Last updated on: 3/6/2024 | Author:

Should Washington, DC, Be Granted U.S. Statehood?

The debate over whether to grant Washington, D.C., representation in Congress has been raging since 1801 when the district lost voting representation and became the seat of the US federal government. However, the statehood debate did not pick up steam until 1979 when J. Edward Guinan, a former priest, authored the first statehood initiative. Passed by a majority of D.C. residents in 1980, the initiative called for a constitutional convention to create a constitution for a “State of New Columbia” that would then be sent to Congress and President Ronald Reagan for approval in 1982 to grant DC statehood. The New Columbia Statehood commission later found no evidence that the request was ever considered by the federal government. For more on D.C. statehood, explore the ProCon debate.

PRO (yes)

CON (no)


Donald Trump

“DC will never be a state. You mean District of Columbia, a state? Why? So we can have two more Democratic — Democrat senators and five more congressmen? No thank you. That’ll never happen…They want to do that so they pick up two automatic Democrat — you know it’s 100 percent Democrat, basically — so why would the Republicans ever do that? That’ll never happen unless we have some very, very stupid Republicans around that I don’t think you do. You understand that, right?… No, it’s not gonna happen. And how many House seats is it? Like four, three or four? Whatever it is. You’d have three or four more congressmen and two more senators, every single day of every single year. And it would never change. No, the Republicans would never do that.”

Editors’ Note: Trump previously expressed an unclear opinion about D.C. statehood.


Steven Nelson and Ebony Bowden, “Trump Says Washington, DC, Will Never Be a State–because of All the Democrats,”, May 5, 2020

Not Clear or Not Found

Joe Biden:

“I support D.C. Statehood and home-rule – but I don’t support some of the changes D.C. Council put forward over the Mayor’s objections – such as lowering penalties for carjackings. If the Senate votes to overturn what D.C. Council did – I’ll sign it.”

Editors’ Note: On Mar. 20, 2023, Biden signed the Senate bill overriding the above-mentioned changes to the D.C. crime code. Because many see this action as in direct opposition to D.C. statehood and autonomy, ProCon has marked Biden as “unclear” on this topic.


Joe Biden,, Mar. 2, 2023
Source for Editors’ Note: Rose Horowitch, “Biden Signs Measure to Repeal Controversial D.C. Crime Bill,”, Mar. 21, 2023

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.:

No position as of Aug. 31, 2023.