Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday he supports granting statehood to Washington, saying that the capital city has earned the right to have full independence and representation in Congress.
Mr. Reid’s comments came as he and other congressional leaders officially accepted a statue of Frederick Douglass into the pantheon hosted at the Capitol.
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“The District deserves statehood. And Congress should act to grant it,” Mr. Reid said.
Under the Constitution, Washington is set up as a federal district with control belonging exclusively to Congress.
In 1961 the country ratified the 23rd Amendment, which gave District residents the ability to vote in presidential elections. But they still do not elect voting members to the House or Senate.
The city does elect a delegate to the House, but that person does not have a floor vote when the chamber is sitting as the whole House.
Several efforts have been made to try to give the city a voting member of the House, but the most promising bid faltered several years ago when Republicans said they would attach expanded gun-rights to the measure. Rather than accept those terms, city leaders balked and told their Democratic allies in Congress to scuttle the legislation.