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Bill To Give Washington, D.C. A Vote In Congress Is Dead Yet Again

by @ 11:39 am on April 20, 2010. Filed under D.C. Vote Bill, U.S. Constitution, Washington DC

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deadlocked in the House after successful efforts in the Senate to add amendments that would have effectively repealed most of the the most egregious aspects of the city’s gun control law.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 ?

7 Responses to “Bill To Give Washington, D.C. A Vote In Congress Is Dead Yet Again”

  1. Joshua A. Schaeffer says:

    Retrocession is a historically ignorant idea unless your real purpose is to relocate the capital, perhaps further inland for safety and more geographically centered with better weather.

    The whole point of a federal district is so that the federal government isn’t at the mercy of the state it’s located in for police and other protection. Plus Congress can exercise eminent domain within the district, whereas in a state it must ask the state legislature for permission to expand. Just because people seem to play nice now doesn’t mean you overturn the principles that may have been responsible for them playing nice in the first place.

  2. Joshua,

    We’ve already done retrocession once. In the 1830s, Congress returned to Virginia the land west of the Potomac River that it had donated for the creation of the District Of Columbia when it was determined that land would not be needed. That area is now Arlington County, Virginia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_of_Columbia_retrocession#Virginia_retrocession

    Given the fact that the federal areas of D.C. are relatively compact and close together, there is no reason why the non-federal parts of the city could not be retroceded to Maryland. It’s certainly better than any of the other alternatives

  3. Vast Variety says:

    I would rather DC not get a vote than see it given back to Maryland.

  4. Vast Variety says:

    And apparently the people of Maryland don’t want it back either.

  5. Seriously,

    The main reason that Maryland objects to retrocession is that it would represent a tremendous shift of political power in the state away from Baltimore/Annapolis toward D.C. and Southern Maryland.

  6. Vast Variety says:

    Maybe after a good scrubbing with Lysol.

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