D.C. Vote Bill Hits Snags in the U.S. House
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said today he was trying to figure out a way to bring the D.C. vote bill to the House floor without lawmakers attaching a controversial amendment that would repeal the city's local gun laws.
The Senate last week approved the D.C. vote bill with the gun amendment, which is strongly opposed by city leaders.
"The irony is...if it passes, we may not be able to pass the bill," Hoyer said of the amendment. But if House members don't have the opportunity to add the amendment, they might not even agree to start debating the legislation, he said.
House members have to agree on rules for debate before taking up a bill. The House Rules Committee was scheduled to meet this afternoon to prepare the D.C. vote measure for the floor, but the session was abruptly canceled.
The House leadership had originally expected to bring the bill to the floor tomorrow, according to Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC). Hoyer said today that he still hopes to schedule a vote this week.
"It's a little complicated, but we're working on it," he said.
Hoyer said he thought it was "not appropriate" to add gun provisions to a bill that would give the District its first full representative in Congress.
Gun rights are popular in the House. A bill repealing local D.C. gun regulations passed the House overwhelmingly last year, but never got to a Senate vote.
The D.C. vote bill would permanently expand the House by two seats. One would be for the heavily Democratic District, while the other would temporarily go to Utah, which is predominantly Republican and barely missed getting an extra seat after the last Census. After two years, the Utah seat would go to whatever state is next in line to pick up a representative based on population.
Mary Beth Sheridan
March 3, 2009; 4:09 PM ET
Categories: Voting Rights
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