216 lawmakers supported the initiative, while 208 voted against it.
The House of Representatives of the US Congress on Thursday approved a bill to give the country’s capital the status of a state.
According to the press service of the lower house of the US legislature, 216 congressmen spoke in support of the initiative, 208 voted against it. If the bill is passed by the Senate and approved by the President, the American capital will become the 51st US state to be named Washington, Douglas Commonwealth-in honor of the black rights activist and leader of the movement to abolish slavery, Frederick Douglass (1818-1895).
To pass the bill, the Senate must now be approved; only after that, the document can be sent for signature to the President of the country. As The Hill newspaper noted earlier, the approval of the bill by the lower house, where the majority is for the Democrats, was expected. Still, in the Senate, where the seats between Republicans and Democrats are equally divided, the document is unlikely to gain the necessary support for its consideration and subsequent approval.
It is not the first time that the US Congress is considering an initiative to grant the capital the status of a state. Last summer, the House of Representatives already passed a similar bill, but the Senate did not approve it.
State status would allow the district to be represented in Congress by two senators and one congressman. At the same time, most residents of the American capital usually vote for Democratic candidates in elections, against which Republicans criticize the idea of giving Washington the status of a state.
Discussions about granting the capital the status of the state resumed after the protests and demonstrations that took place in the country last year, caused by the death in Minneapolis (Minnesota) of an African-American George Floyd, and related disputes about the use of law enforcement forces to calm the situation. In particular, the current status allows the president to control the metropolitan police in emergencies.