As Congress’s August recess quickly approaches, it seems unlikely that anything will happen before then to the bill currently before the Senate to give the District of Columbia voting representation in Congress:
Key lawmakers said yesterday that the Senate probably will not take up the D.C. vote bill before its summer break, dealing a blow to advocates who had hoped the measure could be passed quickly.
The news came as about 50 D.C. vote supporters gathered near the Dirksen Senate Office Building, chanting, “No vacation without representation!” The protest was part of a flurry of activity aimed at persuading lawmakers to squeeze in the bill before their month-long recess, scheduled to start Aug. 3.
The District’s nonvoting delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), urged crowd members to keep up their spirits. She said the delay was frustrating but would not harm the bill’s chances of passage.
“I’ve come to ask you not to yield,” Norton declared, waving a fist. “Don’t yield!”
A spokesman for Sen. Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said the majority leader still considers the voting-rights bill a high priority. But “it is unlikely it will make it onto the calendar before August,” spokesman Rodell Mollineau said. He said the Senate is planning to tackle bills on homeland security, children’s health insurance and other matters before the break.
He said Reid’s staff had contacted Republicans to see whether there was any way to jam in the bill. Don Stewart, a spokesman for Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said “it would be a shock” if the measure came up in the next week.
The bill’s supporters are claiming that they are close to having the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster, but it’s unclear if that’s true or not, and it’s also clear that they’re nowhere near having the 2/3 majority needed to override an expected veto.
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