Surprisingly, the bill that would give the District of Columbia voting representation in Congress has stalled in the House of Representatives:
The House today put off action on the D.C. voting rights bill after Republicans tried to tie the legislation to a drastic weakening of the city’s gun laws.
The surprise development came as House Democrats seemingly were on track to pass a measure that would give the District a full-fledged voting member of Congress. Members debated for more than three hours, and the issue appeared headed for a floor vote.
But Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) derailed the vote when he tried to add language to the bill that would bar the District from enacting laws or regulations “that discourage or eliminate the private ownership or use of firearms.”
Smith’s language would have repealed the city’s ban on semiautomatic weapons. It forced Democrats into a retreat, with members saying they hoped to return to the voting rights issue in a matter of days — but with rules that would prohibit such attachments.
This being the House of Representatives, efforts like this aren’t likely to succeed and will only stall the bill for a short time. Nonetheless it is a setback because this bill was expected to sail through the House easily.
Much of the debate that took place up until this amendment was offered fell along party lines, but this particular statement amused me:
During the debate today, Rep. Al Green (D-Tex.) said that constitutional arguments, pro and con, can be raised on many important matters. The question, Green said, is “Which side are you on?” He said he chose to stand with more than 500,000 D.C. residents.
Well, Congressman Green, I am on the side of the Constitution, how about you ?
A Vote For D.C. That’s Unconstitutional
Congress Examines Legality Of D.C. Vote Bill
White House Opposes D.C. Vote Bill
The D.C. Voting Rights Crybabies
Will Bush Veto The D.C. Vote Bill ?
Memo From The Washington Post: Ignore The Constitution, Just Vote Already