26 votes

In first for Congress, US House passes bill to establish DC as the nation's 51st state, but it faces insurmountable opposition in the Senate

14 comments

  1. [10]
    Atvelonis
    Link
    Zero. For a party that likes to tote "states' rights" as a selling point for voters, this seems awfully out of character. But the GOP's opposition shouldn't actually surprise any of us. I am so...

    All but one Democrat voted in favor of D.C. statehood, elevating a decades-old push that has gained prominence in recent weeks as a glaring example of how a large Black population has long been disenfranchised. Zero Republicans backed the bill on the 232-180 vote.

    Zero. For a party that likes to tote "states' rights" as a selling point for voters, this seems awfully out of character. But the GOP's opposition shouldn't actually surprise any of us. I am so far past the point of maintaining any remotely neutral perception toward the institution of the Republican Party that it is almost a waste of time to explain that this is done solely in self-interest. Certainly the Democrats have fallen in line here for the opposite reason, but their argument also happens to support the fundamental principle of this country—that everyone should have proper representation in the government.

    23 votes
    1. Jedi
      Link Parent
      State rights... as long as it's Republican run, which D.C. would not be.

      State rights... as long as it's Republican run, which D.C. would not be.

      19 votes
    2. [7]
      KapteinB
      Link Parent
      This article missed some important factors that the CNN article included. It's not often I agree with Republicans, but ceding the land to Maryland seems to me both more logical and practical. DC...

      This article missed some important factors that the CNN article included.

      During House floor debate on the bill, Republican Rep. Gregory Murphy of North Carolina argued for Congress to cede the land back to Maryland instead of making DC its own state.

      "The move is simply unnecessary when ceding DC back to Maryland is a viable, cost-effective and common sense option," Murphy said.

      It's not often I agree with Republicans, but ceding the land to Maryland seems to me both more logical and practical. DC as a state would be kinda silly; sure it would have just the 3rd smallest population of US states, but it would be the smallest in land area by a factor of 22!

      Of course; Demcorats oppose this solution in favour of statehood, since it would give them no new senators and at most one new house member.

      (As a side note, it would be hilarious if this comes to pass (after Democrats take control of both the Senate and the presidency in January), and it starts a trend of adding new states and splitting existing ones into smaller states to cement a party's position in the Senate every time the political pendulum swings, until the US consists of hundreds of tiny states.)

      6 votes
      1. CALICO
        Link Parent
        I take issue with this, for reasons other than why you propose I oppose it. Taxation without Representation There are 538 Electoral Votes cast in the Presidential Election. This number is based on...

        It's not often I agree with Republicans, but ceding the land to Maryland seems to me both more logical and practical. DC as a state would be kinda silly; sure it would have just the 3rd smallest population of US states, but it would be the smallest in land area by a factor of 22!

        Of course; Demcorats oppose this solution in favour of statehood, since it would give them no new senators and at most one new house member.

        I take issue with this, for reasons other than why you propose I oppose it.

        Taxation without Representation

        There are 538 Electoral Votes cast in the Presidential Election. This number is based on each states Senators and Representatives. Countrywide that's 100 Senators, 435 Representatives; these numbers are fixed by law. This only brings our total Electoral Votes to 535, but the final three votes come from the Twenty-third Amendment, ratified in 1961, which grants the District as many Electoral Votes as if it were a State, but no more than the least populated state.

        Retrocession of the District of Columbia gives us a problem. If the District is absorbed by Maryland, but Maryland gains fewer than three votes in the process, then citizens of the District have a lesser voice when it comes to the election of the President. This is inherently a lessening of Representation.
        If the Twenty-Third Amendment is not repealed, then what is left of D.C. retains its three electoral votes. Problem is, the District would no longer have residents, and who controls those votes is an open question open to abuse. Repealing the Amendment, and annexation of D.C. by Maryland, only grants equitable Representation in the Electoral College of former District Residents by putting a minimum floor of Maryland Standard+3 electoral votes; this fundamentally changes the way the Electoral College functions, and allocates votes, and is unlikely to pass through the legislative process. Thus, D.C. Residents get shafted.

