Homeland Security Committee Approves Bill to Give D.C. a Vote in Congress

The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee approved a bill yesterday which would give Washington D.C. “a voting member of the House of Representatives, clearing the way for the full chamber to take up the matter in the coming weeks,” the New York Times reports.

The legislation would permanently expand the 435-member House by two seats. One seat would go to Washington and the other to Utah, which narrowly missed getting an additional seat after the last census. Utah, which traditionally leans Republican, now has one Democrat and two Republicans in the House.

A similar bill passed in the House in 2007, but the Senate version received only 57 of the 60 necessary votes.

The bill was approved by a vote of 11 to 1.  One would assume that, given the close Senate vote in 2007, the bill will likely pass this year if considered because of the increased Democratic majority.

The article notes that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has led opposition to the bill “saying it is unconstitutional and that proponents first must pass a constitutional amendment.”  Republicans also fear that passage of the bill will eventually lead to D.C. getting two Senators.  Given the political makeup of the city, those two members would likely be Democrats.

You can read the full text of the bill, also referred to as the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act (S. 160), here.

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Filed under Committees, D.C.

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