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This week: Democrats move on DC statehood

This week: Democrats move on DC statehood
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Democrats are poised to move one of their biggest priorities this week: D.C. statehood. 

The House, which is set to leave town at the end of the week until early May, will vote on legislation this week to make Washington, D.C., the country’s 51st state, after pledging to prioritize it during President BidenJoe BidenChinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report OVERNIGHT ENERGY:  EPA announces new clean air advisors after firing Trump appointees |  Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior | Watchdog: Bureau of Land Management saw messaging failures, understaffing during pandemic Poll: Majority back blanket student loan forgiveness MORE’s first 100 days in office. 

“I expect to bring #HR51 to the House Floor for a vote on Thursday, April 22 to grant #DCStatehood to the more than 700,000 residents of the District of Columbia. The voice of every American citizen deserves to be heard – it’s past time that we make statehood a reality for DC,” House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerBiden signs Juneteenth bill: 'Great nations don't ignore their most painful moments' House passes political spending, climate change corporate disclosures bill House to vote Wednesday on making Juneteenth a federal holiday MORE (D-Md.) tweeted late last week. 

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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 — something they don’t currently have the support to do — D.C. statehood doesn’t currently have the 50 votes needed to pass. 

Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperSenate confirms Radhika Fox to lead EPA's water office Rick Scott threatens to delay national security nominees until Biden visits border Senate panel unanimously advances key Biden cyber nominees MORE (D-Del.) announced last week that his bill now had the support of 44 Democratic senators, in addition to himself, after Sens. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterOn The Money: Sanders: Democrats considering trillion spending package | Weekly jobless claims rise for first time since April Sanders: Democrats considering trillion spending package Tensions grow between liberals and centrists on infrastructure MORE (D-Mont.), Jon OssoffJon OssoffStacey Abrams calls on young voters of color to support election reform bill MLB calls lawsuit over All-Star Game 'political theatrics' Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock MORE (D-Ga.) and John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperThe Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? Tensions grow between liberals and centrists on infrastructure On The Money: Yellen, Powell brush off inflation fears | Fed keeps rates steady, upgrades growth projections MORE (D-Colo.) signed on as co-sponsors. 

“D.C. statehood is a matter of basic fairness, not politics. With our record 44th cosponsor, momentum is firmly on the side of the movement to grant equal representation to Washington, D.C.’s more than 700,000 residents,” Carper said in a statement. 

“These are Americans who, just like in any other state, pay federal taxes and proudly service in our nation’s Armed Forces and yet do not have a voice or vote in Congress,” he added. 

But that still leaves the bill five votes short of the number needed, if Democrats got rid of the filibuster, to let Vice President Harris break a tie. 

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Afghanistan

The Senate will get briefed this week on Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 — the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 

Biden’s decision, announced last week, marks a historic step after the two previous administrations pledged, but failed, to end the country’s longest war. 

It also sparked bipartisan criticism from lawmakers worried that pulling U.S. troops too soon could spark a backslide in Afghanistan and bipartisan praise from lawmakers who have been publicly pushing Biden to formally end the war. 

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to get a closed-door briefing on Monday evening “on the negotiation process and understanding the security situation” in Afghanistan. 

Under the deal with the Taliban signed by the Trump administration last year, the U.S. withdrawal is supposed to be contingent on insurgents meeting certain commitments, including breaking from al Qaeda and reducing violence in the country. But U.S. military officials have repeatedly said the Taliban has yet to uphold those commitments.

The full Senate will then get an in-person briefing on Tuesday. 

Hate crimes bill

The Senate is still trying to work out a deal on amendments to an anti-Asian-hate-crimes bill sponsored by Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoSenate on collision course over Trump DOJ subpoenas Democrats mull overhaul of sweeping election bill White House gets back to pre-COVID-19 normality MORE (D-Hawaii).

The bill would require the Justice Department to appoint an official to oversee the expedited review of coronavirus-related hate crimes, bolster state and local resources and have the administration issue guidance on "best practices to mitigate racially discriminatory language" describing the coronavirus pandemic. 

Hirono said she is working to incorporate changes from GOP Sens. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyFive takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision On The Money: Yellen, Powell brush off inflation fears | Fed keeps rates steady, upgrades growth projections Overnight Health Care: US buying additional 200M Moderna vaccine doses | CureVac's COVID-19 vaccine failed in preliminary trial results | Grassley meets with House Dems on drug prices MORE (Iowa) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate confirms Radhika Fox to lead EPA's water office Pelosi says she's giving Senate more time on Jan. 6 commission Overnight Energy: Schumer to trigger reconciliation process Wednesday | Bipartisan bill would ban 'forever chemicals' in cosmetics | Biden admin eyes step toward Trump-era proposal for uranium reserve MORE (Maine). 

Leadership has also been negotiating a deal on amendment votes, after Republicans filed dozens of amendments, some of them related to neither the coronavirus nor hate crimes. 

“I expect the Republican Leader and I, in consultation with the relevant committees, will be able to figure out an appropriate number of reasonable, germane, non-gotcha amendments for the Senate to consider,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said last week. 

Nominations

The Senate will start the week tackling more of Biden’s nominees. 

The Senate will hold an initial vote on Lisa Monaco’s nomination to be deputy attorney general on Monday evening. 

After it finishes up Monaco’s nomination, they’ll vote on the re-appointment of Gary GenslerGary GenslerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats' agenda in limbo as Senate returns SEC removes Republican watchdog after progressive lobbying effort Regulators should bring the best of equity market regulation to crypto investment MORE to the Securities and Exchange Commission.