Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton reintroduced the bill earlier this year at the beginning of the 117th Congress, and she now has well over 200 co-sponsors. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

NNPA NEWSWIRE – With GOP-led statehouses in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and other places advancing voter restriction laws, Congressman Dusty Johnson of South Dakota’s bill targets Washington, D.C. He is pushing for the District of Columbia-Maryland Reunion Act, which would leave just federal buildings and the National Mall as the only remaining structures in D.C. proper. Maryland would claim D.C. neighborhoods as its own, and the District could no longer vote for presidential electors.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

With the push for D.C. Statehood as strong as it has ever been, Republican lawmakers are doing what they have become accustomed to when legislation is proposed that could enfranchise Democrat-leaning voters – particularly those of color.

They push back.

Congressman Dusty Johnson of South Dakota has introduced a bill to repeal the 23rd amendment, a move that would effectively end the hope for D.C. Statehood.

Nine other Republicans have joined Congressman Johnson in his effort, which would prohibit District residents from voting for President.

With GOP-led statehouses in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and other places advancing voter restriction laws, Congressman Johnson’s bill targets Washington, D.C.

He is pushing for the District of Columbia-Maryland Reunion Act, which would leave just federal buildings and the National Mall as the only remaining structures in D.C. proper.

Maryland would claim D.C. neighborhoods as its own, and the District could no longer vote for presidential electors.

“It removes the need for D.C. statehood while also providing representation to individuals living in the District by merging the suburbs with Maryland,” Congressman Johnson remarked in a news release.

The congressman’s push ignores the rights and will of the more than 712,000 D.C. residents – 49 percent of whom are Black – who pay more federal taxes per capita than any state but still has no Senate representation.

It attempts to usurp the gallant decades-long effort led by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) for statehood. With Democrats controlling the White House, the House of Representatives and the slimmest of majorities in the U.S. Senate, Congressman Johnson’s bill stands little chance of passing all three bodies and getting enacted into law.

However, unless Democrats agree to abolish the filibuster, statehood also stands almost no chance of getting through the Senate.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee has heard presentations on D.C. statehood. In 2020, the committee sent Congresswoman Norton’s statehood bill to the House floor for the first time in nearly 30 years.

With Republicans then holding the majority in the Senate, the bill stalled.

Congresswoman Norton reintroduced the bill earlier this year at the beginning of the 117th Congress, and she now has well over 200 co-sponsors.

President Joe Biden has said he supports D.C. statehood.

“He believes deserve representation,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said about the President.

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