US House of Representatives has approved a bill to make the country’s capital the 51st state.
According to Reuters, a vote of 216-208, the Democratic-controlled House approved the initiative with no Republican support.
“We right a historic injustice by passing legislation to finally grant the District of Columbia statehood,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said from the House floor.
This is the second time in two years that the House voted to make D.C. a state. But was blocked by the Republican control of the Senate and White House which prevented the final passage of the bill in 2020.
However, now that the Democratic control the Senate and House and the white house, it is likely that the US will get a new state for the first time since 1959, the year Alaska and Hawaii joined the union.
The white house has earlier this week put out a statement of support for the bill.
“For far too long, the more than 700,000 people of Washington, D.C. have been deprived of full representation in the U.S. Congress,” the administration said in an official statement of its policy position. “This taxation without representation and denial of self-governance is an affront to the democratic values on which our Nation was founded.”
The bill will now be sent to the Senate, where it faces long odds of approval, according to reporting by Politico, only forty-five Democratic senators have signaled their support for the bill. other yet to sign on the bill are Sens. Angus King (VT), Joe Manchin (WV), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Mark Kelly (AZ), and Jeanne Shaheen (NH)).
If approved by the senate, 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.
Republicans broadly oppose D.C. statehood, primarily because it would almost certainly assure the election of two additional Democrats to the Senate, potentially tipping the political balance of a body that is currently evenly split between the two parties.