Manchin told Hoppy Kercheval of West Virginia’s MetroNews in a radio interview that a constitutional amendment was needed, not legislation.
“If Congress wants to make D.C. a state, it should propose a constitutional amendment. It should propose a constitutional amendment and let the people of America vote,” Manchin said.
The statehood bill, H.R. 51, which passed the House along party lines last month received no Republican votes, and regardless of where Machin fell on the issue, it would have had a tough time getting through the Senate where 60 votes would be needed to avoid a filibuster.
Manchin claims using legislation to achieve D.C. statehood is a waste of time and would wind up going to the nation’s highest court.
“You know it’s going to go to the Supreme Court,” Manchin said, “Every single legal scholar has told us that. So why not do it the right way and let the people vote, to see if they want to change?”
The senator’s choice blunts the momentum that statehood advocates were hoping to build on after the passage of H.R. 51 in the House. Regardless, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has already said the bill will get a vote. And in April, President Biden called on Congress to “provide for a swift and orderly transition to statehood for the people of Washington, D.C.”