Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders joined a group of more than a dozen senators who are calling for Washington, D.C., to become the nation's 51st state.

The proposal, introduced by Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., would name the nation's capital New Columbia and give it full representation in Congress. The federal government would still maintain control over the portions of the District of Columbia that surround the White House, Congress, Supreme Court and National Mall.

"The District of Columbia is not just a collection of government offices, monuments and museums," Carper said in a statement Thursday about the New Columbia Admission Act. "It is home to more than 600,000 people who build lives, families and careers here. These Americans serve in our military, die defending our country, serve on our juries and pay federal taxes. Yet, despite their civic contributions, they are not afforded a vote in either chamber of Congress."

Sanders, the Vermont Independent running for the Democratic ticket, is one of 16 cosponsors of the legislation. Other notables include Democratic Sens. Harry Reid, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., introduced companion legislation to Carper's in the House in January.

"As my colleagues and I put forward this legislation on behalf of the citizens of the District of Columbia today, I would like to acknowledge the hard work and advocacy of Rep. Norton, Mayor [Muriel] Bowser and her colleagues in D.C. government, D.C.'s shadow senators Paul Strauss and Michael Brown, and the dozens of citizen advocates for D.C. statehood who have worked so hard to build support for this important and just cause," Carper said.