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House to vote on historic D.C. statehood bill next week

Washington: 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 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.”

The District has long been predominantly black, although the demographics have shifted significantly in recent years due to rapid gentrification and white residents moving into the city.

The House will vote on the legislation June 26, and pass it. But it is expected to go nowhere in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has expressed staunch opposition to D.C. statehood and even compared it to “full bore socialism” in an interview last year.

President Donald Trump has also dismissed the idea, saying Republicans would be “very, very stupid” to grant D.C. statehood because of the District’s overwhelmingly Democratic leanings.

 

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