Administration

White House formally backs bill to grant DC statehood

The White House on Tuesday formally declared its support for a House bill that would grant statehood to Washington, D.C., saying it would provide the residents of the District with “long overdue full representation in Congress.”

“Establishing the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth as the 51st state will make our Union stronger and more just,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement of administration policy. “Washington, D.C. has a robust economy, a rich culture, and a diverse population of Americans from all walks of life who are entitled to full and equal participation in our democracy.”

The statement further called for Congress “to provide for a swift and orderly transition to statehood for the people of Washington, D.C.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki previously said President Biden is in favor of giving statehood to D.C. The District is home to roughly 700,000 full-time residents, which is more than Wyoming or Vermont.

The House is scheduled to vote this week on legislation to make D.C. the country’s 51st state, after Democrats pledged to prioritize it during Biden’s first 100 days in office. The bill passed out of committee last week in a party-line vote. 

The House previously passed the bill last year, but it went nowhere in the GOP-controlled Senate. Even with Democrats now in control of both chambers, D.C. statehood faces an uphill, unlikely, climb to actually passing Congress. 

Democrats would need the support of at least 10 GOP senators in order to advance a D.C. statehood bill without getting rid of the 60-vote filibuster. Even if Democrats changed the rules to require a simple majority — something they don’t currently have the support to do — only 44 Democratic senators have signed on in support of a statehood bill in the Senate.

Tags 51st state DC statehood Jen Psaki Joe Biden

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