14:02 GMT12 April 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Washington DC should become the 51st US state and Congress must support this initiative, the US capitol city's mayor, Muriel Bowser, said during a congressional hearing on Monday.

    "I urge all of you to do what our Founding Fathers and over two centuries of lawmakers failed to correct and grant full democracy to DC [District of Columbia] residents through statehood," Bowser told lawmakers. "The incremental enfranchisement of the District has historically been a bipartisan effort but is in no way a substitute for full representation in Congress."

    On January 27, a group of US Senate Democrats led by Senator Tom Carper introduced legislation to grant Washington DC statehood and make it the 51st state of the United States.

    Bowser challenged the major arguments of the numerous opponents of the idea to change the status of the US capital.

    "They say Washington DC statehood is unconstitutional, even though several constitutional experts have repeatedly declared that to be false," she said. "They say Washington DC is too small, or our economy is not diverse enough. Even though we’re bigger by population than two states and pay more federal taxes per capita than any state, and we pay more total federal taxes than 22 states."

    The US Constitution designates the United States capital as a federal district - the District of Columbia - without formal representation in Congress.

    Democrats need the support of at least ten Republicans in the US Senate to make Washington DC a state. Republicans have resisted, suggesting that the effort seeks to expand Democratic interests on Capitol Hill.

    A vast majority of Washington DC residents lean Democrat, so granting statehood to the capital is thought by the GOP to enable Democrats to secure a majority in Congress.

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