Press Releases

Carper: The President’s decision to deploy U.S. military on peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square makes the issue of DC Statehood one we can no longer ignore 

WASHINGTON, DC – Following President Trump’s decision to deploy the U.S. military on peaceful protestors in the District of Columbia and the unprecedented occupation of the city by federal police and out-of-state troops, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), senior member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), announced new support for legislation that would grant Washington, DC full statehood. Over the past month, Senators Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Gary Peters, (D-Mich.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) have joined the bill as cosponsors. The bill would make the nation’s capital the 51st state, give its citizens full representation in Congress, and ensure the District of Columbia has full authority over its police force. Specifically, the Washington, DC Admission Act (S.631) would also designate the areas surrounding the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the National Mall as the seat of the federal government. The area would inherit the name “District of Columbia” and remain under the control of Congress, as mandated by the Constitution. 

On Friday, the House of Representatives will vote on the companion bill of Senator Carper’s DC Statehood legislation, H.R. 51, which was introduced by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC). The bill has a record number of cosponsors and is expected to pass the House.

“The nation watched as federal agents and the U.S. military were deployed against Americans practicing their constitutional rights to peacefully protest in the District of Columbia. President Trump didn’t need approval to carry this action out because the District of Columbia is not a state – and therein lies the problem we need to fix. What the President did is contrary to who we are as Americans and what we stand for as a nation, and the issue of statehood is something both Democrats and Republicans can no longer ignore,” Carper said. “Today, I am so proud that Senators Rosen, Stabenow, Peters, Tester, and Cantwell have joined my Senate bill to ensure DC has full authority over its police force and grant its residents equal representation in their government. I also want to congratulate my friend and my partner in the House, Congresswoman Norton. It’s because of her hard work and determination that the House will hold a historic vote on her DC Statehood bill later this week. For Americans who may be unsure about whether or not the District of Columbia should be granted statehood, I urge you to think about it this way: think about paying taxes to the federal government and then not having a vote to help determine how that government functions. Imagine the military being sent to your communities to patrol your neighborhoods without approval from the leaders you elect to represent you. That is the current reality for the more than 700,000 Americans living in the District of Columbia. This is an issue of fairness, and it is incumbent upon those of us who enjoy the right and the privilege of full representation in Congress to take up the cause of our fellow citizens in the District of Columbia and right this wrong now.”

Senator Carper first introduced a DC Statehood bill in 2013 and has re-introduced the bill in every Congress since. As Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Senator Carper also held the first hearing on DC statehood in decades. In addition to Senators Rosen, Stabenow, Peters, Tester, and Cantwell, the cosponsors on the Washington, DC Admission Act are Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Catherine Cortez Mastro (D-Nev.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).

 

Full text of the Washington, DC Admission Act is available here. A summary and section-by-section breakdown of the bill is available here.