House Dems Pass Unpopular D.C. Statehood Bill

Only 29 percent of Americans support D.C. becoming a state

Pro-D.C. statehood protesters / Getty Images

Cole Carnick • April 22, 2021 4:20 pm

House Democrats on Thursday passed a widely unpopular bill that would make Washington, D.C., the nation’s 51st state.

The House passed the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, which would allow the deep-blue city to elect two senators and a representative to Congress, on a party-line vote.

While Democrats have championed D.C. statehood in recent years, including in their 2020 platform, the move remains unpopular with American voters. Only 29 percent of Americans support D.C. statehood, according to a March Rasmussen poll, while 55 percent oppose it.

The bill’s unpopularity may pose problems for Democrats in the Senate, where they need 10 Republicans to support the legislation to overcome a filibuster. D.C. statehood is one of several progressive causes, including court-packing, that have led Democrats to call for eliminating the Senate’s filibuster. House majority leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) said Wednesday that the filibuster should be “jettisoned” because “it is not a democratic principle that a minority can … stop the majority.” Some Senate Democrats, including Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), have said they oppose efforts to eliminate it, however.

Democrats have promoted D.C. statehood among a series of voter reforms, including felon enfranchisement, that critics say would provide them with significant advantages in future elections. During the floor debate Thursday, House Republicans slammed the bill, with Rep. James Comer (Ky.) saying it is “about Democrats consolidating their power in Washington.”