Four U.S. senators moved Thursday to grant the District its longstanding wish -- statehood -- but the proposal is poised to encounter the traditionally heavy resistance on Capitol Hill that has stonewalled similar legislation in the past.
"This bill seeks to end a longstanding injustice," said Sen. Tom Carper, the Delaware Democrat who authored the measure. "It is incumbent upon those of us who enjoy the right and the privilege of full voting rights to take up the cause of our fellow citizens here in the District of Columbia and find a solution."
Under Carper's plan, the District would be admitted as the nation's 51st state with the name "New Columbia" following an affirmative vote of the city's residents.
The proposal mirrors one offered last week by D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District's non-voting member of the House.
"D.C. residents have always had all of the obligations of citizenship and surely after more than 200 years, the nation is overdue in pairing full obligations with full rights," Norton said Thursday after Carper's announcement.
But the proposals from Norton and Carper have little chance of success in a Congress that remains partially controlled by Republicans.
Although GOP leaders have signaled their interest in giving the District greater authority over its own budget, they have not made any effort to press for statehood.SClBSClBLast year, measures similar to those offered this month by Carper and Norton died in their respective chambers.