It was unclear as of press time whether the measure would pass, but it did have Republican support. “It’s reasonable,” said incoming House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), who introduced the GOP version in committee. “I just didn’t want the suggestion that they’re states. They’re not.”
Another early indicator of how Republicans view the issue may materialize later this month in a new House rules package.
Zherka said he expects House Republicans to strip Norton’s vote when the House convenes in Committee of the Whole. Republicans did away with that voting privilege in 1995, and Democrats reinstated it upon retaking the majority in 2007.
“That would clearly be a slap in the face to taxpaying residents,” Norton said. “I would hope for some empathy with us on a vote that cannot make a difference in final passage.”
Zherka said advocates will also try to fight any efforts to resurrect appropriations riders banning, for instance, medical marijuana or abortion funding in the District. He said removing those provisions was the movement’s big win in the 111th Congress and advocates will ask the Senate or even the president to block bills that reinstate these restrictions on D.C.’s spending.
Attempts to impinge on D.C.’s representation could help stir up support for the cause, Zherka said, especially among new tea-party-endorsed Members-elect, whom the group will start reaching out to in January.
“A lot of those folks were elected based on the idea that the federal government shouldn’t intrude on localities,” he said. “If they’re being consistent, then they’ll feel the same way about the District as they do about any other jurisdiction.”