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How to watch Congress’s historic D.C. statehood hearing

District leaders will advocate for equal voting rights and full representation

A federal government building with classical columns and a small plaza.
Rayburn House Office Building
Shutterstock

On Thursday, the House of Representatives is slated to host its first public hearing about statehood for the District since 1993. A lot has changed about D.C. since then, but at least one thing hasn’t: residents still do not have representatives who can vote in either chamber of Congress—a situation that denies them power when it comes to federal laws and policies.

The hearing, which is being held by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, starts at 10 a.m. and is expected to last a few hours. Scheduled to testify are District leaders, such as Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, a local veteran, and the chair of constitutional studies at the libertarian Cato Institute. The office of Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s non-voting congressional delegate, says it anticipates “large turnout for this historic event,” which will take place at the Rayburn Building (45 Independence Avenue SW).

If you want to watch the hearing in person, the Rayburn Building opens at 7:30 a.m., but the room where the hearing will happen (2154) won’t open until 9:45 a.m., according to Norton’s office. While two overflow rooms with wheelchair-accessible seating will be available (2203 and 2247), seating will be first come, first served. “There will be residents gathering outside in Spirit of Justice Park to watch the hearing live” with TVs and speakers, per Norton’s office.

If you want to follow along at the office or home, you can tune in via the committee’s website or YouTube page. Formally speaking, the subject of the hearing is a bill Norton introduced: the Washington, D.C. Admission Act. The bill currently has 219 cosponsors, a record high.