The struggle for full democratic rights for the District of Columbia will take another step forward on Thursday, September 19 when the House Committee on Oversight and Reform holds a hearing on H.R. 51, a bill to make the DC the 51st state.
This will be the first congressional hearing on DC statehood since a Senate hearing in 2014 and the first House hearing on the measure since 1993. The hearing was rescheduled from its originally planned date of July 24.
Supporters of DC statehood are urged to pack the hearing, which will begin at 10 AM in room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
While proposals for DC statehood have been submitted in each Congress for decades, the current bill is the first to have been declared a priority by the Democratic leadership of both houses. As the Socialist went to press, the House bill had 218 sponsors – more than half the members of the House – while a companion bill in the Senate had 34. Every Democrat representing the greater Washington region in both houses supports the bill.
If the bill is approved by the House it would be the first time either chamber of Congress voted in favor of DC statehood. In 1993, the last and only time a statehood bill received a floor vote, it was defeated in the House. While the Republican-controlled Senate would be unlikely to take up a measure that would add two Democratic senators to the chamber, a House vote for statehood would set a precedent that could be built upon at such time as Democrats regain full control of Congress.