When we last left the legislative efforts to give the District of Columbia a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, the bill was essentially deadlocked in the House after successful efforts in the Senate to add amendments that would have effectively repealed most of the the most egregious aspects of the city’s gun control law.
Last week, though, there was some indication that City leaders had decided to accept the gun control provisions so that the vote could go forward. That decision immediately became a political football when Vincent Gray, the Councilman challenging Mayor Adrian Fenty in the Democratic Primary, came out opposed to the bill in it’s present, amended, form.
Today, though, the House Majority Leader announced that the measure was dead for this session of Congress:
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said a D.C. voting rights bill will not come up this session, in part because of opposition to an amendment that would have eliminated most of the District’s gun-control laws.
“At this point in time I do not see the ability to move it in this session of Congress,” said Hoyer (D-Md.), who added that he was “extraordinarily disappointed.”
Hoyer said the bill was felled by a “combination of issues.” In addition to divisions over provisions concerning the District’s gun laws, the measure was also hurt by Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch’s (R) declaration that he would oppose it because his state would be granted an At-Large congressional seat, rather than a new district whose lines the state’s leaders could draw on their own.
But while Hoyer alluded to the Utah dispute, he made clear that the gun control language was the biggest stumbling block.
“The price was too high,” Hoyer said.
Given the likelihood that, at the very least Republicans will pick up enough Senate seats in November to overcome the 62-34 cloture vote that let the bill go forward in the Senate last year, this would seem to me to be the high water mark for this effort for some time to come. Even if the Democrats retain the House in the elections, they’re never going to get the bill as far as they did in this session.
Considering the fact that the bill is blatantly unconstitutional, that’s a good thing.
Now, can we start talking seriously about retrocession ?