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Hoyer 'Hopes' to Bring Back D.C. Vote Bill Before April Break

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md) says he's "hopeful" he can bring the D.C. vote bill to the floor before the House recesses for a one-week break on April 4. But there's still no agreement on what kind of measure lawmakers will consider.

"We've done a lot of work to see if we can create a consensus," Hoyer told reporters today, adding that "I think we're making some progress."

The bill was pulled from the House calender three weeks ago, after lawmakers indicated they would try to use a parliamentary maneuver to attach an amendment weakening the city's firearms laws. A similar amendment was added to the D.C. vote bill in the Senate shortly before it passed that chamber last month.

Hoyer has been considering compromises on the bill that could deliver a House seat for the District but would also be acceptable to city leaders who oppose the gun amendment.

The D.C. vote bill would permanently expand the House by two seats: one for the overwhelmingly Democratic District, and another that would go to Republican-leaning Utah for the next few years.

Mary Beth Sheridan

By Marcia Davis  |  March 24, 2009; 12:46 PM ET
Categories:  Voting Rights  
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Next: D.C. Holds 'Historic' Statehood Strategy Session


bah humbug. Everybody else is downsizing and Congers is trying to increase their numbers??? Stop! They need to reduce not increase.

Posted by: yard80197 | March 24, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Are you suggesting taking away the constitutional rights from even more American citizens? I guess if D.C. doesn't have them then Wyoming doesn't deserve them either? Its certainly a novel idea.

Posted by: rockotodd | March 24, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

You know, it's actually in the CONSTITUTION that only states be permitted voting rights in congress. Last time I checked, D.C., while a great CITY, is still just that: a city. Don't get me wrong, I don't like the fact that they get taxed, but lets face it: people have a choice to NOT live in D.C. The city was not originally designed for permanent residents, but they came, in droves. They knew then that they had no voting rights, but had to pay taxes, and they were okay with it. We cannot break from constitutional law here. The Supreme Court will have no choice but to repeal it if the bill passes. Just like the AIG bonus taxes, this move will be illegal. It might right a wrong, but it is still illegal.

Posted by: lostcause227 | March 24, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Just last week, Fenty was quoted as saying, in regards to whether or not to support a DC vote bill that came with a Heller Amendment, "But if we had to make that call on a close margin, I do believe a majority of District residents say: 'Give us the vote. Give us the vote, and we hate this gun law, but we'll find a way to get rid of that if necessary.' "

I guess it really doesn't matter if the gun amendment passes or not. Fenty and the other scofflaws running the District will continue to ignore their oaths of office and flagrantly violate the Constitution. Some example that these pandering politicians are setting for younger people.

Posted by: hisroc | March 24, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Wait, so the people born in D.C. hospitals had a choice where they were born? The city is treated like a state in many other parts of the constitution, and the constitution has been changed many times over the years; to think the founding fathers' would have been OK with 600k American citizens being denied their basic rights is ignorant and laughable.

Posted by: rockotodd | March 24, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Do you realize that the gun amendment would give D.C. even less gun restrictions than Virgina has? Why is it fine for VA to have limits on gun ownership but not D.C.? This is just another example of Congress doing things to D.C. that they couldn't get away with in their home districts.

Also, our "well regulated milita" already has the right to carry guns...its called the D.C. National Guard.

Posted by: rockotodd | March 24, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse


The constitution also says that no one shall keep a standing army of troops. How long has it been since DC disbanded and disarmed there standing army of the DC National Guard?
Citizens are allowed to bear arms to populate the well regulated militia, yuor suggestion makes that impossible, especially when all of the arms are locked up in a vault in SE DC.

Posted by: jpeltdc | March 24, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

So we don't have a standing Army??

Who are those people dying in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Posted by: rockotodd | March 24, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

If we're constitutionally not allowed to have a vote in DC because we're note a state, I'd be happy not to pay taxes like a state.

I'm a little green on these kinds of things political: Can someone explain why our vote in congress have to be contingent on gun laws? Isn't canceling it out with Utah compromise enough?

Posted by: MrH9131 | March 24, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

What I'm saying is, constitutionally during peace time (not today) we should not have a standing army as a state (or a city). So if you want to cry about how the DC Guard is our well regulated militia, you should keep in mind that when the US is not officially at war as declared by congress we legally should have no national guard. The well regulated militia is to be made up of armed citizens who are volunteers on the spot. It might not make sense but its what the constitution intended.

