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 BidenFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries FDA aims to give full approval to Pfizer vaccine by Labor Day: report Overnight Defense: Police officer killed in violence outside Pentagon | Biden officials back repeal of Iraq War authorization | NSC pushed to oversee 'Havana Syndrome' response 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 HoyerYellen tries to tamp down Democrats fury over evictions ban House bundling is bad for deliberation CBC presses Biden to extend eviction moratorium 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 CarperKey Senate Republican praises infrastructure deal Biden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet Top Democrat: 'A lot of spin' coming from White House on infrastructure 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) TesterGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate This week: Senate starts infrastructure sprint Senators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session MORE (D-Mont.), Jon OssoffJon OssoffObamaCare 2.0 is a big funding deal Senate Democrats call for Medicaid-like plan to cover non-expansion states Stacey Abrams PAC tops 0 million raised MORE (D-Ga.) and John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperManchin grills Haaland over Biden oil and gas moratorium It's time for US to get serious about cleaning up space junk Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor 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 HironoDemocrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire Hillicon Valley: Facebook tightens teen protections | FBI cautions against banning ransomware payments | Republicans probe White House-social media collaboration Top FBI official advises Congress against banning ransomware payments 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 GrassleyAxne endorses Finkenauer Senate bid in Iowa Seven-figure ad campaign urges GOP to support infrastructure bill Biden names new watchdog at finance agency after embattled IG departs MORE (Iowa) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate finalizes .2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Schumer: Democrats 'on track' to pass bipartisan deal, .5T budget 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 GenslerEquilibrium/ Sustainability — Tree alive 'when Jesus was on Earth' threatened by rising seas Hillicon Valley: Warren asks SEC to take closer look at cryptocurrency exchanges | Maryland town knocked offline as part of massive ransomware attack | Huawei hires three new lobbying firms Warren asks SEC to take closer look at cryptocurrency exchanges MORE to the Securities and Exchange Commission.