Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, said in an interview Friday that he opposed opposition to giving Washington, DC, statehood – effectively killing Democrats’ efforts to reshape the US political map.
“If Congress wants to turn DC into a state, it must propose a constitutional amendment and let the people of America vote,” Manchin told WV MetroNews Talkline, a West Virginia newspaper.
Asked directly whether he would oppose the unilateral actions of the Congress for the transformation of the district into a state, Manchin answered: “Yes, I would.”
Stasha Rhodes, campaign director for the pro-DC group for statehood 51
The Democratic-controlled Party last week, 216-208, passed a bill in line with party lines that would make the country’s capital the 51st state. President Joe Biden approved the measure, but Democrats have a 50-50 majority in the Senate and lack Republican support, which means they cannot afford any desertions to pass it in the current congress.
In addition to merging their group, the passage of the bill will require the removal of the filibuster. Manchin sided with legal scholars who say DC’s statehood will require a change in the Constitution. However, other experts believe that Congress can circumvent this by reworking part of the District of Columbia, where the White House and the Capitol are located, “the seat of the United States government,” as the Constitution states, leaving the remaining 700,000 cities country.
The bill passed by the House proposes, by creating a 51st state with one representative and two senators, while a small portion of the land, including the White House, the Capitol and the National Mall, will remain a federal district. Instead of the District of Columbia, the new state will be known as Washington, Douglass Commonwealth – named after the famous abolitionist Frederick Douglas, who lived in Washington from 1877 until his death in 1895.
An identical state bill passed the House in 2020, but it died in the GOP-controlled Senate.
Manchin noted that even if Congress passed a statehood bill and signed it into law, “you know it will go to the Supreme Court.”