Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

D.C. Voting Rights Bill Stalled Again

On Tuesday, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced that it was unlikely a bill providing the District with a voting member in the House of Representatives would be introduced as expected to Congress on Thursday, adding that the legislation may not reach the House floor before the end of the current Congressional session.

Hoyer’s remarks came as a surprise to many who expected to see the House of Representatives vote on the D.C. Voting Rights Act this week. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) requested that Hoyer abandon the legislation because of a controversial amendment attached to the bill that would alter gun-control laws in the District.

“I am profoundly disappointed that [the House] will not be considering legislation to give the 600,000 Americans who live in the District of Columbia what their 300 million fellow citizens have: a voting Representative in the House of Representatives,” Hoyer said.

The bill intended to provide Utah with a fifth representative along with the one for D.C.

The bill was delayed in coming to the floor of the House because of the addition of the Ensign Amendment to the bill which would reduce firearm restrictions in the District if passed.

Norton had originally supported the voting rights bill, but upon reviewing further changes to the gun laws amendment proposed by Rep. Travis Childers (D-Miss.) and Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) she requested that it not be introduced in the House.

Although Norton acknowledged in her statement Tuesday that a voting rights bill with a gun laws amendment might have been the District’s best chance of getting the bill passed, she was unwilling to justify the tradeoff after reviewing the latest changes to the gun amendment.

In a statement Tuesday, D.C. Councilmember Michael Brown (I-At-large) approved of Norton’s request not to introduce the bill.

“The attached gun amendment is a deadly and hypocritical maneuver that would gut the District’s current, locally imposed gun control laws, and strip us of our authority to legislate our own gun laws,” said Brown.

Geoffrey Bible, the chairman of the College Republicans, said that unlike Norton and Brown, the Georgetown University College Republicans had supported the change to the District’s gun laws, but that given the Council’s hostility to this amendment, they also approved of the House’s decision to drop the bill.

“The GUCR believes that the bill that was just dropped by the Democratic leadership deserved to be dropped since the Democrats refuse to accept it with the amendment removing D.C.’s ridiculous gun laws,” Bible said.

Bryan Woll (COL ’12), the president of the Georgetown University College Democrats, expressed sadness at the sudden turn of events.

“It’s extremely disappointing that it appears that D.C. will not gain equal congressional representation this year,” Woll said.

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