Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) introduced a bill on Tuesday that would make Washington, D.C., the 51st U.S. state, according to The Independent.
The legislation, S. 51, is called the DC Admissions Act, and, if passed, would make Washington DC a full fledged state.
Many of the more than 700,000 residents of Washington DC have long argued for their statehood, as they pay taxes but do not have representation in the Senate. and only a non-voting Congressperson in the House.
While Democrats traditionally have supported D.C. statehood, particularly given that the district is heavily Democratic, Republicans generally oppose the move for the same reason.
Carper said in a statement: “This isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue; it’s an American issue because the lack of fair representation for D.C. residents is clearly inconsistent with the values on which this country was founded.”
The Independent reported that the bill was first introduced in 2013 but has been tabled ever since.
CBS News noted that Carper’s legislation is a companion bill to a D.C. statehood bill the House passed last year. The outlet also reported that Carper’s bill “has 38 cosponsors in the Senate, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer,” and President Joe Biden said during his campaign that he would support the measure.
However, it is unlikely the bill will go anywhere unless Senate Democrats eliminate the filibuster, which CBS noted is “the procedure that allows senators to block legislation requiring 60 votes to end debate.”
If only a simple majority was required to end debate, this argument goes, then the Senate could approve D.C. statehood with only 51 votes.
However, at least two Democrats — Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema — have expressed opposition to ending the filibuster. There would need to be a simple majority vote to eliminate the filibuster, meaning that all 50 Democratic senators would have to be on board. Manchin in particular has been vocal in his opposition to eliminating the filibuster, a position that was affirmed by a spokesperson in a statement to CBS News.
“Unless all Democrats are willing to eliminate the filibuster, the bid for D.C. statehood is likely to be dead on arrival in the Senate, as it has been for the past several years,” CBS concluded.
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