Sen. Joe Manchin just broke his silence and ended Nancy Pelosi’s dream to make Washington D.C. a state. Pelosi pushed a bill through the House to make it happen so all eyes turned to the Senate. Specifically to the swing votes – Joe Manchin and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema.
Manchin finally broke his silence yesterday on this critical issue and said he is not in favor of it all but ending the small chance the bill had to pass. Manchin said he believes a constitutional amendment, not legislation, is needed to make D.C. a state. He cited findings from the Justice Department under Presidents Reagan and Carter and comments from then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy to bolster his case.
“They all came to the same conclusion: If Congress wants to make D.C. a state, it should propose a constitutional amendment. It should propose a constitutional amendment and let the people of America vote,” Joe said.
“It complicates D.C.’s path to statehood because Congress had three options to choose from,” Manchin said of previous debates on the subject. “They could have chosen statehood back then, retrocession to Maryland, or we can grant electoral votes.”
“They chose to grant three electoral votes, which is the same as any small state. That’s where it should be. Let the people of America vote.”
Manchin warned the Democrats saying to “all of my friends” that if they tried to force it, “you know it’s going to go to the Supreme Court.”
“Every single legal scholar has told us that. So why not do it the right way and let the people vote, to see if they want to change?”
“If Congress wants to make D.C. a state, it should propose a constitutional amendment and let the people of America vote,” Manchin said.
Asked directly if he would oppose action by Congress to make the district a state, Manchin said without hesitiation, “Yes, I would.”
The Washington, D.C. Admission Act passed the House 216 to 208 last week.
From The Washington Post:
Democrats who support statehood say the Constitution does not preclude D.C. from becoming a state. They have framed the debate as a racial-justice and civil rights issue, saying it is immoral to deny the city’s residents voting representation in Congress and the opportunity to fully govern their own affairs.
Stasha Rhodes, campaign director of 51 for 51, noted Friday that every state admitted to the union, including West Virginia, was admitted by Congress. She argued it should not be different for D.C.
“No member of the Senate should deny voting rights to 700,000 mostly Black and Brown Washingtonians based on a flimsy understanding of the Constitution and American history,” she said in a statement.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), the District’s nonvoting delegate and sponsor of the House statehood bill, pushed back on Manchin’s concerns over the 23rd Amendment in an interview.
Other experts believe Congress can get around that by remaking a part of the District of Columbia, where the White House and Capitol are located, the “seat of the Government of the United States,” as the Constitution says, and let the rest of the city of 700,000 become a state.
The legislation that passed the House proposes that by creating a 51st state with one representative and two senators, while a tiny sliver of land including the White House, the U.S. Capitol and the National Mall would remain as a federal district. Instead of the District of Columbia, the new state would be known as Washington, Douglass Commonwealth — named after famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who lived in Washington from 1877 until his death in 1895.
An identical statehood bill passed the House in 2020, but it died in the then-GOP-controlled Senate.
NEW: Joe Manchin has come out AGAINST the DC statehood bill, dealing a major blow in a 50-50 Senate.https://t.co/1GpdJY8GQg— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) April 30, 2021