The Biden administration formally came out in support of a House bill that would make Washington D.C. the nation’s 51st state.
The administration “strongly supports” the legislation, the White House Office of Management and Budget said in a statement, arguing that “for far too long, the more than 700,000 people of Washington D.C. have been deprived of full representation in Congress.”
“This taxation without representation and denial of self-governance is an affront to the democratic values on which our Nation was founded,” the statement continued, stating that the bill “rights this wrong by making Washington, D.C. a state and providing its residents with long overdue full representation in Congress, while maintaining a Federal District that will continue to serve as our Nation’s seat of government.”
The administration called for a “swift and orderly transition to statehood” for the city’s residents.
House set to vote:
The House is set to vote on the bill after the House Oversight Committee advanced the bill down party lines last week. The bill is expected to easily pass the House, as it did before, but is not expected to get very far in the Senate where Democrats would need 60 votes to break a filibuster. Republicans oppose the legislation, arguing that it would give Democrats an advantage in Congress.
“The residents of our nation’s capital deserve voting representation in Congress and full local self-government,” Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C’s nonvoting delegate and the sponsor of the bill, said in a statement after the Biden administration endorsed the legislation.
“With Thursday’s House vote and expected passage, along with Democratic control of the Senate and White House, we have never been closer to statehood,” she said.
Republicans have criticized the bill as a Democratic power grab.
On Tuesday, 22 Republican attorneys general signed a letter threatening to sue if DC becomes a state.
“Its enactment would be antithetical to our representative democratic republic and it would constitute an unprecedented aggrandizement of an elite ruling class with unparalleled power and Federal access compared to the remaining fifty states of the Union,” the letter claimed.