The Washington Post reports that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) told reporters in his home state on Friday that he does not support the bill to make D.C. the 51st state, citing audio provided by Manchin’s office as well as a report from WVNews.
From The Post:
Manchin, a key swing vote in the closely divided Senate, said he believes a constitutional amendment, rather than legislation, would be required to admit D.C. as a state. His stance deals a major blow to statehood advocates who were hoping for his support after the bill passed the House last week.
Manchin cited findings from the Justice Department under Presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter and comments from then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in reaching his decision.
“They all came to the same conclusion: If Congress wants to make D.C. a state, it should propose a constitutional amendment. It should propose a constitutional amendment and let the people of America vote,” Manchin said in a radio interview with Hoppy Kercheval of West Virginia’s MetroNews, the full audio of which was provided to The Washington Post by Manchin’s staff.
The newspaper reported that Manchin was one of four Senate Democrats who had not yet revealed their stance on the issue, while the rest of the caucus has supported the notion.
Republicans, on the other hand, remain opposed.
The Washington, D.C. Admission Act passed the House 216 to 208 last week, along strict party lines, for the second time in history. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said that “we will try to work a path to get [statehood] done.”
The bill faces high hurdles in that chamber, with or without Manchin. Because of the Senate filibuster, 60 senators would need to support statehood for the bill to advance — making passage all but impossible as long as the filibuster is in place.
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