Previously dismissed by its critics as a regional issue, DC statehood has gained national prominence in recent years, and that increased attention has now translated into legislative action. Late last month, the House passed a DC statehood bill with a record number of co-sponsors, and Joe Biden has offered a full-throated endorsement of the proposal.
This momentum has given activists hope that now – with Democrats controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress – DC statehood may finally become a reality. However, numerous challenges remain in the evenly divided Senate, and Republicans are determined to keep just 50 stars on the American flag.
For statehood advocates, this moment feels like an opportunity to correct a 200-year-old injustice. The District’s population of 700,000 is more than that of Wyoming and Vermont, and DC residents pay more in federal taxes than their counterparts in 22 states, yet they do not have congressional representation. Perhaps even more infuriating for statehood supporters is the fact that DC laws are subject to congressional review, meaning lawmakers from around the country have an effective veto on local proposals.