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Vote React: Norton's Statement on Senate Bill

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton didn't have much to say about the gun rider on the Senate bill during a news conference yesterday--she wanted to enjoy the moment of the vote--but her statement released last night acknowledged the battles ahead while still basking in that 61 vote count:

"When this bill becomes law shortly, it will mark the first time since the city was established that the Congress shall have conferred voting rights on the residents of the District of Columbia by act of Congress.

"Perhaps there is some symbolism in the fact that while I was at a meeting at the White House with President Barack Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus today, I got an urgent message to come to the Senate Floor for passage of the D.C. House Voting Rights Act. As I left the meeting, I told President Obama that our voting rights bill would soon be coming to his desk.

"The toughest part of this bill was accomplished today in the Senate with a 61-vote victory. Yet, there were tough anti-home rule battles today, and we are ready for the tough battles ahead. Winning in the Senate was a lot like winning the lottery - and then some. The Senate was the hardest House. However, we owe this victory to Sen. Joe Lieberman and Sen. Orrin Hatch, and to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and we thank them each for their truly superb accomplishment today, an accomplishment of the leadership and the bill's co-sponsors that many thought were impossible. S.160 that passed today was Joe's work and Orrin's work. They are the true heroes of this classically bi-partisan bill. Sen. Orrin Hatch has stood on principle throughout this long struggle, and when Orrin Hatch embraces a principle he will not stand down from that principle, and he does not let you down. Joe Lieberman has been the tirelessly dedicated Senate sponsor of every attempt I have made to achieve our rights since coming to Congress. Joe brilliantly managed this bill for a full week, explaining it so deftly that those watching on C-Span must have wondered, 'What's to be against here?' 'Heroic' is not too lofty a word to describe what it takes to get a bill through the Senate, even a non-controversial bill - and in the case of our voting rights bill - one that should not have been controversial, but was.

By Marcia Davis  |  February 27, 2009; 6:50 AM ET
Categories:  Voting Rights  
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