After the historic events of last week, the dream of the Democratic Party of Washington, DC, the creation of a state seems more achievable than ever – but not just because Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock won majority races in the Georgia Senate.
On the same day, the Associated Press and broadcasters confirmed the couple’s victory on Jan.6 a violent crowd of President Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol while Congress was in session, leaving five dead and dozens more injured. The Capitol Police were overwhelmed and, with DC lacking a governor with the power to summon the local National Guard, the city was left helpless for three hours like riots.
As a result, US officials ordered more than 10,000 National Guard troops, initially planned 6200– to occupy the nation’s capital before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on January 20. But some say a longer term solution is needed.
“We need to get statehood created on the president’s desk within the first 100 days of the 117th Congress,” Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said Thursday at a press conference. “Congress must immediately transfer command of the District of Columbia National Guard from the President of the United States and place it squarely under the command and control of the District of Columbia.
When asked how she would have responded to the riot if she had been governor instead of mayor, Bowser said: “We would not be limited in any way on how to deploy the guard, so we would not have to draw up a deployment plan with the secretary of the army.
Under current law, only the federal government has the authority to deploy the DC National Guard. Trump deployed the service quickly over the summer when Black Lives Matter protesters rallied for largely peaceful protests, but the federal government did not act as quickly last week.
“The mayor should not depend on the president to deploy the National Guard to protect public safety in Washington, and DC should never have to worry about a president taking back his police force and using it as he sees fit.” , ”Eleanor Holmes Norton, the Democratic representative for DC in the House of Representatives, said.
Norton’s position in Congress highlights the initial call for DC to become the 51st state. A “shadow representative,” Norton is unable to vote on a bill in the full House, although she retains Congress’ abilities such as introducing legislation and speaking in the House. Federal lawmakers, on the other hand, often intervene in laws passed locally by DC, such as increasing funding for abortion and reproductive rights, the sale of recreational marijuana, the prevention of gun violence and other contentious issues.
Despite this, the city is unable to choose its own judges or budget. And DC residents pay more federal taxes per capita than anywhere else in the country. This is a classic case of “taxation without representation”, critics say.
The movement for a Washington state dates back to the beginning of the 19th century, but it has gained serious legitimacy in recent decades. In 2017, Norton introduced the DC Admission Act to Congress, which the democratically controlled House passed last June. It failed in the Senate, however, with Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissing the bill as “full socialism.”
DC is an extremely liberal city, and Republicans know admitting her to the union would be politically disadvantageous. But with Ossoff and Warnock’s victories in the Senate and Biden soon ascending to the presidency, Democrats now have an opening to pass the bill.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, who is expected to become Senate Majority Leader once Biden is sworn in, voiced his support for Washington state last summer. “As one of my top priorities when it comes to voting rights and democratic reform, I will continue to work in the Senate to ensure statehood, full voting rights and full power in home, for DC in Congress and beyond, ”he said statement.
As for Biden, he tweeted in June: “DC should be a state. Pass it on. “
Following the meager police response to the Capitol riot, Norton said she believed the state was now “in sight”.
“We upped the ante, I think, with what happened here on Capitol Hill,” she said. says Insider Friday.
“The idea that home in our own city – the city that happens to be the capital – and that this city has no representation, no full representation, in times of crisis, underscores the need for the District of Columbia to become state and have the same tools as all other states, ”Norton added.
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