A Vote on Voting Rights

Posted September 12, 2007 at 6:25pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed cloture on the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act on Wednesday, setting up a Tuesday vote on the bill.

The compromise bill would grant Democratic-leaning D.C. a full House vote while also giving one to largely Republican Utah, which just missed getting one after the 2000 Census.

But the measure has been dogged by opposition from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and others, who argue it is unconstitutional because it grants Congressional representation to a nonstate.

Supporters of the bill claim the Constitution’s District Clause grants Congress the right to extend representation to the District. Those supporters were optimistic Wednesday, saying they have the 60 votes to get the bill through.

“The Senator feels very confident,” said Leslie Phillips, a spokeswoman for Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), who co-sponsored the measure with Utah Sens. Orrin Hatch (R) and Bob Bennett (R).

— Elizabeth Brotherton