Posted by: jpeltdc | March 24, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Easy solution. Give DC to Maryland. Maryland deserves it.

Posted by: wdwjr72 | March 24, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Did I miss the congressional war declaration? We haven't declared war on Iraq, we haven't declared war on Afghanistan, we didn't declare war on Vietnam. We ALWAYS have a standing Army.

Posted by: rockotodd | March 24, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I cannot tell you how much I'm enjoying this
drama over firearms in DC. I left DC for
Virginia many years ago and certainly do
not miss the ignorant self-appointed elitists
who deny the Constitution and ignore Heller.
They want "Rights" alright, but only when
rationed according to their recipe. HA!
If the DC voters elect clowns like the ones
they have in City offices now, they do not
deserve a vote in the House either.

Posted by: Lovit | March 24, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Since when are voting rights predicated on who you vote for? Do we take away Illinois' voting rights?
And again, VA has gun restrictions and would have more than D.C. would have under this amendment.

Posted by: rockotodd | March 24, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Do you realize that the gun amendment would give D.C. even less gun restrictions than Virgina has? Why is it fine for VA to have limits on gun ownership but not D.C.? This is just another example of Congress doing things to D.C. that they couldn't get away with in their home districts.

Also, our "well regulated milita" already has the right to carry guns...its called the D.C. National Guard.

Posted by: rockotodd | March 24, 2009 3:59 PM

Sorry, rockotodd, by you need to go read the Ensign Amendment and stop listening to the bullcrap that your pin headed politicians are peddling. The Amendment specifies that every Federal firearms law, including the Brady Bill, the assault weapons ban, etc, is effective within the District. The only thing that the Amendment prohibits are the obstructive registration requirements, the ban on semi-automatic handguns, and the requirement to keep handguns in the home unloaded and locked or disabled--all of which were found unconstitutional in Heller vs. DC. It doesn't even require the District to allow concealed carry by permit or open carry without a permit, privileges enjoyed in Virginia. So, tell me again how the Ensign Amendment imposes less restrictions on firearms in DC than in Virginia?

BTW, Heller vs. DC also held that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right that is not restricted to members of the militia or National Guard. That is akin to holding that the First Amendment applies to all citizens, not just those employed by the media as reporters or editors.

Posted by: hisroc | March 24, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

A DC vote would be unconstitutional.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | March 24, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the irony of pushing symbolic gun control "repeal" in a city that simultaneously spends a huge portion of the homeland security budget keeping the very same congressmen from being shot at with their everyone-must-have military style weapons. Do you realize that one cannot even legally take a tripod-mounted photo of the capital or any other major federal building from the National Mall due to police and secret service fears you might not be aiming a camera? DC is a city where you need to pass through airport style security checkpoints to get into museums. Where entire streets are closed at the drop of a hat due to the vague possibility of security issues. Does anyone think major gun law repeal is not going to be instantly followed with huge number of special federal restrictions covering most of the city?

This is not an anti-gun post: guns are not the relevant issue. It is an observation on the inanity of trying to prove a locally irrelevant 2nd amendment point at inevitable taxpayer and security expense.

DC is a special case for voting and just as much a special case for guns and security. Welcome to being a capital city in a modern world.

Posted by: MstrQ | March 24, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Hoyer and the Congressional Democratic Party appropriated in the recent 2009 budget to end a valuable educational benefit to black children – the Opportunity Educational D.C. Charter School Grant Program.

He wants only one Congressional Representative for the District in Eleanor Norton, who only petitions the Congress for same-sex legal rights, and not D.C. citizen Rights to bear Arms.

He also wants Norton to be D.C.’s only Congressional Rep and not two? I don’t think so.

Mr. Hoyer and Eleanor Norton want a SanFrancisco on the east cost, with Norton retaliating to Proposion 8 being upheld by California's Supreme Court.

Mr. Hoyer hides in the skirtails of D.C.'s single-sex feminist secessionists groups lead by Eleanor Norton who evades any referendum by the D.C. voter who in-fact support Mr. Heller and the Supreme Court conferring 2nd Amendment Rights to every D.C. resident.

Posted by: eglobegus | March 26, 2009 1:10 AM | Report abuse

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