WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins weighed in on the D.C. statehood issue over the weekend when she appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper.
“Washington, D.C. is a city, it’s not a state,” Collins said on CNN Sunday morning.
The argument for many who support making D.C. the 51st state stand by the District’s motto: “Taxation without representation.”
D.C. has roughly 700,000 residents who currently pay federal taxes and who do not have equal voting representation. Proponents of the bill say statehood would help protect those residents.
D.C. becoming the 51st state would also mean the District would have two voting senators.
“There are no constitutional, historical, financial, or economic reasons why the more than 700,000 Washington, D.C. residents should not be granted statehood,” Maine U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, said after she voted to pass the bill.
Collins, however, argued there is a way to ensure that the residents of D.C. have voting representation in Congress “and that is for D.C. to become part of Maryland, just as parts of D.C. became parts of Virginia many years ago.”
“That would give the residents of D.C. a new House member and they would be represented in the Senate by Maryland senators, so I think that's a good way for us to approach this issue,” Collins said.
Collins also raised the issue of constitutionality.
It’s looking more and more like a longshot for the D.C. statehood bill, which passed in the U.S. House on April 22 in a 216-208 vote, to pass in the Senate, where Democrats hold a slim majority. According to Politico, four Senate Democrats aren't yet on board, including Maine Independent Sen. Angus King.
"I'm not signed on yet. I'm still sort of pondering it. There are just other issues that I'm more engaged in at this point. I haven't really dug into it," he said.
Another Democrat not yet on board is Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The Associated Press reported last week that Manchin opposes the bill, saying if Congress wants to make D.C. a state, “it should propose a constitutional amendment and let the people of America vote.”
In 2020, the House passed a similar statehood bill—which Pingree and Maine Rep. Jared Golden also supported—but the Senate declined to take up the legislation. The Senate version of the D.C. statehood bill is likely going to need the support of every single Democrat unless a Republican were to cross the aisle and support it.
Watch the full interview with Collins here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.