It looks like the House of Representatives will vote as early as this week on the bill to give the District of Columbia a vote in Congress:
Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said yesterday that he expects the U.S. House of Representatives to vote Thursday on a bill that would give the District its first full seat in Congress.
The bill is returning to the House floor a month after red-faced Democrats pulled it, realizing they might not defeat a Republican motion that could have sunk the legislation. The motion would have sent the bill back to committee with language overturning the District’s tough anti-gun laws.
This time, said Hoyer (D-Md.), “we think we are going to have some success.”
The bill is a political compromise that would add two seats to the House of Representatives. One would go to the overwhelmingly Democratic District, and the other to the next state in line to expand its delegation: Republican-leaning Utah.
Hoyer declined to say how his party hoped to avoid another such parliamentary maneuver. Asked whether it would be harder for Republicans to reintroduce the gun motion, given sensitivities about the Virginia Tech massacre, Hoyer said: “I would think. I would hope.”
A spokesman for House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) would not comment on whether Republicans would reintroduce the gun language.
“Today is a national day of mourning over the tragedy at Virginia Tech, not a time to discuss partisan politics,” spokesman Brian Kennedy said.
He said he hoped the floor debate Thursday would include other options for getting the District a vote — such as returning most of the city to Maryland.
In fact, that’s exactly what one Republican Congressman is proposing:
Republicans are trying to get Congress to consider another option for the District: ceding the city back to Maryland, with the exception of federal land. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) have introduced bills with that proposal.
But Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) called the idea “a political impossibility” because of opposition from the D.C. government, Maryland residents and perhaps even members of Congress reluctant to lose control over the city.
“There are so many buildings that are tax-exempt . . . and yet you have the problems of the tourists coming, the problems of marches, you have D.C.’s crime problem — we already have Baltimore City,” Miller said. “It’s lovely to think about, like a jigsaw puzzle, but when look at all the nuances involved, in my opinion, it becomes an impossibility.”
If I was Maryland, I wouldn’t want the District of Columbia either.
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