Heard on the Hill

New Democrats hand D.C. statehood a milestone

‘Painstaking’ process may finally be paying off, says Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, here with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in 2017, has been pushing for statehood since 1991. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Since coming to the House in 1991, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton has tried time and time again to make the District of Columbia the 51st state. It’s been an uphill climb.

In her first term, her statehood bill got zero co-sponsors. In the next Congress, it got 81 co-sponsors — but ultimately flopped, 153-277, when it came to the floor in 1993. 

Momentum may finally be building. A similar version of the legislation got 181 co-sponsors in the 115th Congress. And on Thursday, the reintroduced bill reached a new high water mark when the list of co-sponsors hit 182.

That record-breaking number came thanks to two new supporters — New Jersey’s Andy Kim and Florida’s Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, both freshman Democrats.

Attitudes are changing slowly, Norton acknowledged in a press release.

“The painstaking building of support in Congress and around the country is the only way to finally ensure equal citizenship for the District’s 700,000 taxpaying residents,” she said.

Office Space: Eleanor Holmes Norton’s ode to statehood

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