The Democrats’ quest to make Washington, DC, the 51st state hit a major roadblock this week in the form of a fellow Democrat.
Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., said he opposed Congress solely in creating the new state, and he believes, as Republicans have argued, that statehood for the nation’s capital should be done through a constitutional amendment.
“If Congress wants to make DC a state, it must propose a constitutional amendment,” Manchin said in an interview with West Virginia MetroNews radio network, according to the Associated Press. “It should propose a constitutional amendment and let the people of America vote.”
HOUSE SUBJECTS DC STATE HOUSE RULES TO MAKE DISTRICT 51
In a 50-50 divided Senate, DC state life already had a hard shot to become a reality, because as long as the legislative filibuster is in place, the proposal would require 60 votes to move forward. Republicans have been outright opposed to elevating the federal district to state status, arguing that it is a constitutional power play by Democrats to add two more liberal senators to the upper house.
Manchin, a moderate member of a red state, has been outspoken in his opposition to removing the legislative filibuster. His side with Republicans on various issues has frustrated liberals who want to use the thin Democratic majority in the House and Senate to pass major priorities like federal legislation on voting rights, police reform, DC state and raise the minimum wage to $ 15.
OFFERED WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALLY SUPPORTS TO MAKE DC THE 51st STATE
The House passed legislation earlier this month to make Washington, DC, the 51st state and give its approximately 700,000 residents full representation in Congress. The strictly party-line vote in the House was 216 to 208, with all Republicans rejecting the state proposal, called HR 51. The legislation has the support of President Biden.
DC’s sole non-voting delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, has argued that the district should be no different from the 37 other states that Congress incorporated into the union without a constitutional amendment. She made a new statement on Friday without mentioning Manchin by name, saying the 23rd Amendment does not need to be repealed before Congress grants citizenship.
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“Those who make such a claim gather a political choice and a constitutional requirement,” Norton said.