House committee approves bill that would make Washington, D.C. the 51st state

Posted at 4:52 AM, Feb 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-12 04:52:22-05

CBS News reported that a key House committee approved a bill to make the nation's capital the 51st state, sending it to the House floor for full approval. This is the first time since 1993 that a bill to make Washington, D.C., a state has been considered and approved in a committee.

The House Oversight Committee passed the bill over the objections of the Republican minority, which introduced amendments to impose restrictions on abortion and gun control on the proposed state, states CBS News. The bill has 220 co-sponsors, giving it the momentum to pass the majority-Democratic House.

"For such a historic achievement for the District of Columbia, the only message I can convey is gratitude," said Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, the non-voting representative who represents the district.

The bill would create a new state known as Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, in honor of the abolitionist Frederick Douglass who was born in neighboring Maryland. The new state would receive two senators and one House member.

CBS News also reported that Washington, D.C., is the country's twentieth-largest city. With over 700,000 residents, it has more people than two states, Wyoming and Vermont, and not much fewer than Alaska and North Dakota. Citizens of D.C. pay taxes and serve in the military. However, they do not have full representation in Congress.