Op-Ed ● Voting Rights
For Immediate Release: 
June 17, 2020
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
Yesterday, House Democrats announced that on Friday, June 26, the House will vote on H.R. 51 to designate the District of Columbia as a state and grant full representation to the over 700,000 Americans who live in the District. Here’s a look at what’s been said in the news:

Washington Post: Hoyer sets June 26 date for historic House vote on D.C. statehood bill
“House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) has chosen June 26 to hold the first floor vote in a generation on D.C. statehood, hoping to harness a national reckoning on race and capitalize on widespread outrage over the federal response to street protests in the nation’s capital. Officials expect legislation making the District the 51st state to pass the House of Representatives with an overwhelming majority of Democrats, which would be a watershed moment for pro-statehood activists and the first time in U.S. history that either chamber of Congress has advanced a statehood bill…The statehood bill, introduced by Norton, would shrink the seat of the federal government to a two-square-mile enclave, encompassing the White House, Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court and other federal buildings. The rest of the District would become known as the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth.” [June 16, 2020]
DCist: U.S. House Of Representatives Schedules D.C. Statehood Vote For June 26
 “The U.S. House of Representatives has scheduled its historic vote on D.C. statehood for June 26, House Democrats announced on Tuesday. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced the date at a press conference with D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mayor Muriel Bowser, and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson... ‘Right now, America’s the only country that doesn’t allow its citizens to have a voting member of the parliament, in our case we call it the Congress,’ Hoyer tells DCist in an interview. ‘And I thought that was contrary to our democratic principles.’” [June 16, 2020]
The New York Times: After Federal Crackdown on Protests, House Will Vote on Making D.C. a State
Democrats announced on Tuesday that the House would vote this month on statehood for the District of Columbia, capitalizing on anger over the Trump administration’s handling of racial justice protests in the nation’s capital to set the first vote on the issue in more than a quarter-century. The movement to transform the nation’s capital into the 51st state has been galvanized in recent months by the new Democratic majority in the House, where more than 200 Democrats have signed on to the statehood legislation, now scheduled for a June 26 vote…The legislation is expected to pass the Democratic-led House, which would mark the first time any chamber of Congress had given approval to D.C. statehood legislation.”[June, 16. 2020]
The Associated Press: Washington DC Faces House Vote to Become the 51st State
“Democrats controlling the House have slated a vote next week to make the District of Columbia the 51st state, an issue that they say has become far more important in the aftermath of protests for racial justice in both Washington and across the nation… The much-criticized administration move to use federal forces to clear Lafayette Square near the White House of peaceful protesters to enable President Donald Trump to trumpet his law and order credentials in a photo op two weeks ago prompted Democratic leaders to schedule the vote. A plurality of the District of Columbia is African American and the city is overwhelmingly Democratic. Trump said last month that ‘D.C. will never be a state’ because it would likely mean two more Democratic senators. ‘No, thank you. That’ll never happen,’ he told the New York Post. But Hoyer said the rights of D.C. residents should transcend political calculations. ‘This is not about politics. If it is, then we demean our democracy,’ he said. ‘This is about who we are as a country.’” [June 16, 2020]
The Hill: House Democrats to vote next week on DC statehood
“House Democratic leaders are racing ahead with legislation to grant statehood to Washington, D.C., scheduling a June 26 vote on the historic — and highly controversial — bill, which will arrive amid the heightened calls for black empowerment that have followed the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota… In February, the House Oversight and Reform Committee had approved the proposal, marking the first time a D.C. statehood bill had won committee passage since 1993. Democratic leaders are now seeking to tap into the undercurrent of national unrest that's followed the death of Floyd — an unarmed African American man killed last month at the hands of Minneapolis police — to move the bill through the full House and pressure Senate Republicans to take it up. The absence of voting power has long been an issue of contention for the residents of Washington, where the population outweighs that of several states but the one congressional representative lacks the authority to vote on the floor. ‘What kind of a concept is that, that if I move to my nation's capital I will be less of a citizen in America?’ House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) asked Tuesday during a press briefing in the Capitol. The Democrats' proposal, sponsored by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), would undo that disparity, making D.C. the 51st state in the union and empowering its nearly 700,000 residents with one vote in the House and two in the Senate.” [June 16, 2020]
Politico: House to vote on historic D.C. statehood bill next week
“The House is poised to pass a D.C. statehood bill next week — the first time in U.S. history either chamber will approve legislation granting the District full representation and voting rights in Congress. In announcing the historic vote Tuesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer cheered the move as a victory for black residents in particular, as the nation undergoes a racial justice reckoning following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police on May 25. ‘This is not just an issue of local governance and fairness, it is a major civil rights issue as well,’ Hoyer (D-Md.) said. ‘This was an appropriate time to bring a bill forward to show respect for the citizens of the District of Columbia of whatever color, but also to show respect to a city that has a very large African American population.’”
“Eleanor Holmes Norton currently represents the District as a nonvoting delegate. But if it were granted statehood, its citizens would be represented by two senators and one representative in the House, not five as Trump incorrectly speculated. ‘For the first time, statehood will put an end to our oldest slogan — ‘taxation without representation,'’ Holmes Norton said Tuesday, noting the city's residents pay the highest federal taxes per capita and yet don’t have voting representatives in Congress. ‘Statehood ensures that living in the nation’s capital is about pride, not prejudice,’ she added.” [June 16, 2020]
 Click here to read the PDF. 

Follow Leader Hoyer on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.