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House passes bill that would make D.C. the 51st state

The House of Representatives voted 216-208 on Thursday to pass a bill that would grant statehood to Washington, D.C.

The big picture: It's the second year in a row that the Democratic-controlled House has voted to recognize D.C. as the 51st state. The bill now heads to a divided Senate, where it faces little chance of reaching the 60 votes necessary to send to President Biden's desk.


  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has promised to bring the legislation to the chamber's floor for a vote, but it's opposed by Republicans and even some Democrats.

How it works: H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, would give the district two senators and a voting representative in the House.

  • The new state would be called "Washington, Douglas Commonwealth" in honor of abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
  • It would exclude federal buildings and monuments, and federal territory would be known as the Capital.

Why it matters: Statehood for the district is a priority for Democrats, who have painted statehood as a civil rights issue, and a matter of enfranchisement for the city's Black plurality.

Go deeper:D.C. statehood explained (USA Today)

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