        If D.C. were to become a State, then residents are guaranteed these three Electoral Votes and its Representation in the Presidential Election.

        Read my Lips: No New Taxes

        Wealthy cities all over the Nation tend to contribute more money to their state capitals than they receive in State Funding or Budgetary Contributions. If the District merges with Maryland, this presents a problem; currently taxes in D.C. funds things in D.C. Retrocession will cause D.C. to lose out on usable funds, or have to raise taxes on the local level to make up for lost revenue. It's already extraordinarily expensive to live in D.C., and many residents are forced to live in the area due to employment within or supporting the Federal Government and its many Agencies. A tax hike will hurt residents, and the only purpose would be to guarantee tax revenue from prior to retrocession.

        Additionally, D.C. gives up a great degree of its current autonomy to the Maryland State Capital of Annapolis. D.C. is solidly Blue, and one of the most Socially-Progressive regions in the Nation. Maryland is Bluish-Purple. While not a nightmare scenario, this causes control of D.C. to change to a body less in-line with the ideals of its citizens.

        Retrocession would result in D.C. paying a permanent sacrifice of power and autonomy, and Maryland is subjected to the political disturbance of an 11% addition to its population of mainly deeply-Blue residents. The dream of District home-rule is dead forever in this exchange, and Maryland pays a price along the way.

        A House Divided Against Itself

        Nobody wants this, except for non-affected, typically GOP Politicians and other clowns, such as former Republican Representative of Utah, Jason Chaffetz. When the GOP isn't advocating for retrocession, they're busy trying to poison Statehood Bills with Amendments proposing the banning of abortion in D.C. & forcing the full costs of updating national flags and official memorabilia onto D.C.

        You can't grant land to a State without their consent.

        Polling shows that Maryland doesn't want D.C.
        Polling shows that D.C. doesn't want Maryland.

        In fact, voting of D.C. Residents shows a strong support of D.C. Statehood, and polling of Maryland shows a narrow support of D.C. Statehood (2016, Q22, PDF).

        Retrocession hurts the autonomy of D.C. Retrocession hurts D.C. financially, and the residents pay for it. Retrocession gives up reliably Blue Votes on the National Stage, and gives the GOP an unfair advantage in a system already biased in their favor.

        On that note:

        sure it would have just the 3rd smallest population of US states, but it would be the smallest in land area by a factor of 22!

        Fuck land. Fuck this argument.
        Land doesn't vote. Cornfields and Soybeans don't vote.
        The People vote, and The People of D.C. have made their voice clear.

        Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

        14 votes
      2. Kuromantis
        Link Parent
        To be fair this isn't unprecedented, the dakotas exist because the GOP of 1890 led the Senate and those Northern States would favor them. They also did the same thing with Nevada, as noted in the...

        To be fair this isn't unprecedented, the dakotas exist because the GOP of 1890 led the Senate and those Northern States would favor them. They also did the same thing with Nevada, as noted in the article monkeypants posted. Also, the Senate is pretty inflexible, so if several of these states were added, the advantage would be practically permanent and basically force/require the GOP to moderate to win more states or to begin taking about dumping this absurd system.

        4 votes
      3. Atvelonis
        Link Parent
        If there are already two states with populations lower than DC's, I don't think that's really an applicable point. I don't have a strong opinion, though. I wouldn't mind it being part of Maryland...

        If there are already two states with populations lower than DC's, I don't think that's really an applicable point. I don't have a strong opinion, though. I wouldn't mind it being part of Maryland or Virginia, I just think that the city's populace should have some form of representation within the Congress.

        As a side note, it would be hilarious if this comes to pass (after Democrats take control of both the Senate and the presidency in January), and it starts a trend of adding new states and splitting existing ones into smaller states to cement a party's position in the Senate every time the political pendulum swings, until the US consists of hundreds of tiny states.

        I hope not! But I think the difference here is that this isn't splitting up a state at all, it's creating a state where there was no state to begin with. In order for what you're describing to happen, the states themselves would also have to want to split, not just Congress (as described in Article IV of the Constitution). While there might be localized support for such a thing here and there, I doubt a state legislature would want to cede power to another in this way.

