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Hoyer: D.C. voting rights bill won't come up this session

Updated: 11:15

By Ben Pershing
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said a D.C. voting rights bill will not come up this session, in part because of opposition to an amendment that would have eliminated most of the District's gun-control laws.

"At this point in time I do not see the ability to move it in this session of Congress," said Hoyer (D-Md.), who added that he was "extraordinarily disappointed."

D.C. has long sought a vote in the House, but many city leaders have expressed concerned about the gun amendment, and Hoyer blamed the amendment for preventing the measure from advancing.

A year ago, the Senate passed a D.C. voting rights bill for the first time since 1978, but lawmakers attached language that would wipe out most local gun laws and restrict the D.C. Council's power to enact new ones. House leaders shelved the legislation when it became clear that it would be difficult to block the gun amendment.

Under the voting measure, the House would add two members: one to the overwhelmingly Democratic District and the other, temporarily, to Republican-leaning Utah. That seat would then go to the state next in line for a representative based on the 2010 Census.

Hoyer said the bill was felled by a "combination of issues." In addition to divisions over provisions concerning the District's gun laws, the measure was also hurt by Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch's (R) declaration that he would oppose it because his state would be granted an At-Large congressional seat, rather than a new district whose lines the state's leaders could draw on their own.

But while Hoyer alluded to the Utah dispute, he made clear that the gun control language was the biggest stumbling block.

"The price was too high," Hoyer said.

By Ben Pershing  |  April 20, 2010; 11:02 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

Either amend the United States Constitution giving the District of Columbia statehood with two United States Senators and the proper number (at least one) of Representatives.

In the alternative, return most of DC, except, of course, the federal government's buildings and land situated in the District of Columbia to the State of Maryland.

Otherwise, allow DC citizens and residents the right to determine what state they desire to be a legal, but absent resident of and return the District of Columbia's day-to-day opertional management to the status of a "Federal Commission" with the residents of DC voting for those who will serve on the federal government's "District of Columbia Commission."

The United States government and all of its taxpayers would bear "full" responsibility for all of the District of Columbia's necessary, proper, and reasonable day-to-day (month-to-month and year-to-year) governmental operations, which will by necessity negate and cancel all District of Columbia Income and property taxation, not federal taxes.

I am liberal and progressive however our federal constitution does not allow DC to be a state unless it is amended to allow its statehood status. And, yes, I realize many of those I love, respect, miss, care for and about are residents of DC. Many will disagree with me on what I have expressed above; however, on this one they may say I am conservative, but the law here is the law. The supreme law of our nation is its constitution and its treaties.

Any such law allowing DC voting rights in Congress should be challenged in federal court as being unconstitutional.

Posted by: smrg557 | April 22, 2010 6:34 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: RCDC

After the Supreme Court struck down DC's old gun laws in 2008, the District passed new gun regulations that DO conform to the 2nd ammendment. The new DC laws survived a Federal court challenge just a few weeks ago.
----------------------------------
RONG -

The logic - such as it was - that was used by the Judge was based not on the Majority Opinion, but the Minority. Stevens wrote it, and Ginsburg, Souter, and Beyer supported it. They were on the losing side of Heller.

It is in the process of appeal to the Circuit Court.
===========================================
The gun ammendment on the DC voting bill would strip the 600,000 tax paying US citizens of the District from enacting ANY local gun regulations. So if this provision passed and DC wanted to allow open carry it wouldn't be possible.
----------------------------------------
No it would not. The Ensign Amendment did away with the registration and licensing rules that the DC Council dreamed up, allowed DC residents to buy guns at FFLs in Virginia and Maryland (there are no gun stores in the District, and zoning keeps it that way), and eliminated the ridiculous storage rules. It specifically did not cover carrying - concealed or open - in the public space.

Posted by: GHF_LRLTD | April 20, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Where does Mr. OBAMA stand on this issue since he and family are now residents of DC, or doesn't it matter since he can go back to Illinois to vote??????

Posted by: herbertfoley7 | April 20, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

It's a shell game intended to weaken any DC voting rights bill. Pass the law, with or without the gun legislation. You know they're gonna pass the gun legislation at a later date anyway.

Posted by: dc1020008 | April 20, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

This is what is wrong with this crazy government. Gun laws have nothing to do with something as important as giving the residents of the District of Columbia representation with a vote in Congress. Talk about unconstitutional that the millions of people in DC are taxed but have no real representation in Congress. If suddenly these gun-toting teabaggers were told that their vote for a Congressperson was no longer valid they would go ballistic for sure. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a senator with no vote is a joke indeed. I left DC for just that reason. I was tired of being taxed with no representation. Isn't that what the original tea party was really about? Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Posted by: mountainsister41 | April 20, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Sublimewoody?

