Hoyer Predicts Vote on D.C. Bill by May

Posted March 27, 2009 at 4:05pm

Updated: 5:55 p.m.House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Friday that a vote on the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act should come before May.While answering questions on Kojo Nnamdi’s “The Politics Hour— on WAMU-FM, Hoyer said he was “not contemplating that we’re going to go by May and not having gotten this done.—But he also hinted that to get the bill passed, supporters will probably have to make concessions. So far, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) has been adamant that the bill not include an amendment that would strip the city of most of its gun laws.“Frankly, my preference, I don’t think is going to be accomplished,— he said. “My preference would be to pass the D.C. bill doing one thing and one thing only and that is giving Eleanor Holmes Norton or a successor from the District of Columbia full voting rights in the House of Representatives.—House leaders originally took the bill off the calendar in early March because of the gun amendment. The resulting negotiations have been “complicated,— Hoyer said. If the amendment is offered, Members will probably vote to attach it, putting passage of the bill in jeopardy. But not enough Members have promised to vote for a closed rule, which would prohibit such amendments from being offered at all.Further complicating matters is the National Rifle Association’s threat to unfavorably score Members who vote for the closed rule. That puts additional pressure on Members from conservative, pro-gun districts, and makes passage of a clean bill less likely.But Norton declared she was optimistic on Friday, claiming in a press release that pro-gun Members have told her they would support a bill without the gun amendment. The bill, she said, could come up for a vote “at any time.—“In particular, I am pleased that the gun amendment has pro-gun Blue Dog’ colleagues continuing to come forward, expressing to me their willingness to vote for a clean Rule for our bill,— she said. “They voted overwhelmingly for the bill last session, and our Blue Dogs’ want to vote for it again this session.—