Critics Call DC Statehood Bill a 'Power Grab' following House Approval

Milton Quintanilla | Contributor for | Friday, April 23, 2021
Washington DC, House passes bill seeking to make DC the 51st state

Critics Call DC Statehood Bill a 'Power Grab' following House Approval

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill seeking to make Washington D.C. the 51st U.S. state.

According to The Christian Post, the Democrat-controlled House passed The "Washington, D.C. Admission Act" (H.R. 51) in a vote of 216-208 along party lines.

Last year, the House passed a D.C. statehood bill, but it was never brought up in a vote in the Republican-led Senate.

Should the recent bill be enacted, the District of Columbia would become the 51st State in the Union. Critics of the move call it a "power grab" as it would add two Democratic senators to the Senate and a Democratic Congresswoman to the House, giving Democrats complete control of the legislature.

Making the case for the D.C. statehood bill on the House floor Thursday was Eleanor Holmes Norton, the non-voting delegate representing the District of Columbia in Congress.

"This country was founded on the principles of no taxation without representation and consent of the governed, but D.C. residents are taxed without representation and cannot consent to the laws under which they, as American citizens, must live," Norton said.

"D.C.'s population of 712,000 is larger than two states," she noted. "D.C. pays more federal taxes per capita than any state and pays more federal taxes than 21 states. D.C.'s gross domestic product is larger than 17 states."

"Congress has a choice," she continued. "It can continue to exclude D.C. residents from the democratic process, forcing them to watch from the sidelines as Congress votes on federal and D.C. laws, and to treat them, in the words of Frederick Douglass, 'as aliens, not citizens, but subjects.' Or it can live up to the nation's founding principles, join the 54 percent of Americans — and growing — who support D.C. statehood and pass H.R. 51."

Conservative groups were quick to denounce the passing of the bill.

"Radical pro-abortion Democrats in the House are ignoring the Constitution's principles regarding the seat of federal government to push for D.C. statehood, knowing it would stymy pro-life legislation, and force Americans in our nation's capital to fund abortion on demand," Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List said in a statement.

"This is their latest power grab and attempt to change the rules in order to advance the worst of their agenda before the 2022 midterm elections," she warned. "Make no mistake, they pursue this deeply unpopular agenda at their own political peril."

The conservative group FreedomWorks also criticized the move, calling on Congress to support the D.C.-Maryland Reunion Act.

This bill, introduced by Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., would make the areas outside of the National Mall, the Capitol and the White House part of Maryland. This would give D.C. residents voting representation in Congress without adding a new state to the Union and keeping Capitol Hill as the neutral "district" called for in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.

The Washington, D.C. Admission Act now faces an uphill battle for passage in the Senate. While Democrats hold a 50-50 majority in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote, the filibuster calls for 60 votes of passage for most legislation.

Photo courtesy: Maria Oswalt/Unsplash

Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.