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Pingree Votes to Admit Washington, D.C. as the 51st State

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today voted for H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, which would make the District of Columbia America’s 51st state and ensure the city’s more than 700,000 residents are finally fully represented in the U.S. Congress. 

“Washington, D.C. has more residents than the states of Vermont or Wyoming—yet these states are still allowed representation in Congress and the right to self-government. To give D.C. residents an equal voice in our democracy, we must pass H.R. 51. The Constitution gives Congress the authority to admit new states—all 37 states added after the original 13 were admitted by legislation, not by a constitutional amendment,” said Pingree, an original cosponsor of the legislation. “There are no constitutional, historical, financial, or economic reasons why the more than 700,000 Washington, D.C. residents should not be granted statehood. I’m proud to cast my vote a second time to admit Washington, D.C. as the 51st state—with President Biden’s support, we have a unique opportunity to right this historic wrong and fully enfranchise D.C. residents.”

H.R. 51 was introduced by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s non-voting Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. If signed into law, D.C.’s eight wards would become a state called Douglass Commonwealth. The State of Douglass Commonwealth would have two U.S. senators and one U.S. House member to represent its population. 

In the last year, there have been three prominent examples of why Washington, D.C. needs to be admitted as a state:

  • In the CARES Act, each state received a minimum of $1.25 billion in fiscal relief. D.C. was treated as a territory and received only $495 million.
  • The D.C. mayor was not able to deploy the D.C. National Guard to the Capitol during the insurrection on January 6, 2021, because the President controls the D.C. National Guard.
  • Last June, President Trump deployed thousands of federal law enforcement officers and National Guard troops in downtown D.C. against area residents engaging in constitutionally protected protests.

The State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth would consist of 66 of the 68 square miles of the present-day federal district. The remaining two square miles would comprise the federal district – the “Capital” – and would include the White House, Capitol, Supreme Court, principal federal monuments, and federal buildings adjacent to the National Mall.

Pingree previously voted for H.R. 51 in the 116th Congress, the first time in 27 years since Congress had considered statehood for the people of D.C. Photos of Pingree supporting D.C. Statehood at the U.S. Capitol are available for download here.



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