Gun Battle Kills DC Voting Bill

By Matt Loffman

Apr 20, 2010 12:27pm

ABC News’ Dean Norland and Rick Klein report: A disappointed House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced today that he has pulled a bill that was supposed to come to the House floor this week to give the District of Columbia a voting member in the House of Representatives.

“The price was too high,” Hoyer, D-Md., explained to reporters at his weekly meeting with reporters.  “I don’t see the ability to move it in this session of Congress.” 

The bill faced a couple of major hurdles. The first had to do with the strict gun laws of the nation’s capital. Supporters of giving the District full voting rights in the House were opposed to provisions added to the bill in the Senate that would have repealed or watered down numerous DC gun laws.

A Hoyer aide said the District’s non-voting delegate in Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, agreed that the bill shouldn’t move forward if a major loosening in gun laws was the price.

The bill also would give Utah, a state with a growing population, an additional House seat.  But some members of the Utah delegation objected to a provision  that mandated an at-large seat, rather than one for a specific additional congressional district.  They argued that decision should rest with Utah officials, not Congress.

“Let me again express my profound disappointment that the Congress of the United States has not dealt with this in the responsible way that I think it should, “ Hoyer said.  

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