It is time for Washington to become the 51e State in the u.s. to repair “an affront to democracy”, said Thursday the democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on the eve of a historic vote in Congress.
The House of representatives will vote Friday on a bill that aims to give the State status to the federal capital under the name of “Washington Douglass Commonwealth”, in reference to the first president of the United States, George Washington, and the famous abolitionist, black Frederick Douglass.
“For more than two centuries, the inhabitants of Washington have been denied the right to participate fully in democracy,” said Ms. Pelosi in a press conference. “We are going to correct this grave injustice”, she added.
During the creation of the United States, the founding fathers had wished to establish the seat of the federal government outside of the first 13 States to avoid conflicts. The Constitution has therefore provided for the creation of a “district” which is directly attached to the central power.
Because of this unique status, the residents of “Washington DC” or “District of Columbia” shall not have elected to Congress, they elect just one representative in the House with an observer status.
However, they are 706 000, more than residents of the States of Wyoming and Vermont, which elect, each, two senators and a representative.
“They are totally Americans, they pay taxes, enlist in the army, educate families, create businesses”, emphasized the mayor of Washington, dc, Muriel Bowser, requesting the end to “a historic injustice”.
To denounce this treatment, the registration plates of the city displayed for years the reference to “taxation without representation” (taxes without elected officials).
The act, which will be submitted to a vote Friday, provides for the granting to the new State two senators and a representative. She has great chances to be adopted in the lower house, where democrats are in the majority, but should be blocked in the upper house, controlled by republicans.
The federal capital is indeed a city of the left, who vote overwhelmingly democrat, and his constituents would be likely to shift the majority, especially in the Senate.
“Washington DC will never be a State” because the republicans are not “stupid”, said the president Donald Trump during an interview to the newspaper New York Post in may, admitted the issue is purely political in the folder.
In the past, there have already been attempts to reform the status of the capital. A constitutional amendment, in 1977, had planned to give elected representatives in Congress to its inhabitants. Despite its adoption, it has never been ratified. The latest legislative proposal to make it a State dates back to 1993. She had failed.