District of Columbia to Finally Become the Newest State — and Its New Name Would Be…?

Most of the District of Columbia — which includes the city of Washington — is poised to become the newest state in the United States, as proposed by a record number of co-sponsors in both the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States.

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.

District of Columbia to Finally Become the Newest State — and Its New Name Would Be…?

Washington Monument

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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 addition to a minimum of 38 members of the Senate, at least 223 cosponsors of this bill in the House of Representatives are also in support of statehood for the District of Columbia.

Lincoln Memorial Washington

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

“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 Washington, D.C. Admission Act, which is also known as House of Representatives bill number 51 or H.R. 51. “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.”

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 2016 to Statehood For the District of Columbia

Lincoln Memorial Washington

Photograph ©2010 by Brian Cohen.

“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 Gateopined 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.”

Summary

Cherry Blossoms Washington

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

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.

20 thoughts on “District of Columbia to Finally Become the Newest State — and Its New Name Would Be…?”

  1. Carl WV says:

    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.

    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.

  2. Chris says:

    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 Mississipi and Southern Mississipi? There’s no end to this madness

    1. derek says:

      Carving out an area consisting of the Mall, Capitol, and White House will create a new problem. There will be homeless in that area and possibly a few people living in offices or above stores. They will not have a representative or Senators either. Of course, they could become the 52nd state, DC2. 53 could be Puerto Rico. 54 could be Guam, which is slightly Democrat. 55 could be American Samoa, which is Democrat. 56 could be Americans abroad. 57 could be USVI.

      President Obama once made a goof and mentioned 57 states. Here is a chance to correct history!

    2. Carl WV says:

      Don’t forget DC used to be a 10 mile by 10 mile square. The southern half, had been given by Virginia, The southern portion, now Alexandria Virginia, wanted to go back to being part of Virginia, and was allowed to do so. So DC going back to MD would just be the second shoe dropping.

  3. Sajer Guy says:

    No need to create a new state. In 1847 the portions that Virginia originally ceded were returned to it. The same process would work to return other portions of DC to Maryland, leaving a small federal entity. I’m confident both side could agree to enfranchise DC residents in this fashion.

  4. derek says:

    There’s been a long history of bipartisanship in the admissions of states. The last time was Alaska and Hawaii.

    When that happened, politicians got it completely wrong. Democrats were worried that Hawaii would become a reliably Republican state and did elect Hiram Fong as a Senator, member of the Republican Party. Since then, Hawaii has become completely Democratic.

    In contrast, the Republicans were not enthusiastic about Alaska because they feared it would become a permanent Democratic Party stronghold. They, like the Democrats, turned out to be wrong.

    There are a large segment of Puerto Ricans they self identify as solely as Puerto Ricans and not as Americans. If so, Puerto Rico may not be a good candidate for a state.

    Both parties should agree on which two states to admit. Would it be Guam or American Samoa in addition to the District of Columbia?

    There is no good reason to change the name of the state from District of Columbia. A state doesn’t have to be called a state. For example, Massachusetts is called the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I believe.

    If there is not a second state to admit, there should be consideration that DC residents would become Maryland residents residing in the District of Columbia.

    The Democrats should also consider a 53rd state being Americans living abroad. They would have their own representative and two Senators. Americans living abroad tend to be Democrats.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Massachusetts is indeed one of four states in the United States which are commonwealths, derek.

      Can you guess what are the other three states which are also known as commonwealths?

      1. NB_ga says:

        Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania

        1. Brian Cohen says:

          You are correct, NB_ga!

          I would offer you a prize — but then, you would have to share the common wealth…

      2. Carl WV says:

        I knew Virginia and Pennsylvania. I googled for the 4th and would never have guessed it (and won’t say it).

  5. HADLEY V. BAXENDALE says:

    Admittedly, I did not read your entire article but DC, nor Puerto Rico are becoming states any time soon … if ever.

    Although there may be a record number of Senators and Congressmen/women who have signed any number of petitions, etc., the Senate filibuster is still in full effect, and therefore, any piece of legislation granting statehood will not make it our of the Senate as likely all Republicans and perhaps some Democrat senators will not be able to overcome the requirement that 60 Senators need to be in favor.

    Manchin and Synema will not vote to kend the filibuster, thus this sort of speculation will lead nowhere.

  6. Ghostrider5408 says:

    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.

  7. Miles says:

    That would be a teeny, tiny state, and I agree that Maryland and Virginia should be offered back that land.

    That said, I sincerely doubt the current Congress and President are interested in admitting Jefferson to the union, even though they’ve been trying for several decades. If there’s reason to believe otherwise, I’d be curious to hear

  8. J. Miller says:

    Pardon me but you assume too much.
    It will not become a State…never.
    Ten Republicans would have to cross the aisle to pass it…Not gonna happen.

    Your article makes it sound like a done deal….further from truth.
    But then again…we have become used to false misleading headlines for the past 4+ years. Sad to see you in the class with CNN etc.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      The entire headline is in the form of a question and not meant to be misleading, J. Miller — although I can see how you interpreted it differently.

      Your point could have come across clearly without the last two sentences of your comment, which were completely unnecessary.

  9. Pedro says:

    Statehood and legislation are two different parts of the senate and it would be entirely possible to remove the filibuster for the admission of a state while preserving it for legislation. This should not be viewed through a partisan lens of Senate seats, but rather about the fair representation of 700,000 US citizens. Grant DC statehood and give PR the option as well.

    1. HADLEY V. BAXENDALE says:

      You are wrong, Pedro, what you propose IS legislation, and thus it will not pass the filibuster rule that will remain in effect.

      The only quasi-legislation that is not subject to the filibuster is a budget for the USA, that currently is being crafted as we speak – with, or without Republican votes — as was done by Trump and Obama before.

      Moreover, this exception is limited to once per year, but since there was no 2020 budget, the current draft could be allocated to that, and a later one for 2021. However, if policy pronouncements intrude — such as a $15 minimum wage – that likely is beyond the scope of the reconciliation and doubtless would trigger a court’s review.

  10. DaninMCI says:

    Bidenland?
    Seriously DC is DC for a reason. They have a non-voting rep in congress but the purpose is to keep this area separate from the states. I find it funny that a district like this is taxed so highly yet fail to see that government expansion isn’t the answer. Most of the people pushing for this just see it as political gain, nothing more. I also find it funny that Liberals are pushing for places like Puerto Rico to become US states yet slam the United States for being colonialist and pushing white supremacy on native peoples. I guess that is OK as long as they vote a certain way or we can find a way to further enslave those native folks to a party via entitlement programs. OK now, back to travel blog stuff 🙂

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Actually, my interest in this article was not of a political nature, DaninMCI. It was much simpler than that.

      I have been to all 50 states; so new statehood of any type would give me the opportunity to visit a new state…

  11. M. Ho says:

    Misleading clickbait headline. Not going to happen for the reasons J Miller mentions above. The fake news on this DC statehood stuff is spreading faster and wider than Kamala Harris’ legs.

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