Despite the uphill battle for District of Columbia statehood, Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., has reintroduced a statehood bill noting that the District’s unique political status is contrary to the American values celebrated on Independence Day. “These Americans serve in our military, die defending our country, serve on our juries, and pay federal taxes,” Carper said of District residents in a statement. “Yet, despite their civic contributions, they are not afforded a vote in either chamber of Congress. This situation is simply not fair, and it isn’t consistent with the values we celebrate as a country on July 4th every year.”
Carper’s introduction of the bill on June 25 garnered praise from Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser and statehood activists. All of the co-sponsors for the Senate and the companion House bill are Democrats, but supporters touted a record number of 17 original co-sponsors for the Senate bill, including all of the top Democratic leaders in the Senate.
But that number is down from 21 co-sponsors for the same bill in the 113th Congress, due to the retirements of three senior legislators. The 113th Congress saw the first hearing on statehood in two decades, but the bill faces dim prospects now that Republicans control both chambers.
That challenge was confronted the evening of June 25 at a panel discussion on statehood and voting rights at the National Archives, just a few hours after Carper introduced the Senate bill. Norton joined former Reps. James P. Moran, D-Va., and Jim Walsh, R-N.Y., and former D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams at the event, where they all acknowledged the unlikelihood that D.C. will become the 51st state anytime soon.
Full Article: DC Statehood Bill a ‘Take That’ to Republicans.