Rep. Comer: Dems Want DC Statehood to Get 2 More Senate Seats Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) makes an opening statement during a hearing to discuss unsustainable drug prices with CEO's of major drug companies on September 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Greg Nash/Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Monday, 19 April 2021 02:52 PM
Rep. James Comer Monday argued against Democrats' call for statehood for Washington, D.C., pointing out that the nation's founding fathers wanted the capital to remain independent of any state and calling a vote coming up this week on the issue a move from the party to carve out two more Senate seats for itself.
"It is the best-represented city in America in Congress," the Kentucky Republican said on Fox News' "America's Newsroom." "Each member of Congress spends half their year in Washington, D.C. If Washington, D.C., needs something, the members of Congress will make sure of it."
Further, the nation's capital, through the 23rd Amendment, gets three Electoral College votes, Comer pointed out, so "pound for pound, Washington, D.C., has more input than any major city on presidential elections."
The House is scheduled to vote Thursday on H.R. 51, also known as the Washington D.C. Admission Act after the House Oversight and Reform Committee passed the measure earlier this month in a 25-19 party-line vote.
The resolution has 215 co-sponsors and will most likely pass the House with all Republicans voting against it.
The city's residents overwhelmingly voted for statehood in 2016. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., the bill's sponsor said last week that "as American citizens, D.C. residents are entitled to equal citizenship, but they have also earned it."
However, Comer said that the merits can be argued and he can give "dozens of reasons why it's a bad idea," but at the end of the day, the push is "about a Democrat political power grab to create two new Democrat Senate seats so they can end the filibuster and pass all the liberal progressive legislation that Nancy Pelosi is forcing down the throats of the Democrats in the house."
Comer promised to do "everything in my power" against the bill and predicted that House and Senate Republicans will be united in voting against it.
He added that the idea is "absolutely" linked to Democrats' calls to add four justices to the Supreme Court.
"When you have Joe Manchin already on the record saying he won't support ending the filibuster and he is not inclined to vote to pack the court, then the Democrats realize they need to go to plan B," said Comer. "That's to create two new Democrat Senate seats."
Meanwhile, he said that his more moderate Democrat colleagues are "scared to death" about liberal votes they'll be forced to make.
"Privately, they are frustrated, but they're being threatened with primaries," said Comer. "That's what they'll do without thinking, about not going along with (Senate Majority Leader) Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi. They'll dangle a primary opponent in front of them. In the house, Nancy Pelosi can only lose two votes right now. If she loses two votes, the bill is tied and it fails. So she has no margin to work with here and we know the Senate is 50/50."