Washington DC : Election of Democrat Speaker Offers Fresh Hope for Statehood
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the District of Columbia in a shadow capacity at the House of Representatives in the United States, has expressed her gratitude to newly elected Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s rousing endorsement of DC statehood. The Democrats are historically unopposed to the notion of DC gaining elected representatives, and recently took hold of the House for the first time since the Obama administration. Ms Eleanor spoke of “righting a historical wrong” by allowing DC to gain statehood, referring to the “District Clause” of the US Constitution enacted in 1783 to keep DC affairs run by Congress instead of local legislative actors. It is unclear however whether Congress has the constitutional capacity to admit DC as a new state and subsequently violate the District Clause.
Following is a press release by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton said she was grateful to her friend Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her strong public statement today in support of Norton’s bill to make the District of Columbia the 51st state, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act (H.R. 51). Norton yesterday introduced H.R. 51 with a record 155 original cosponsors. House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings has committed to holding a hearing and mark up on H.R. 51 this year.
In her statement, Pelosi said, “For too long, the residents of the District of Columbia have served our nation in uniform, paid taxes and contributed to the economic power and success of our country while being denied the full enfranchisement that is their right… H.R. 51, The Washington, D.C. Admission Act, is a critical step in righting this historic wrong.”
“Speaker Pelosi has always been one of the District’s greatest friends and allies in Congress,” Norton said. “Her resounding endorsement of H.R. 51 is the most important step yet in getting a House floor vote on the statehood bill. I look forward to working closely with the Speaker in our new Democratic House majority as we move H.R. 51 through the committee process and seek a House floor vote on it.”