South Dakota Congressman’s bill looks to ‘circumvent’ call for DC statehood

Next week, the House Oversight and Reform Committee is slated to hear the case for D.C. statehood – but at least one Republican Congressman hopes his bill will derail that campaign.

READ MORE: House Oversight and Reform Committee to hold DC statehood hearing March 22

In January, South Dakota Rep. Dusty Johnson reintroduced a bill that would reintegrate much of the District into the state of Maryland.

According to the Washingtonian, the measure had gone largely unnoticed until Capitol Hill reporter Jamie Dupree launched a series of Tweets earlier in the week detailing the bill’s impact.

READ MORE: House of Representatives adopts bill to make DC 51st state

A press release on Johnson’s website indicates that, under the District of Columbia-Maryland Reunion Act, the National Mall and the federal buildings would be the only thing left in the District of Columbia proper.

The remainder of the city’s neighborhoods would be absorbed into Maryland, and repeal the 23rd Amendment, which franchises the D.C. residents in presidential elections.

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Johnson says the move will "kill two birds with one stone."

"It removes the need for D.C. statehood, while also providing representation to individuals living in the district by merging the suburbs with Maryland," Johnson said.

Officials in D.C. have made hard pushes for statehood in recent years – arguing that residents in the nation’s capital pay federal taxes, but lack a voting representative in Congress, which has the final say in local affairs.

Last year, the House Oversight and Reform Committee passed Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton’s bill, sending it to the House floor for the first time since 1993.

Congress passed the bill, but it stalled out in the Senate.

Norton re-introduced the bill in January, with 202 co-sponsors. The bill’s co-sponsor number has since swelled to 212.

The current incarnation has support from some of the legislature’s most powerful Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.