Crowley: D.C. Voting Bill Unlikely to Hit Floor Next Week

Posted March 26, 2009 at 2:28pm

Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) on Thursday said it is highly unlikely the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act will be on the floor before the Easter recess, further delaying a bill that has been in stasis because of a poison-pill gun amendment.

While outlining the leadership schedule for next week, Crowley said leaders will “continue to work— on the bill and on whether to include an amendment that would strike most of the District’s gun laws.

But, he added, “I do not expect it will be ready for the floor next week, nor do I know whether or not there will be a Second Amendment application in that bill as well.—

Almost a month ago, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) removed the bill from the House calendar because of the amendment. A similar amendment was attached to the Senate-passed version of the bill.

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) and other voting rights advocates want the House to pass a “clean— bill, but the National Rifle Association has threatened to score Members’ votes on a motion to consider an amendment-free bill.

Advocacy groups and supportive Members — such as Congressional Black Caucus leaders — have spent weeks targeting more than 80 centrist and conservative Democrats.

But they have been unable to gain enough support for a clean bill, and Norton has been adamant that the gun amendment not be attached.

That has repeatedly delayed the bill’s movement.

In negotiations, House leaders have considered other options, including keeping the gun amendment or offering a watered-down version.

Hoyer said this week that he thought they were making “progress,— but the fact that the bill won’t be offered next week indicates they still have a ways to go.

Now, the earliest it can be considered is in late April, after the two-week recess.