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DC mayor admitted to Democratic governors group amid statehood fight

DC mayor admitted to Democratic governors group amid statehood fight
© Bonnie Cash

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserWhite House to host large outdoor gathering for July 4 DC board votes to lift last COVID-19 restrictions on bars, restaurants Hogan announces Maryland will close mass vaccination sites, shift to local clinics MORE (D) has been admitted into the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) amid a Democratic push to turn the nation’s capital into a state.

The move comes about a week after Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinProgressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC US, EU pledge to work together on climate amid reported dissension on coal Senate to hold hearing on DC statehood bill MORE (D-W.Va.) said he does not support legislation the House passed to admit D.C. into the union, dealing the prospects of D.C. statehood a devastating blow.

Bowser first made the announcement in a joint interview with New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamNew Mexico launching vaccine sweepstakes with M in prizes The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting Biden vows to get 'more aggressive' on lifestyle benefits of vaccines MORE (D), the chairwoman of the DGA, on Wednesday.

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Grisham said that while Bowser isn’t a governor, she is an “executive leader” who is “working on all of the things that Democratic governors are responsible” for, from fighting the coronavirus pandemic to protecting voting rights.

“This partnership is an incredible announcement to really reinforce that’s what we’re dedicated to and that’s what we are about,” Grisham said.

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The House passed a bill along party lines last month to make D.C. a state, the second time in two years the House passed such legislation.

Advocates say that the city’s roughly 700,000 citizens, mostly Black Americans, deserve equal representation. Republicans have fought against D.C. statehood, arguing that it was a chance for Democrats to tip the evenly divided Senate in their favor.

However, Manchin said during a radio interview last Friday that he felt a constitutional amendment should be proposed to allow D.C. to become a state.

The measure already faced an uphill battle in the Senate before Manchin’s remarks. Several key senators, including Sens. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaSenate to hold hearing on DC statehood bill Progressives threaten to block bipartisan infrastructure proposal Hundreds in West Virginia protest Manchin's opposition to voting rights legislation MORE (D-Ariz.) and Angus KingAngus KingHillicon Valley: Big Tech critic Lina Khan named chair of the FTC | Lawmakers urge Biden to be tough on cyber during summit with Putin | TSA working on additional security regulations following Colonial Pipeline hack Senate Armed Services member: Administration should have 'hair on fire' over Afghan interpreters Senators introducing B bill to help narrow digital divide MORE (I-Maine), had not signed on to Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperThis week: Democrats face fractures in spending fight Progressives want to tighten screws beyond Manchin and Sinema Democrats wary of emerging bipartisan infrastructure deal MORE’s (D-Del.) effort for D.C. statehood in the Senate.

Despite the challenges, Bowser expressed confidence that D.C. would become a state, touting support from the White House and Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOvernight 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 GOP senator: I want to make Biden a 'one-half-term president' How Biden can get the infrastructure bill through Congress MORE (D-N.Y.).

“The president of the United States has issued a very strong statement supporting statehood for D.C. Sen. Schumer has been very strong in his support for D.C. statehood,” Bowser said. “So we know they’re going to work with Sen. Manchin and others so that this is an issue that’s finally resolved, a wrong that is finally righted in our democracy.”