Democratic Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser has joined the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) as she pushes for the District of Columbia to become the 51st state.
Bowser was admitted to the organization about a week after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) indicated his opposition to making the nation’s capital a state, despite a bill that passed the House of Representatives approving such a measure. Manchin’s reticence renders the legislation virtually dead-on-arrival in the Senate.
— Democratic Governors (@DemGovs) May 5, 2021
“Well, look, she’s an executive leader in the District, working on all of the things that Democratic governors are responsible [for], from continuing to save lives, get folks vaccinated in our fight against COVID, but to every other meaningful issue, from voting rights protection, health care reform and access, educational investments for every single one of her constituents and families,” said Democratic New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday, who serves as chairwoman of the DGA.
“And that is exactly what every one of our Democratic governors are doing every day,” Grisham further explained regarding why a mayor had been admitted to an association of governors. “And this partnership is an incredible announcement to really reinforce that’s what we’re dedicated to and that’s what we are about, and we’re delighted to make this announcement today.”
Despite Manchin’s position, Bowser maintained that D.C. statehood was not dead-on-arrival. “Like [Grisham] said, we function as a state in so many ways. We’re treated as a state throughout federal law, and what’s missing is two senators to represent us in the Senate, so we’ll be just like very other taxpaying American.”
Washington, D.C., has been represented in Congress by non-voting Democratic Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton since 1991, who has pushed for D.C. statehood for most of her 30-year tenure.
The Biden administration issued an official endorsement of D.C. statehood titled, “Statement of Administration Policy” on H.R. 51, which said:
The Administration strongly supports H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act. For far too long, the more than 700,000 people of Washington, D.C. have been deprived of full representation in the U.S. Congress. This taxation without representation and denial of self-governance is an affront to the democratic values on which our Nation was founded. H.R. 51 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.
Establishing the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth as the 51st state will make our Union stronger and more just. Washington, D.C. has a robust economy, a rich culture, and a diverse population of Americans from all walks of life who are entitled to full and equal participation in our democracy. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress as H.R. 51 proceeds through the legislative process to ensure that it comports with Congress’ constitutional responsibilities and its constitutional authority to admit new states to the Union by legislation. The Administration calls for the Congress to provide for a swift and orderly transition to statehood for the people of Washington, D.C.
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