Coronavirus funding slight emboldens DC statehood fight

DC Del. Holmes Norton has been pushing for statehood for decades

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Posted March 30, 2020 at 1:29pm

In what seems like a lifetime ago — February — D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton attended trivia night at a crowded local brewery, celebrating the House Oversight Committee’s approval of a bill to make the District of Columbia the 51st state.

Just a few long weeks later, that brewery is selling beer only online for delivery or pickup. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, non-essential D.C. businesses have shut down, the Metro is running reduced service, and nine district residents have died as of Sunday night.

Late last week, Congress passed a coronavirus relief package that provides millions less in funding to D.C. than states because the district was grouped with federal territories rather than states.

“This is why you’ve seen me pressing so hard for statehood for the District of Columbia,” Holmes Norton told CQ Roll Call in a video interview Thursday.

“Hear me, I’m going to get it fixed in the next bill, and mind you, there is going to be a next coronavirus bill,” Holmes Norton said.

With D.C.’s non-statehood status affecting its access to emergency funding, CQ Roll Call took a look at where Holmes Norton’s decades-long push for statehood lies, including Republicans’ myriad Constitutional objections to making the nation’s capital a state.