The U.S. House of Representatives will vote Thursday on a bill to recognize Washington, D.C., as the 51st state in the United States. If recognized, it would be the first non-white state.
For advocates of the bill, washington,D.C.’s statehood is a civil rights issue, according to CBS News. The region has a population of more than 700,000, more than Wyoming or Vermont. But while the two states each have two senators and one congressman in Congress, washington, D.C., does not have a vote in Congress.
Eleanor Holmes Norton represents the District of Columbia in Congress as a non-voting representative. According to 2019 IRS data, state-building advocates also point out that the District of Columbia pays more federal taxes than any other state, with a higher per capita income than any other state. The area is also diverse, with a population of 46 per cent black and a predominantly non-white population. If recognized, it would be the first state with a large black population.
The legislation, called H.R. 51, would create a state named after Frederick Douglass. The bill would also open the White House, the U.S. Capitol and the National Mall to preserve the federal government’s status as the seat of the U.S. government. The House of Representatives voted 232 to 180 last year to pass the Washington, D.C., state-building measure, but did not vote in the Senate.