Morning Business: Dissing D.C.

Posted December 8, 2008 at 6:33pm

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) wants to introduce the D.C. Voting Rights Act around Presidents Day, but Utah’s only newly elected Member has already signaled he’s not in favor of the bill — even though it would provide a fourth Congressional seat for the Beehive State.

“In principle, I believe it’s unconstitutional,” said Jason Chaffetz (R). “I want Utah to get a fourth Congressional seat, but we don’t toss out the Constitution when it’s politically expedient,” he added.

Chaffetz, 41, defeated Rep. Chris Cannon in the state’s GOP primary.

Utah is almost certain to gain a fourth seat after the 2010 Census, but passing the bill early would allow the state’s new Representative to accrue some seniority.

Last year, the bill passed the House but failed to reach the 60 Senate votes necessary to stop a filibuster.

Chaffetz and other opponents of giving D.C. residents a voting member of the House say the Constitution requires Members to be elected “by the people of the several states,” noting that D.C. is not a state.

Chaffetz’s solution, he said, is to “retrocede” D.C. residents into Maryland in order to allow them to be represented by a voting Member of Congress.