The first Senate hearing on D.C. statehood in 20 years is scheduled for next week.
"Equality for the District of Columbia: Discussing the Implications of S. 132, the New Columbia Admission Act of 2013" will be held Monday at 3 p.m. by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs. The committee is chaired by Sen. Thomas Carper (D-Dela.), who introduced the statehood bill with Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) last year.
“Washington, D.C. is not just a collection of government offices, monuments and museums; it is home to more than 600,000 people who work, study, raise families, and start businesses,” Carper said at the time. “These citizens serve in our military, fight in our wars, die for our country, and pay federal taxes. But when it comes to having a voice in Congress, suddenly these men and women do not count."
The New Columbia Admission Act of 2013 has 16 co-sponsors in the Senate — including Majority Leader Harry Reid — and 91 co-sponsors in the House.
“As chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Senator Carper has a great many responsibilities, but the statehood hearing he announced today shows how seriously he has taken his District of Columbia jurisdiction," D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said in a release. "The Carper statehood hearing, the President’s endorsement of statehood in July, and Majority Leader Harry Reid’s announcement of his cosponsorship show a troika of leadership that demonstrates the growing strength of equal citizenship for D.C. residents."
Long-time statehood activist Josh Burch said via email he's "elated" by the news.
"We have a long way to go but this is a significant and historic step forward," Burch, who runs Neighbors United for Statehood, said. "I hope all District citizens take off work that afternoon to show support for full equality through statehood in both the hearing room and the streets and neighborhoods where live and work. The time is now to show America what we want and what we deserve."