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White House backs D.C. statehood in official statement, final House vote set for this week

The White House said making D.C. a state "will make our Union stronger and more just."

Updated: April 21, 2021 - 2:18pm

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The White House is officially backing a congressional effort to make Washington, D.C., the country's 51 state, saying residents of the nation's capital not having full representation is Congress is an "affront to the democratic values."

In a statement released Tuesday, the White House said the Biden administration "strongly supports" the passage of H.R. 51, The Washington, D.C. Admission Act, and that the measure would "right this wrong" of "taxation without representation."

"For far too long, the more than 700,000 people of Washington, D.C. have been deprived of full representation in the U.S. Congress," the statement in part reads. "This taxation without representation and denial of self-governance is an affront to the democratic values on which our nation was founded. H.R. 51 rights this wrong."

The statement came as the Democrat-controlled House is set to hold a final floor vote Thursday on the bill. 

Residents of the nation's capital have limited representation in Congress, without a member having the privilege to cast a floor vote.

Democrats see the measure as an opportunity to pad their House and Senate majorities with the predominantly progressive District adding two new safely Democratic Senate seats and one safe new House seat. Republicans oppose the measure, and passage appears to be out of reach for now in the 50-50 Senate, where under present rules 60 votes would be needed to overcome a filibuster.

The District is fully represented in presidential voting, with three votes in the Electoral College. A Republican alternative to statehood that would allow D.C. residents to vote in U.S. House and Senate elections in Maryland was recently shot down in committee as Democrats voted to move statehood legislation to the House floor.

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