For the first time in over 20 years, lawmakers listened to why the District of Columbia should become America's 51st state. Well, two senators did.
Senator Thomas R. Carper (D. Del) told reporters he introduced a bill so that Congress could have an "important discussion" about the case for D.C. statehood. "My goal for this hearing is to educate a new generation of people about this injustice and restart the conversation," Carper said. Senator Tom Coburn (R. Ok), who left 30 minutes into the hearings, called the possibility of Congressional action on the issue a “legal and political absurdity."
Considering the 113th Congress has been cited as one of the least productive in American history the thought of them drudging up the two thirds votes necessary to create a 51st state feels about as likely as Bernie Sanders becoming President.
Notable attendees included Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton — who has represented the District in Congress since 1991 — and crowds of passionate residents who have long advocated for their own state.
Norton admitted that statehood was not likely in the current divided Congress, but praised the ongoing discussion as a step forward for the District's future prospects.
There’s excitement in the city, just from the notion that we were able to get an official hearing in the Senate of the United States... That’s about the most you could’ve done in this Congress.”
The proposal would transform the city of Washington D.C. into "New Columbia," with two U.S. senators, one representative, a governor and a state legislature.
D.C. has over 640,000 residents, which is more than Wyoming and Vermont.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.