Jan 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Bowser renews call for D.C. statehood after U.S. Capitol siege

Picture of Muriel Bowser
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images

D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) this week renewed the call for Washington to become the nation's 51st state.

Why it matters: Democrats support D.C. statehood because it's likely to add two more senators from their party. Two turning points this week — the siege of the U.S. Capitol and Democrats new control of the Senate — have built momentum for the issue of D.C. statehood to come up at the start of the congressional session and President-elect Joe Biden's presidency.

  • Advocates also argue that D.C. should become a state to receive fair representation at the federal level.

What they're saying: "[W]e are ready to finally fix this injustice by getting statehood on President Biden’s desk within the first 100 days of the 117th Congress," Bowser said in a statement.

  • "With our seats at the table, we can help build back better than ever before," she continued.
  • Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.'s only non-voting House member, told Insider that statehood is "in sight."

Of note: The Capitol siege also prompted the call of the D.C. National Guard — which can only be summoned by the executive branch.

  • The District of Columbia Council issued a statement on Wednesday saying, "the Department of Defense denied a request by Mayor Muriel Bowser to expand the responsibilities of the District of Columbia National Guard..."
  • Vice President Mike Pence then encouraged the Pentagon mid-afternoon to rapidly deploy the National Guard to the Capitol, sources briefed tell Axios' Jonathan Swan.

"Congress must immediately transfer command of the District of Columbia National Guard from the president of the United States and put it squarely under the command and control of the District of Columbia," Bowser said.

  • "We would not be restricted in any way for how to deploy the Guard, so we wouldn’t have to clear a deployment plan with the secretary of the Army."
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