U.S. House passes bill to make Washington, D.C., the 51st state

U.S. House passes bill to make Washington, D.C., the 51st state

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday narrowly voted, for the second time in less than a year, to make the District of Columbia the 51st state, sending it to the Senate where it faces stiff Republican opposition.

By a vote of 216-208, the Democratic-controlled House approved the initiative with no Republican support, Reuters reported.

The population of Washington, D.C., is heavily Democratic. As a state, it likely would elect two Democratic senators, potentially altering the balance of power in the Senate, which now has 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans.

The new state would be named "Washington, Douglass Commonwealth" after George Washington, the first U.S. president, and Frederick Douglass, a former enslaved person who became a famous abolitionist.

The House first passed this bill last June by a vote of 232-180. Republicans, who controlled the Senate then, refused to act on it.

Currently, Washington, D.C., has only one member of Congress - a House "delegate" who is not allowed to vote on legislation. If the city became a state it would maintain its three electoral votes, which are used in the presidential election process. States' electoral votes are based on population.

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