House Passes DC Statehood Legislation
Washington, April 22, 2021
Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, legislation to make D.C. the 51st state in the Union. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), who represents the Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital, delivered remarks during debate before voting in favor of the bill. Beyer is a longtime supporter of D.C. statehood, and an original cosponsor of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s statehood legislation.
Beyer’s remarks on the House Floor this morning in favor of H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, as prepared (video of remarks as delivered here):
“Mister/Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 51, which would grant DC statehood.
Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that “governments are instituted” to secure “unalienable rights” including “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and that these governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
The right to self-determination is the defining principle on which this nation was founded, and yet this very right is denied to those who reside in our nation’s capital.
Today, Washington D.C.’s Mayor and City Council can craft budgets and pass laws, but Congress retains the right to review and overturn those laws, and to meddle in local affairs.
Statehood would mean full self-government for Washingtonians, including legislative power, local budgetary control, more authority over the exercise of policing powers, and full representation in Congress.
The people of the District of Columbia overwhelmingly support statehood, passing a statehood referendum with 85% support in 2016.
All that remains is for Congress to enact statehood legislation, which is why I am proud to strongly support H.R. 51 again this year.
Republican statehood opponents have argued that statehood should be denied to D.C. because it is too small, because it is not rural enough, because it has insufficient logging, manufacturing, agriculture, or mining, because it is not “well-rounded,” and because its residents are not “real Americans.”
The real reason they oppose statehood is that they disagree with the political views of Washingtonians.
While this explanation is at least honest, it is not a legitimate cause to withhold American citizens’ voting rights. In fact, those who espouse this view betray the democratic principles upon which our nation was founded.
The people of Washington D.C. want the rights and responsibilities of statehood.
They deserve those rights, and there is no just cause to refuse them.
Washington, D.C. should be a state.
Thank you, I yield back.”