House Approves 'Historic' Legislation Granting Statehood to Washington, D.C.

Some Democrat lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, wore pro-statehood facemasks with "51" embroidered on them on the House floor Friday to show their support for D.C.'s call for state recognition. "Statehood for the District is about showing respect for our democracy," Pelosi said, according to local NBC 4 Washington.

Republican lawmakers argued the country's founders had not intended for D.C., the nation's capital to become a state. “The Founding Fathers never intended for D.C. to become a state, and carefully crafted the Constitution so that the seat of the federal government would NOT be within a state," Rep. Dan Meuser, a Republican from Pennsylvania, said Friday.

Meuser also argued that the roughly two-hour debate over D.C.'s statehood on Friday equated to Congress "wasting time" amid the coronavirus pandemic and widespread calls for police reform given that the bill had virtually no Republican support in the Senate or from the White House.

“Our country faces unprecedented crises that demand immediate action from Congress," the Pennsylvania Republican argued. "Instead of working towards solutions on pressing issues like calming the unrest in our communities and safely reopening our economy, House Democrats are focusing their efforts on granting statehood to Washington, D.C. Without support in the Senate or from the White House, this is another political messaging bill from Speaker Pelosi that will go nowhere."

But despite the fact the bill likely won't progress through other arms of Congress, advocates took to Twitter to celebrate what proponents see as a "historic" show of support for D.C.'s journey to becoming the 51st state.

"With this historic vote, DC is closer than we have ever been to becoming the 51st state," Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser wrote in a lengthy thread celebrating the House vote.

"As Washingtonians and as taxpaying American citizens, we are demanding what is owed to us – the rights guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution," Mayor Bowser continued, adding, "I was born without representation, but I swear – I will not die without representation. Together, we will achieve DC statehood, and when we do, we will look back on this day and remember all who stood with us on the right side of history."

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