Over 1700 veterans ask Senate to pass statehood bill

Over 1700 veterans ask Senate to pass statehood bill
© Greg Nash

More than 1,700 veterans from across the are asking the country are asking the Senate to pass legislation making Washington, D.C. the country's 51st state.

On Friday the House passed legislation that would grant the District statehood, marking the first time such legislation passed either chamber of Congress, but the bill faces steep opposition in the Republican-led Senate.

The veterans are part of Common Defense, a group of progressive anti-Trump former military. They echoed sentiments made by Democratic lawmakers while discussing the bill, which regained momentum after the demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25, clashed with federal law enforcement earlier this month.

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“While the capital’s ability to be manipulated by the president is renewing the urgency for statehood, it is far from the only reason Washington, D.C. should become the nation’s 51st state,” the group wrote in a letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellObama calls on Senate not to fill Ginsburg's vacancy until after election Planned Parenthood: 'The fate of our rights' depends on Ginsburg replacement Progressive group to spend M in ad campaign on Supreme Court vacancy MORE  (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPelosi orders Capitol flags at half-staff to honor Ginsburg Ginsburg in statement before her death said she wished not to be replaced until next president is sworn in Democrats call for NRA Foundation to be prohibited from receiving donations from federal employees MORE (D-N.Y.).

Trump and his administration have taken an aggressive stance to the protests, criticizing D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) personally, mobilizing the D.C. National Guard and turning federal police on demonstrators near the White House in Lafayette Square.

“The President deployed more than 7,500 soldiers and officers to deter civilians from protesting the murder of George Floyd, a decision that was both distressing and profoundly un-American,” the letter read.

Republicans have argued against D.C. statehood because the District is allocated three electoral college delegates under the 23rd Amendment, and creating a new state would leave them unaccounted for. The Democrats' bill includes provisions expediting the repeal of the 23rd amendment.