Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the Constitution states: “The Congress shall have Power…[t]o exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings.”
The Washington, D.C. Admission Act would reduce the size of the federal district to a small strip of land that includes the U.S. Capitol Building, the White House, and the National Mall. The bill would also give Washington, D.C. one representative in the U.S. House of Representatives and two senators in the U.S. Senate, increasing the number of voting members of Congress to 538.
Simply put, the Constitution must be amended to make Washington, D.C. a state. Despite all but one House Democrat voting in favor of H.R. 1, which stated “findings” that D.C. should become a state, this fact remains true. As Roger Pilon of the Cato Institute once noted, this has been the conclusion of every presidential administration since John F. Kennedy, with the exception of the Obama administration.
Even in the Obama administration, though, the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) came to the same conclusion that previous administrations had reached. Then-Attorney General Eric Holder didn’t like the conclusion reached by OLC, so he sought and received the conclusion that he wanted from the Office of the Solicitor General.
Of course, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act is a political ploy, like most moves by the left of late. The admission of Washington, D.C. into the Union would bring one representative into the House of Representatives and two senators in the Senate. The District of Columbia, which was given three electoral votes through the 23rd Amendment, is overwhelmingly Democratic and would ensure more political power for Democrats in Congress, particularly in the Senate.
FreedomWorks will count the vote for H.R. 51 on our 2021 Congressional Scorecard and reserves the right to score any amendments, motions, or other related votes. The scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes Members of the House and Senate who consistently vote to support economic freedom and individual liberty.
Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks