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Democrats in Congress are renewing their push for Washington D.C. statehood with their party in the majority in the House and Senate.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the non-voting House member representing the District, has reintroduced the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, which has picked up 210 Democratic co-sponsors so far. Delaware Democratic Sen. Tom Carper introduced the Senate version of the bill, which has 39 Democratic co-sponsors to date. 

Under the bill, the Mayor of the District of Columbia “shall issue a proclamation for the first elections to Congress of two Senators and one Representative of the commonwealth,” and the “bill applies current District laws to the commonwealth and continues pending judicial proceedings.”

House Democrats passed D.C. statehood in the last session of Congress 232-180. There were no Republicans in the House who voted in favor of the bill. The statehood effort could pass in the Democrat-led House again, but it faces obstacles in the Senate due, in part, to the legislative filibuster. 

“The filibuster is just a procedural issue about whether debate ends and it proceeds to a vote,” Paul Strauss, D.C.’s shadow senator, told Just the News, referring to the 60-vote threshold to overcome a filibuster. “So obviously, if you don’t get past the filibuster, you don’t get a vote, but in order to get the vote you need 51 votes. Do we have 51 votes today? I can’t with confidence, say that we do. We know we’ve got at least 40.”

In the past, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has referred to the Democrats’ statehood push as an attempt to pack the Senate.

“They want free health care for illegal immigrants, yet they offer no protection at all for unborn Americans,” McConnell said in his GOP convention speech over the summer. “They want to pack the Supreme Court with liberals intent on eroding our constitutional rights. And they want to codify all this by making the swamp itself — Washington, D.C. — America’s 51st state. With two more liberal senators we cannot undo the damage they’ve done.”

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines and Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton were among the GOP lawmakers who opposed the Democrats’ effort to pass statehood for D.C. last year.

“This is about expanding the Senate map to accommodate the most radical agenda that I’ve ever seen since I’ve been up here,” Graham said at the time.

Democrats in Congress are renewing their push for Washington D.C. statehood with their party in the majority in the House and Senate.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the non-voting House member representing the District, has reintroduced the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, which has picked up 210 Democratic co-sponsors so far. Delaware Democratic Sen. Tom Carper introduced the Senate version of the bill, which has 39 Democratic co-sponsors to date. 

Under the bill, the Mayor of the District of Columbia “shall issue a proclamation for the first elections to Congress of two Senators and one Representative of the commonwealth,” and the “bill applies current District laws to the commonwealth and continues pending judicial proceedings.”

House Democrats passed D.C. statehood in the last session of Congress 232-180. There were no Republicans in the House who voted in favor of the bill. The statehood effort could pass in the Democrat-led House again, but it faces obstacles in the Senate due, in part, to the legislative filibuster. 

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“The filibuster is just a procedural issue about whether debate ends and it proceeds to a vote,” Paul Strauss, D.C.’s shadow senator, told Just the News, referring to the 60-vote threshold to overcome a filibuster. “So obviously, if you don’t get past the filibuster, you don’t get a vote, but in order to get the vote you need 51 votes. Do we have 51 votes today? I can’t with confidence, say that we do. We know we’ve got at least 40.”

In the past, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has referred to the Democrats’ statehood push as an attempt to pack the Senate.

“They want free health care for illegal immigrants, yet they offer no protection at all for unborn Americans,” McConnell said in his GOP convention speech over the summer. “They want to pack the Supreme Court with liberals intent on eroding our constitutional rights. And they want to codify all this by making the swamp itself — Washington, D.C. — America’s 51st state. With two more liberal senators we cannot undo the damage they’ve done.”

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines and Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton were among the GOP lawmakers who opposed the Democrats’ effort to pass statehood for D.C. last year.

“This is about expanding the Senate map to accommodate the most radical agenda that I’ve ever seen since I’ve been up here,” Graham said at the time.

Daines said that most voters outside of the D.C. area agree with the Republican position on statehood for D.C.

Daines’ office was not available for comment on the Democrats’ renewed push for D.C. statehood.

South Dakota Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson has reintroduced a bill that would “cede most of Washington D.C. to the state of Maryland. Norton argued that the bill is evidence that the GOP realizes D.C. statehood is gaining steam in the new session of Congress.

“The retrocession bill demonstrates Republican fear of the momentum our D.C. statehood bill is rapidly achieving,” Norton said in a statement about the District of Columbia-Maryland Reunion Act. “The retrocession bill has no support from either the District or Maryland. In fact, a huge majority of D.C. residents (86%) voted for statehood in a 2016 referendum.”

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Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York says he’s ‘actively exploring’ a 2022 gubernatorial bid

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Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York has announced that he’s exploring the possibility of a gubernatorial bid.

The GOP congressman’s announcement comes as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, faces allegations of sexual harassment and criticism related to nursing home deaths amid the coronavirus crisis.

“With his nursing home cover-up & abuse coming more to light, it’s clear #CuomosGottaGo. As a NYer, I can’t sit back as Cuomo attacks our freedoms, our wallets & our safety. After many msgs of encouragement & discussing w/ my fam, I’m actively exploring a 2022 run for Gov of NY,” Zeldin tweeted

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Supreme Court hears Arizona case with major future voting rights implications

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The Supreme Court is hearing a major voting rights case Tuesday that could allow state legislatures to change voting laws, with some concern a high court ruling could make it harder for people to vote.

The court concluded hearing arguments at midday and is expected to make a decision in June.

Many of the arguments between the Supreme Court Justices centered on perceived voter discrimination such as Georgia’s prohibition of early voting on Sundays or forcing voters to vote in assigned precincts.

The Supreme Court is hearing a major voting rights case Tuesday that could allow state legislatures to change voting laws, with some concern a high court ruling could make it harder for people to vote.

The court concluded hearing arguments at midday and is expected to make a decision in June.

Many of the arguments between the Supreme Court Justices centered on perceived voter discrimination such as Georgia’s prohibition of early voting on Sundays or forcing voters to vote in assigned precincts.

The legal battle centers around a pair of election rules in the 2020 presidential election battleground state Arizona. The court will debate two voting measures and whether or not they should be allowed.

The first measure, the out-of-precinct policy, discards ballots from those who vote in the wrong precinct. The second rule outlaws so-called “ballot harvesting” and allows only election officials, mail carriers, family or household members, or caregivers to return another person’s mail-in ballot. Those who run afoul of the ballot-collection law face up to two years in prison and a $150,000 fine, according to CBS News.

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“People who are poor and less well educated on ballots probably will find it more difficult to comply with just about every voting rule than do people who are more affluent and have the benefit of more education,” Justice Samuel Alito said.

The court will also decide on section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which bars discrimination in voting procedures. The Supreme Court took out key provisions of the Act in 2013 which allowed local and state governments to not have to get permission from the court to change certain aspects of voting laws.

The Supreme Court will be hearing testimonies from GOP lawyer Michael Carvin and Arizona’s Attorney General Mark Brnovitch, who first brought the case against the Democratic National Committee after two previous appeals to lower courts ranging back to 2016. The court also heard from a DNC lawyer who opposed the voting restrictions.

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