Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and a group of more than a dozen senators are calling for Washington, D.C., to become the 51st state in the nation.
In their proposal, the federal government would still maintain control over portions of the nation’s capital that surround the White House, Congress, Supreme Court and National Mall.
The rest of the nation’s capital would be renamed New Columbia and given full representation in Congress under the legislation introduced by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.).
Sen. Sanders (I-Vt.), one of 16 co-sponsors of the New Columbia Admission Act, said 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 told The Hill in a statement. "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.”
The sentiment was echoed by Carper.
“The District of Columbia is not just a collection of government offices, monuments and museums,” Carper said in a statement. "It is home to more than 600,000 people who build lives, families, and careers here. These Americans serve in our military, die defending our country, serve on our juries, and pay federal taxes. Yet, despite their civic contributions, they are not afforded a vote in either chamber of Congress."