While the issue enjoys historic democratic backing in the Senate, it will not succeed without Manchin’s backing in the tightly divided chamber and the existence of legislative obstruction, which requires 60 votes to pass the legislation.
Some Democrats who support the bill admitted it was not a top priority and said they were taking a more pragmatic approach and focusing on issues such as infrastructure.
Before the House voted on the bill last Thursday, which passed 216-208, Manchin had said he was “still discussing it”, adding that he had many other things on the way.
In the radio interview, he said he has since taken a “deep dive” with his staff, reviewing the findings made by the Department of Justice under the Carter and Reagan administrations, as well as the attorney general’s comments. of the time, Robert Kennedy. They all determined that DC’s statehood would require a constitutional amendment, he said.
Manchin cited the 23rd Amendment – which granted DC residents the right to vote, along with Electoral College votes – as something that complicates the path to statehood. He added that congressional action would likely result in a Supreme Court challenge.
“All the legal scholars have told us that, so why not do it the right way and let people vote to see if they want to change?” he said.