With at least 212 co-sponsors, House Democrats expect to pass the Washington, D.C. Admission Act for the second consecutive year. (The record reflects 216 co-sponsors, but three of them have joined the Biden administration and Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.) died this month.)
After last year’s historic vote in the House, the statehood bill did not get a vote in the Senate, which was then under Republican control.
With Democrats now holding Vice President Harris’s tiebreaking vote in a split Senate, Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) has expressed his support for statehood and promised to bring the bill to the floor for a vote in that chamber for the first time.
Republicans uniformly oppose D.C. statehood, in part because it would likely add two Democrats to the Senate.
Forty-four of the Senate’s 50 Democrats have co-sponsored the bill. But because most bills need at least 60 votes to pass the Senate, statehood is unlikely to advance any further unless the rule changes.
Still, the mood was euphoric in the city on Friday — the 159th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the District of Columbia Compensation Emancipation Act, which freed more than 3,000 enslaved people in the nation’s capital eight months before the Emancipation Proclamation liberated enslaved people in the South.
Advocates, clergy and elected leaders celebrated the city holiday while pleading for full voting rights.
“Today, on DC Emancipation Day, we remember the more than 3,000 slaves set free in the District 159 years ago,” Mayor Muriel E. Bowser said on Twitter. “Because a voice in government is fundamental to our freedom, today we acknowledge our fight for #DCStatehood.”
On the steps of the National City Christian Church, dozens of clergy members gathered to advocate for statehood. “We are united from all eight wards of the city in our call for emancipation through D.C. statehood,” the Rev. Donald Isaac, a pastor in Southeast Washington, said ahead of the event.