Speed Reads

uphill battle

D.C. statehood bill passes in the House, but faces 'formidable' odds in the Senate

A bill that would make Washington, D.C. the 51st U.S. state is headed to the Senate for what's expected to be a "historic showdown."

The House of Representatives voted 216-208 along party lines on Thursday to pass the Washington, D.C. Admission Act to create the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, The Washington Post reports.

A D.C. statehood bill was previously passed last year only for it to die in the Senate, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said "we hope that the momentum will help it pass in the Senate" this time, also calling the vote a "significant step to enfranchise the people of D.C. and empower them to participate fully in our democracy," per The New York Times.

The head of Howard University's political science department, Ravi Perry, also told The Associated Press there's "been a major sea change" on the issue, as "people have started to see D.C. statehood as the racial justice issue that it is."

In the Senate, though, "the political odds remain formidable," the Post writes, noting that the Senate filibuster will require support from 60 senators and not every Democrat in the Senate has actually gotten behind the legislation. Republicans have also expressed opposition to the bill, which would create two Senate seats. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told supporters last year that "with two more liberal senators, we cannot undo the damage they've done."

But Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who introduced the bill, told the Post that with "this Congress, with Democrats controlling the House, the Senate and the White House, D.C. statehood is within reach for the first time in history."