A 51st state in America? The idea is not as far off as it sounds. If you were born before August 21, 1959, you lived in a world where the United States was comprised of only 48 states. During WWII, Alaska and Hawaii were merely territories of America , and according to The United States Census of 2012 , about 79 million people still living in the country today were alive when the US had only 48 states.
A discussion for years has been ongoing about whether another United States territory, Puerto Rico, should be the 51st state – for years, it has been the shoe-in for statehood .
However, in an interesting new push by Delaware Senator Tom Carpenter, Puerto Rico might be beat in the race to statehood by one of the most misunderstood areas in regards to statehood in the country: The District of Columbia, or, as it is better known, Washington, D.C.
According to Wikipedia : Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as “Washington”, “the District”, or simply “D.C.”, is the capital of the United States. The signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country’s East Coast. The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress and the District is therefore not a part of any U.S. state.
What is officially the land that makes up the federal District of Columbia was originally land donated by the states of Maryland and Virginia. One of the few issues of living in America, but not living in a state is that residents lack federal representation. But all of that could soon change.
Regarding the new bill to make Washington, DC a state called “New Columbia”, The Washington Post reports: “[Senator] Carper is a Democrat and a longtime supporter of statehood for the District. His bill would shrink Washington, D.C., to a small enclave including the White House, the Capitol and the National Mall. The rest of the nation’s capital would become the “State of New Columbia.”
Last fall, Carper held the first Congressional hearing on statehood for the District in more than 20 years. But the bill didn’t make it to the Senate floor for a vote and had no chance of being taken up by the Republican-led House.
This year, the bill has 17 co-sponsors in the Senate, which Carper says is a record.“
Bernie Sanders, a high-profile United States senator, has agreed to co-sponsor the bill, according to sources. RT.com reported :
Under the proposed legislation, residents of “New Columbia” would obtain full representation in Congress.
The bill, entitled the New Columbia Admission Act, would separate the federal parts of DC from the residential areas that currently comprise the majority of the city. The areas surrounding the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court and the National Mall would remain as the seat of the federal government, and would still be called the District of Columbia. The rest of the area would become the state of New Columbia.
Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont, told The Hill newspaper in a statement that it is ‘morally wrong‘ to block District residents from federal representation.
‘Washington D.C. is currently home to more people than the state of Vermont, yet its residents lack voting representation in Congress,‘ Sanders said. ‘I think it is morally wrong for American citizens who pay federal taxes, fight in our wars and live in our country to be denied the basic right to full congressional representation.‘”
Time will tell if the current generation will witness the formation of “New Columbia” – America’s 51st state. It would be the first new state in almost 56 years. Social media users have already taken to updating the flag to include 51 stars:
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