While Democrats had hoped to change the filibuster rules so that they could ram election-related legislation through the U.S. Senate, they have been unable to do so because some Democratic senators will not support targeting the filibuster. But during a speech on Monday, Democratic Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said that the situation would not even be an issue if the city had two senators.
Bowser said that “we cannot talk about voting rights without talking about the disenfranchisement of 700,000 taxpaying Americans right here in Washington D.C., a legacy of slavery and Jim Crow America. Today we’re talking about the filibuster, but consider this: We wouldn’t even be in this situation if Washington D.C. had two senators, the two senators we deserve.”
The filibuster is a procedural hurdle that requires three-fifths of senators to agree in order to advance towards a vote — it serves as a check on whichever party holds the Senate majority.
Last week Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona delivered a speech in which she reiterated her staunch support for the filibuster.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia issued a statement last week in which he again declared his position on the matter, saying that he “will not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster.”
If Washington D.C. was ever granted statehood, its senators would almost certainly be Democrats. The district has gone blue in every presidential election since 1964, which was the first time the district cast electoral votes in a presidential contest.
“DC elects a non-voting Delegate to the US House of Representatives who can draft legislation but cannot vote,” according to a D.C. government web page that advocates for DC statehood. “DC residents do not have a voice in Senate Committees or on the Senate Floor.”