District of Columbia One Step Closer to Statehood April 2021 — and Its New Name Would Be…?
Most of the District of Columbia — which includes the city of Washington — is one step closer to become the newest state in the United States, as voted by 216 members of the House of Representatives of the United States on Thursday, April 22, 2021; while 208 members voted in opposition of the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, which is also known as House of Representatives bill number 51 or H.R. 51.
Its one major obstacle is that — due to a filibuster — a minimum of 60 members of the Senate of the United States must vote in support of the bill, which is considered to be possible but unlikely to happen, as a minimum of 38 members of the Senate expressed support back in February of 2021. Should the bill pass in the Senate, Joseph Biden — who is the current president of the United States — would likely sign the bill into law, as he has publicly expressed support in favor of statehood for the District of Columbia.
District of Columbia One Step Closer to Statehood April 2021 — and Its New Name Would Be…?
What is unique about the District of Columbia is that it is the only place where you can be in the continental United States and yet not be located in any of the 50 states.
If you take a look at the official license plate of the city of Washington, you will see the line Taxation Without Representation at the bottom. This is because residents pay taxes to the federal government of the United States despite not having anyone in the House of Representatives to — well — represent them.
Additionally, proponents for granting statehood to the District of Columbia have argued that a swifter response to the mob which swarmed the Capitol building in the District of Columbia on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 may have been the result, as governors of states have the power to mobilize their National Guard units — but mayors of cities apparently do not have the authority to do so. “And on January 6, 2021, when violent rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, it took hours to approve National Guard mobilization”, according to this official press release from Tom Carper, who represents Delaware as a member of the Senate of the United States and first introduced the bill for statehood back in 2013. “There are 54 units that make up the National Guard: one for each state plus Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia. However, of those 54 units, only the D.C. National Guard doesn’t fall under local control. Instead, the order to mobilize the D.C. National Guard must to come from the White House, rather than the head of D.C. government.”
“In November of 2016, District residents voted overwhelmingly, with more than 85 percent of residents in favor, to become the 51st state”, according to this official press release from Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the District of Columbia as a member of the House of Representatives and introduced the bill. “For 219 years, Washingtonians have lived in the nation’s capital — yet we are not equal. We pay the highest federal taxes per capita of any jurisdiction in the country and our residents have served in all our country’s wars. But right now, the District of Columbia does not have full representation in the Senate or House, or the ability to govern ourselves without congressional interference. That is wrong and it needs to change.”
In response to the passage of the bill in the House of Representatives of the United States last week, “For only the second time in history, the House passed the D.C. statehood bill. With Democrats in control of the Senate and White House, and with 54% of Americans supporting the bill, we have never been in a better position to achieve D.C. statehood”, according to this official press release from Norton.
Should the District of Columbia become state number 51, that would mean representation for approximately 700,000 residents, who would enjoy full voting rights and full self-government — not to mention the first time in almost 63 years that a new state was added to the United States, which means that the design of the flag would have to be changed…
…and it would also mean that the name District of Columbia would have to be changed as well. The proposed new name would be Washington Douglass Commonwealth in honor of Frederick Douglass, who escaped from slavery in Maryland and became a leader in the abolitionist movement, which sought to end the practice of slavery — before and during the Civil War of the United States — and is considered to be one of the pioneers in the civil rights movement.
At one time, the name which would have been chosen for the current District of Columbia was New Columbia — which was approved by voters back in 1982 during a referendum which was part of an earlier campaign for statehood — but the name Columbia was in honor of Christopher Columbus, who has been associated with the decimation of people who were native to the North American continent.
Other names have been considered — such as Anacostia and Potomac and Douglass Commonwealth.
Reaction From February of 2021 to Statehood For the District of Columbia
“I usually avoid the politics, but it really seems to me things are leading to us basically being a one party system, for all practical purposes (at least at the levels of Congress, the POTUS, and the Supreme court). I see the addition of a Democrat state, the increase in the number of Supreme court members to change the leaning, a good number of attempts of GOP censures, no filibusters, a record number of Presidential proclamations of major issues, etc. I guess we’ll see”, according to this comment which was posted by Carl WV — who is a reader of The Gate — in response to this article pertaining to the possible statehood of the District of Columbia on Monday, February 1, 2021. “I lived just outside DC for about 50 years and knew more than a a few members of Congress . I have found I prefer one party not controlling all branches, and more gridlock. Parties are only really concerned with bipartisanship when they have to be. Checks and balances are a good thing. You know what they say about absolute power.”
