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Hoyer: DC's 'very large' black population makes now the time for D.C. statehood

Hoyer says DC statehood bill will be voted on in the House June 26

Updated: June 16, 2020 - 4:28pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday that the District of Columbia's "very large" African-American population makes now the best time to vote on D.C. statehood.

The House vote on the statehood bill, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, is scheduled for June 26.

"This is not just an issue of local governance and fairness. It is a major civil rights issue as well. We must bring to an end the disenfranchisement of 700,000 Americans," Hoyer said during a press conference with Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District's non-voting House member. 

According to the most recent Census data, African-Americans make up roughly 46% of the District's population, which equals about 324,644 residents. The percentage of African-Americans in the District has steadily declined over the past several decades from as much as 70 percent in the 1970s.

Hoyer (D-Md.) said that he spoke last week with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and that they agreed "this was an appropriate time to bring a bill forward to show respect for the citizens of the District of Columbia of whatever color but also to show respect to a city who has a very large African-American population and they matter and they ought to be treated equally with respect." 

Describing her support to push for statehood at this time, Pelosi (D-Calif.) cited the National Guard troops arriving in D.C. in response to the looting and violence among protests after George Floyd's death. She called the lack of statehood for D.C. an injustice. 

"We have seen a disturbing physical manifestation of that injustice when federal agents and out of state National Guard troops were deployed against peaceful protesters in the district without residents' approval," she said. "It will be a historic vote."

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