The Biden administration has endorsed legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would establish the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C., as America’s 51st state.
“For far too long, the more than 700,000 people of Washington, D.C., have been deprived of full representation in the U.S Congress,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement Tuesday. “This taxation without representation and denial of self-governance is an affront to the democratic values on which our nation was founded.”
The bill, H.R. 51, calls for Washington to continue to serve as the country’s federal seat of government while residents gain full representation in Congress for the first time.
The measure is expected to face stiff resistance from congressional Republicans, who do not want two more likely Democrats from the Democratic-majority city in an evenly divided Senate.
The Republicans have argued that the bill goes against the U.S. Constitution, which created the District of Columbia as a federal district, and have proposed alternative schemes whereby District residents could vote for representatives in neighboring states.
The House is set to vote on the bill this week after it was passed last week by a party-line vote in the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
The administration said it plans to collaborate with Congress during the legislative process to ensure that it “comports with Congress’ constitutional responsibilities and its constitutional authority to admit new states to the Union.”
The administration also urged lawmakers to “provide for a swift and orderly transition” to statehood for the residents of the nation’s capital.