Your overt racism is not at all sublime.

Posted by: critter69 | April 20, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Forget the guns Red Herring. It's simply inconceivable that the perpetually corrupt and mismanaged District would ever be given a voting voice in Congress. It's a poster child for the entitlement class. Any voting representative would make Charlie Rangel look like a choir boy.

Posted by: SUBLIMEWOODY | April 20, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I, for one, am a supporter of the Second Amendment. DC has proven that it is too morally bankrupt to uphold a person's rights to bear arms. I completely support the congress members who know this and want to take away any ability for the Fenty-Lanier-Nickles crooks to control who can have a gun in DC. This is the jurisdiction that tried to get around the Heller decision by not giving a person the right to register a firearm because of the color of the gun. DC does not have any business regulating firearms registration.

Posted by: barnabytwist | April 20, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I, for one, am a supporter of the Second Amendment. DC has proven that it is too morally bankrupt to uphold a person's rights to bear arms. I completely support the congress members who know this and want to take away any ability for the Fenty-Lanier-Nickles crooks to control who can have a gun in DC. This is the jurisdiction that tried to get around the Heller decision by not giving a person the right to register a firearm because of the color. DC does not have any business regulating firearms registration.

Posted by: barnabytwist | April 20, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

After the Supreme Court struck down DC's old gun laws in 2008, the District passed new gun regulations that DO conform to the 2nd ammendment. The new DC laws survived a Federal court challenge just a few weeks ago. The gun ammendment on the DC voting bill would strip the 600,000 tax paying US citizens of the District from enacting ANY local gun regulations. So if this provision passed and DC wanted to allow open carry it wouldn't be possible. Considering that this ammendment was placed on the bill from Sen Ensign of Nevada, who apparently found time during his mistress scandal, it seems like an attempt to please the NRA and gun supporters and has nothing to do with the fact that the District is the only capital of a democratic country with no vote in the national legislature. Should the District be a state? I'm not sure. Most states didn't vote on the statehood constitutional amendment 30 years ago. Should the District have full representation? ABSOLUTELY. A vote in the house is the least we should do.

Posted by: RCDC | April 20, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

jhalldc?

And what if the voting residents of DC want to enact gun laws that are in conformance with the Second Amendment, such as limiting the number of guns a person can buy in a month/year?

This bill could seriously harm their ability to do something like that.

Posted by: critter69 | April 20, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

It is what it is -- the District of Columbia. It not a state. It is a city. All the supporters want the "constitutional" right to vote for a MC who will have voting rights in the Congress. Yet, these same people want to deny me my Constitutional right under the 2nd Amendment. This is a document that has served us well for over 200 years, despite what Rahm Emanuel believes about portions i.e, the 1st Amendment, being overrated. Meanwhile, the killing goes on in DC where the illegal guns in the hands of gangs and felons and full time criminals continue taking advantage of innocent people who were denied their right under the Constitution without any help from Chief Lanier and her cronies.

Posted by: paulosfm1 | April 20, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm a lifelong Democrat and an early supporter of Barack Obama, but I hope the D.C. bill never comes up for a vote. I don't like the fact that Elenor Holmes Norton sold D.C. out to the gun lobby and I don't like the idea of giving Utah an extra Republican vote in exchange. It's a bad deal.

Plus, I'm against granting D.C. or any other U.S. territory full congressional voting rights unless the bill makes D.C. a state or if they pass a constitutional amendment granting congressional voting rights for D.C.
I'm against simple legislation giving D.C. voting rights without the benefit of statehood or a constitutional amendment.

Posted by: andycyber | April 20, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Full Disclosure. I am a Democrat. After Mr. Hoyers comments, that may change. "The price was too high"? The price for participating in our national governance is respecting the freedoms enshrined in the US Constitution. That includes the second ammendment. If the Government of DC is not willing to allow consitutionally protected freedoms, then I do not see where they should have a vote in congress.

Posted by: jhalldc | April 20, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Assuming the Constitution has any relevance under this Administration, a bill on the DC voting would have to be ratified by a majority of the States. DC is not a State and as such would require an Amendment to the Constitution.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | April 20, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Never mind that at least many in the House voted for the gun amendment last session.

This sounds like House Democratic leadership balking at DC statehood in favor of policy. So, in reality, they are no different than Republicans.

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Posted by: itkonlyyyou19 | April 20, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

TAKE THE DEAL! Repugilists will pass the DC gun law first chance they get, without DC voting rights attached to it.

Posted by: imherefortheezra | April 20, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

TAKE THE DEAL! Repugilists will pass the DC gun law first chance they get, without DC voting rights attached to it.

Posted by: imherefortheezra | April 20, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

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