        4 votes
      4. [3]
        hungariantoast
        Link Parent
        This is more of just an open question for anyone who wants to take a crack at it, but what would be the practical effects of having hundreds of tiny states? Would it increase representation? What...

        This is more of just an open question for anyone who wants to take a crack at it, but what would be the practical effects of having hundreds of tiny states? Would it increase representation? What would be required to make administering so many diverse territories efficient at the federal level? What aspects of states, "states rights", etc. would have to change?

        Historically, has the average geographic size of states in the US affected the relationship between states and the federal government? How would that relationship have to change if the average geographic size shrank considerably?

        1 vote
        1. Deimos
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          It's not exactly what you're asking, but this was a really interesting article from the beginning of the year published in the Harvard Law Review that proposes admitting 127 neighborhoods in DC as...

          It's not exactly what you're asking, but this was a really interesting article from the beginning of the year published in the Harvard Law Review that proposes admitting 127 neighborhoods in DC as tiny new states: Pack the Union: A Proposal to Admit New States for the Purpose of Amending the Constitution to Ensure Equal Representation

          It's interesting reading regardless and discusses a lot of related topics, and you could probably get deeper into it by following some of the relevant references/footnotes.

          5 votes
        2. Kuromantis
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          One of the most obvious effects is the electoral college would look more like the UK elections with a few dozen swing states each worth 3 or 4 electoral votes and with one or 2 house seats, which...

          One of the most obvious effects is the electoral college would look more like the UK elections with a few dozen swing states each worth 3 or 4 electoral votes and with one or 2 house seats, which are now roughly equivalent compared to now. The seats may be less gerrymandered since there wouldn't be enough seats and political diversity within the states to do anything.

          The senate would be more like the house, but more slow moving as intended, since there are so many more members.

          3 votes
    3. Lawrencium265
      Link Parent
      I was thinking today this exact point, equal representation. I would like to see that applied to political parties. Your representation in any government body would be limited proportionally to...

      I was thinking today this exact point, equal representation. I would like to see that applied to political parties. Your representation in any government body would be limited proportionally to the percentage of the population that are active members in the party as most people have no such membership and are therefore not being represented at all.

      1 vote
  2. [2]
    grungegun
    Link
    Why didn't they try Puerto Rico first? There are historical reasons for why DC was not a state, while there are none for Puerto Rico. I might not have enough context, but Puerto Rico seems like a...

    Why didn't they try Puerto Rico first?

    There are historical reasons for why DC was not a state, while there are none for Puerto Rico. I might not have enough context, but Puerto Rico seems like a relatively easy case for statehood, and even more people there don't have proper representation. It seems like posturing to me since Democrat's knew this would happen, so they decided to go for a lost cause instead of something with a chance.

    5 votes
    1. KapteinB
      Link Parent
      From the CNN article: I assume the (non-voting) representative from DC introduces bills like this now and then. The (non-voting) representative from Puerto Rico filed a similar bill for her...

      From the CNN article:

      The bill, introduced by DC's nonvoting House member, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, would shrink the federal capital to a small area encompassing the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and other federal buildings along the National Mall. The rest of the city would become the 51st state, named the Washington, Douglass Commonwealth after abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

      I assume the (non-voting) representative from DC introduces bills like this now and then. The (non-voting) representative from Puerto Rico filed a similar bill for her territory in 2018.

      The situation is a bit more unclear in Puerto Rico though. They held a referendum in 2017 where only 23% of the population showed up to vote, due to a boycott led by the pro-status-quo party. That's probably why the Democrat-controlled House didn't pick up the bill.

      9 votes
  3. bleem
    Link
    It is dead in the senate like all the dem bills the past 8? years. of course they wouldn't want a majority democrat new state that would get 2 more senators

    It is dead in the senate like all the dem bills the past 8? years.

    of course they wouldn't want a majority democrat new state that would get 2 more senators

    3 votes