A 51st state could be created in America. The House of Representatives voted on Thursday to pass a bill – H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act – that would grant statehood to Washington, DC but is unclear if the same thing will happen in Senate. With HR 51, Congress is taking a significant step to enfranchise the people of DC and empower them to participate fully in our democracy,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of the legislation on Wednesday. “Again, we’re excited that we will pass it. We will celebrate, and we hope that momentum will help it pass in the Senate so that the President can sign it into law,” the California Democrat said. Throughout the hearing, Democrats made clear that they see granting statehood to DC as a civil rights and representation issue. The district has a population of more than 700,000 people, larger than the population of Wyoming or Vermont. But while those two states each have two senators and a representative in the House, D.C. has no voting representation in Congress.
Statehood advocates also point out that D.C. pays more in federal taxes than 21 states and more per capita than any state. If admitted, the proposed legislation would give D.C. two U.S. senators and a voting representative in the House, like every other state. The House approved a similar D.C. statehood measure by a vote of 232 to 180 last year, but it did not get a vote in the Senate. This time, the bill needs support of 10 Republicans in Senate. Some Republicans have suggested retroceding the district into Maryland as a compromise.