With the full support of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Democrats have pushed forward a bill that would transform the federal District of Columbia into a new state to be admitted into the Union.
But that isn’t going to happen so long as President Donald Trump is in office. According to the Daily Caller, the president just vowed to veto such a move should a bill ever reach his desk.
Democrats push D.C. statehood
First introduced in January of 2019 and known as H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admissions Act was passed on Friday by a vote of 232-180, with not a single Republican supporting it.
The bill was introduced by Del. Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC), the nonvoting representative of the district in Congress, and it would create a small new state out of the District of Columbia that would be renamed Washington, Douglass Commonwealth.
Virtually all of D.C. would be included in the new state, save for federal buildings and a thin zone around the White House, Capitol Building, National Mall, and other federal properties adjacent to those entities. Elections would swiftly be held, and the overwhelmingly liberal new state would send two new senators and one representative to Congress.
Trump pledges veto
The Daily Caller noted that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already expressed his disapproval for D.C. statehood, and even told Fox News host Laura Ingraham in July of 2019 that “as long as I’m the majority leader of the Senate, none of that stuff is going anywhere.”
Indeed, while it has been made clear that the D.C. statehood bill is essentially dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled Senate, President Trump weighed in on the matter to join McConnell in opposition to the idea with a brief Statement of Administration Policy regarding the bill.
That statement noted that the bill was unconstitutional on its face and would be in violation of the 23rd Amendment — which granted D.C. residents the right to vote for president and vice president and granted electors to the Electoral College — not to mention other clauses within the Articles of the Constitution that defined the district’s purpose as a neutral seat of the federal government not contained within any one state, as The Boston Globe explained.
The Founding Fathers made their intentions clear in the Federalist Papers and authorized Congress to have oversight of the district in lieu of a state government.
Given all of that, the statement from the Trump administration concluded: “The constitutional vision of our Framers for our capital was sound. We should not seek to undermine that vision through unconstitutional means like H.R. 51. If H.R. 51 were presented to the President, his advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”
As noted, this move by House Democrats is basically just symbolic, as Pelosi and others know that it has no chance of being passed by the Senate or signed into law by the president. Even if the Senate and President Trump did agree, it would take a constitutional amendment and ratification by the states for the proposal to become law, and prior efforts to achieve that threshold have failed.
Furthermore, while the approximately 700,000 residents of D.C may be in favor of obtaining statehood, a majority of citizens in the rest of the United States oppose the idea, as Politico reported last year. It simply isn’t going to happen — at least, not any time soon.