Ghostrider5408 agreed with Carl WV: “CarlWV is correct I grew up in nearby Arlington attended school in DC and was heavily involved in politics for many years before leaving the “swamp” and that word correctly describes DC, it was a swamp. Our forefathers created the District of Columbia as an to house the Federal Government and all its support agencies. Residents do pay taxes however I submit the over whelming reason for the amount is the absolute mismanagement of the DC Government over the years no need to go there any further. Walter Washington was the last congressionally appointed real mayor of the city. Rep Water Fauntroy was the first duly elected representative whom my family supported then it all begun to go downhill. Just think what .gov’s rent will be on all the Federal buildings? They’re bill for services for support? Does then the new state has jurisdiction over the Fed’s? Puerto Rico needs to be turned loose another failed experiment which began when Congress granted them the exclusive free trade/tax on pharmaceutical’s companies locating there, that got lost in the fraud and mismanagement as well. The residents don’t want that because then they would have to pay for everything look at how much PR costs the US Taxpayer every year. Let’s grant American Samoa and Guam statehood while we are at it. Folks meet your new masters.”
Chris — who is also a reader of The Gate — opined that “DC was part of Maryland and should return to Maryland. To avoid the reasons for which DC became a stateless entity, the area around the Capital and the White house should become the new stateless DC. But the only reason Democrats want another state in DC is because they know it will be another two democratic senators. I suppose maybe we can split some Republican state in two and have another two Republican senators too? Like Northern Mississippi and Southern Mississippi? There’s no end to this madness”
Reaction From 2016 to Statehood For the District of Columbia
“One of the keys to the greatness of our country is that the capital of the nation is not a part of any state”, according to this comment which was posted by VG — who is a reader of The Gate — in response to this article pertaining to the possible statehood of the District of Columbia on Tuesday, July 5, 2016. “Voters in DC should be treated in a fashion similar to members of the armed forces serving overseas and have a home state where they can vote in federal elections.”
AR disagreed with that statement by VG. “Please explain how disenfranchising almost 700,000 people is one of the keys to the greatness of our country. I was born and live in DC, why should I vote for someone who represents another jurisdiction that does not share our interests? The current system was fine while DC was little more than a collection of government buildings. Today it’s a thriving metropolis with a bigger economy and population than several states. The area surrounding the Mall should remain a federal enclave, but the rest of DC should be a state. Either that, or exempt residents from paying federal taxes, like those in other US territories.”
Don — who is also a reader of The Gate — opined that “The residents of DC get a huge taxpayer funded freebie by having a massive bureaucracy located in their district generating billions of dollars of economy activity. I would trade my representatives for that any day.”
Rick explained that “People have a misconception that because they pay $50K a year in federal taxes they’re entitled to special rights and the government owes them something. Guess what? You’re not even covering your own costs and the fact of the matter is that the majority of us are freeloading off those who do pay the lion’s share of federal taxes. Besides, the only reason DC residents have taxes to pay if because the rest of us pay their salaries or fund their consulting contracts or defense contracts or nonprofit or whatever.”
There apparently has been a race as to which region, district or territory will become the next state of the United States first — the District of Columbia; the proposed state of Jefferson; the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, where 61 percent of its citizens voted in a referendum in support of the financially-strapped island to become a state in 2012; or Cascadia, as inferred by Alvin, who is a reader of The Gate…
…and those are only four of a number of possible candidates for statehood.
If the bill is passed, most of the District of Columbia would become a state — with a few exceptions: “The Washington, D.C. Admission Act (S.51) would also designate the areas surrounding the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the National Mall as the seat of the federal government”, according to the aforementioned press release from Tom Carper. “That area would inherit the name the ‘Capital’ and remain under the control of Congress, as mandated by the Constitution.”
All photographs ©2010, ©2015, and ©2016 by Brian Cohen.