The proposed Washington, D.C. Admission Act (S.51) would, if I understand it correctly, pave the way for the immediate election of two senators from the new Douglass Commonwealth state. In all likelihood, these additional senators would be Democrats and thus make it easier for the Democrats to pass further bills.

What would need to happen for the bill to pass, and what are the obstacles? It has been co-sponsored by 45 senators, which means 5 of the Democratic senators have not co-sponsored it. Are any on the record as opposed or undecided? Is this bill subject to a filibuster? Are shenanigans such meeting in the middle of night, etc., available?

Since the House seems to have already passed the identical H.R.51, I assume that if the Senate passes S.51, it will take effect?

1 Answer 1


S.51 has been introduced to the Senate. It has been read twice and discussed in committee. The next stage is floor debate.

It is subject to filibuster and S.51 will therefore not pass the Senate. It will die in a filibustered debate. The only "shenanigans" that are possible to pass it would be the "nuclear option" of removing the filibuster. I don't think the Democrats have the numbers that make this even a possibility.

If it were to pass then it would go to the President for his approval. It doesn't become law until it has been signed by the President. However there is 0% chance of it getting that far.

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    Does "die in a filibustered debate" mean an actual debate with some republican senator talking for a very long time; or some backchannel communication where the debate gets never scheduled because it would be filibustered if it were; or are both outcomes possible?
    – Arno
    Commented Jul 15, 2021 at 12:43
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    @Arno both are possible, the latter is more likely.
    – Dan Scally
    Commented Jul 15, 2021 at 13:11
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    The latter is, in fact, the only possible outcome. One of the things going on with the Filibuster now is that one is not required to talk for a very long time, or at all. Simply sending a note that you plan to filibuster it is currently procedurally the same as having done so. This is the core of Manchin's "make the filibuster hurt again" reform compromise. Commented Jul 15, 2021 at 15:55
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    You might also want to mention why the Democrats are wary of destroying the filibuster: they don’t want to end up in a situation 4 years later where Republicans have the majority again and start passing hundreds of laws without even bothering to speak to Democrats. Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 5:01

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