Durbin, Duckworth, Senate Democrats Reintroduce D.C. Statehood Legislation

Statehood bill sponsored by record number of Senators, ensures equal representation for more than 700,000 D.C. residents

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) and a group of Democratic Senators to reintroduce legislation to grant Washington, D.C. statehood. The bill, which was first introduced in 2013, would make Washington, D.C. the 51st state, finally give its citizens full representation in Congress, and also ensure that the citizens and elected leaders of the District of Columbia have full authority over local affairs, including crucial safety and security matters. The Washington, D.C. Admission Act (S.51) would also designate the areas surrounding the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the National Mall as the seat of the federal government. That area would inherit the name the “Capital” and remain under the control of Congress, as mandated by the Constitution.

“Washington, D.C. is home to more than 700,000 taxpaying citizens. This bill would finally grant D.C. statehood, giving its residents equal representation in Congress and the authority to make decisions over local affairs. I’m proud to join Senator Duckworth and Senator Carper in this effort to finally give D.C. residents the designation they have long called for,” said Durbin. 

“Over 700,000 Americans who live in D.C.—including 23,000 Veterans—are currently being denied full voting representation in both chambers of Congress despite the fact that they pay federal taxes,” Duckworth said. “I’m proud to join Senator Carper and Senator Durbin in introducing this bill that would right this injustice by giving D.C. residents the same democratic representation that other Americans enjoy." 

In June 2020, federal agents and the U.S. military were deployed against Americans exercising their constitutional right to peacefully protest in the District of Columbia, specifically in Lafayette Square just north of the White House. And on January 6, 2021, when violent rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, it took hours to approve National Guard mobilization. There are 54 units that make up the National Guard: one for each state plus Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. However, of those 54 units, only the D.C. National Guard doesn’t fall under local control. Instead, the order to mobilize the D.C. National Guard must come from the White House, rather than the head of D.C. government. 

Last year, the companion legislation, introduced in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), finally received a full vote in the House and passed by a vote of 232-180. District of Columbia residents have also voted overwhelmingly to petition the federal government to end this unjust situation by granting it statehood. A November 2016 referendum approved a name, constitution, and boundaries for what would become the new state called Washington, Douglass Commonwealth (D.C.)  

Joining Durbin, Duckworth, and Carper as original cosponsors on the Washington, D.C. Admission Act are Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jackey Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).