A majority of Democrats in the US House of Representatives, in which the Democrats have a majority, voted for the city of Washington to become the 51st US state, despite Republican opposition.
Republicans are expected to try to block the Senate initiative, which envisions a tough fight with an uncertain outcome, as both they and the Democrats have 50 members in the Senate, Reuters reported.
Republicans are particularly opposed to the proposal, fearing that turning Washington into a federal state would permanently provide Democrats with two additional members in the Senate, news agencies reported.
It takes 60 votes to pass in the Senate unless Democrats get rid of the filibuster that will allow a simple majority of votes.
Congress passed an identical bill in 2020, but it fell to the then Republican-controlled Senate.
The Biden administration supports the encouragement of statehood.
“For too long, more than 700,000 people in Washington have been deprived of full representation in the US Congress,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement earlier this week.
The new federal state would be called the “Washington Douglas Commonwealth”, after the first American president George Washington and Frederick Douglas, a slave who became a prominent fighter against slavery in the 19th century.
The last territories to receive state status were Hawaii and Alaska in 1959.