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House majority leader endorses DC statehood

House majority leader endorses DC statehood
© Greg Nash

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDemocrats seek wave to bolster House majority Hoyer lays out ambitious Democratic agenda for 2021, with health care at top Top Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate MORE (D-Md.) on Thursday endorsed statehood for Washington, D.C.

"More than 700,000 Americans remain unable to cast votes for an equal voice in Congress," Hoyer wrote in an op-ed published in The Washington Post.

"Defending the new Constitution, James Madison assured his fellow Americans that residents of this new capital district would happily live there 'as they will have had their voice in the election of the government which is to exercise authority over them.' For 228 years, our government has denied them that voice."

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"I have been hesitant in past years to call for statehood for the District because I believed that we could achieve voting rights for its residents without having to take the politically difficult steps statehood would entail," Hoyer explained.

"I now believe the only path to ensuring its representation is through statehood. Legislation granting representation in the House could be revoked in the future; statehood would bring D.C. residents a permanent voice in our elected institutions."

D.C. statehood has routinely been opposed by Republicans, largely because of the high percentage of registered Democrats in the city.

Hoyer announced Thursday that he will co-sponsor a bill from Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonLawmakers say infrastructure efforts are falling victim to deepening partisan divide The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump, Biden blitz battleground states Hillicon Valley: Big Tech hearing the most partisan yet | Rubio warns about foreign election interference | Trump campaign site briefly hacked MORE (D-D.C.) to make the nation's capital the 51st state.

Norton has introduced statehood bills several times, though this year's legislation has gained more support than those in years past.

Her measure had 151 co-sponsors when put forward in January, a record high for the legislation.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOcasio-Cortez says she doesn't plan on 'staying in the House forever' Internal Democratic poll: Desiree Tims gains on Mike Turner in Ohio House race Hillicon Valley: Facebook, Twitter's handling of New York Post article raises election night concerns | FCC to move forward with considering order targeting tech's liability shield | YouTube expands polices to tackle QAnon MORE (D-N.Y.) also recently came out in support of statehood.