WASHINGTON (WCSC) - U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham says he strongly opposes efforts to make the District of Columbia the country’s 51st state.
Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, released a statement Monday after the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation with a vote of 232-180 that would grant statehood to Washington, D.C.
“This effort, on its face, is unconstitutional and contrary to the Founding Fathers desires,” Graham said.
Graham said the District of Columbia was established as a neutral venue to conduct the affairs of the nation.
“It was not set up to be an independent state and should not be one today,” he said. “This is a brazen power grab by the Democratic Party to change the makeup of Congress in a manner that is detrimental to South Carolina and every other state.”
Graham called the push an attempt to “add two more Democratic votes in the U.S. Senate, effectively canceling out the votes of a state like South Carolina with two Republican senators.”
A release from Graham’s office states 1st District Congressman Joe Cunningham and 6th District Congressman Jim Clyburn voted in support of the bill.
The bill would create a new state of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, in honor of Maryland-born Frederick Douglass. It also would reduce the size of the federal district to a tourist-friendly area that includes the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court, federal monuments and the federal executive, legislative and judicial office buildings adjacent to the National Mall and the Capitol.
Those who favor statehood for the nation’s capital argue that Congress has an obligation to make sure the district’s 700,000 residents are allowed full voting rights.