On Friday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) told reporters in his home state that he would refuse to vote in favor of a bill introduced in Congress that would make the District of Columbia the 51st state, according to WVNews:
“It (the 23rd Amendment) gave D.C. residents the right to vote in presidential elections, but it complicates D.C.’s pathway to statehood, because Congress had three options to choose from back in 1961,” Manchin said. “They could either have D.C. statehood. They could have retrocession to Maryland. … Or they could have granted electoral votes to D.C. … Congress selected, at that time, option three.
“… Bobby Kennedy said in 1963 that Congress and the states embodied this choice in the form of a constitutional amendment. Hence, it is arguable that the choice can now be reconsidered only by means of another constitutional amendment. He said that we are a government of the people, by the people and for the people, and it seems to me that’s who should be answering this question. Let the American people decide.”
However, those who do support making the nation’s capital a state argue that the Constitution does not preclude D.C. from becoming a state if Congress votes to do so, with Stasha Rhodes, campaign director of 51 for 51 noting:
“No member of the Senate should deny voting rights to 700,000 mostly Black and Brown Washingtonians based on a flimsy understanding of the Constitution and American history.”
Twitter also exploded with angry postings aimed at the West Virginia senator:
Some notes for Joe Manchin:
1. DC Statehood does NOT require a constitutional amendment. Congress CAN grant 700,000 Americans a vote & fair representation.
— Nick Knudsen 🇺🇸 (@NickKnudsenUS) April 30, 2021
NARRATOR: “Joe Manchin was a senator from West Virginia, which became a new state by simply splitting from Confederate Virginia. No constitutional amendment was necessary.” https://t.co/bIjnfaAcUo
— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@BettyBowers) April 30, 2021
Article IV Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution
Nothing there about an Amendment or national vote, it says CONGRESS has the authority to admit new states into the Union.
— TY MORG (@pugbandit) April 30, 2021
Y’know there are constitutional scholars who argue West Virginia was improperly admitted, if Manchin wants to go to war over thishttps://t.co/BKQmteVvdt
— dylan matthews (@dylanmatt) April 30, 2021
Senator Joe Manchin deserves an Oscar for playing a Democrat, because all it is for him is acting.
— Rev. Rob Lee (@roblee4) April 30, 2021
Featured Image Via NBC News