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. Could Get House Vote

Friday, May 19, 2006

A bill in the House of Representatives could soon allow D.C. residents to elect a representative with voting rights in Congress for the first time in the District’s history. The bill, which was introduced in the House by Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) on May 10, would add two new seats to the House, one in the District and the other in the next state in line to receive an additional seat based on the results of the 2000 census. The Committee on Government Reform, which Davis chairs, approved the bill yesterday. It now heads to the Judiciary Committee, where it must be approved before it can going to the full House. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), who worked closely with Davis in crafting the bill, said in a press release that it “is a big win for the House” because it “would mark the first time that two additional seats have been added to the House since 1959, 47 years ago.” Proponents of the bill said it will assuage concerns that a congressman for D.C. would yield a net partisan advantage for the Democratic Party, since the other seat would be given to heavily Republican Utah. “The redistricting won”t harm either party,” Norton spokeswoman Doxie McCoy said. “It would be a permanent change.” Opponents of the bill question whether it is constitutional to give congressional representation to a territory that is not a state. The current draft of the bill does not include any provisions giving the District voting rights in the Senate, however, and it limits the District to one House member regardless of the results of future censuses. D.C. native Ben Naylor (COL ’07) said he was “absolutely” supportive of the bill, saying that D.C. residents should not be penalized for where they were born. “Most people lived here their whole lives,” he said. “For me it just wasn’t a choice.” Though districts are not scheduled to be reapportioned until 2012, the bill’s language allows for the two new representatives to be elected before the next census. “I would definitely like to see representation as a state,” Naylor said, acknowledging that any calls for a Senate seat would almost certainly doom the bill. “Having one representative is a good way to start it off.”

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