passed the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801. The act stripped D.C. residents of their rights to vote in all federal elections.