WASHINGTON (WJZ) — The House Oversight Committee held a hearing Thursday on a bill that would pave the way for the District of Columbia to become the country’s 51st state.
The hearing on H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, was the first hearing of its kind in more than 25 years, the Oversight Committee’s Democratic press office said.
A number of D.C. residents and officials, including Mayor Muriel Bowser, testified during the hearing.
In total, 220 representatives — all Democrats — are co-sponsoring the legislation, which was first introduced in January. Among the sponsors are Maryland Reps. Elijah Cummings, Steny Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is also co-sponsoring the bill.
Cummings, the chair of the Oversight Committee, missed the hearing due to a medical procedure.
The committee plans to review the bill in the coming months with a goal of bringing it to the House floor, the Oversight Committee’s Democratic press office said.
An identical bill, S.B. 631, was introduced in the Senate in February and referred to the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Thirty-three Democratic senators, including both Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, are sponsoring that bill, along with independent Vermont senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
As currently written, the new state would be made up of all of the district’s current territory, with specific exceptions for federal buildings and monuments.
The new state would get two senators and one representative in the House.