DC Voting Act Prospects Looking Grim

Daniel Inouye of Hawaii has closed a key way Democrats were going to attempt to route around NRA:

D.C. voting rights advocates ran into a major obstacle Tuesday, as the top Senate appropriator said he’d block any proposal to attach the District voting representation bill to a must-pass military spending measure.

“Forget it,” said Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).

House Democratic leaders have been trying to find a vehicle for the bill, which would give the District full voting rights in the House. They hoped adding it to the military spending bill might force Republicans to back away from efforts to repeal D.C. gun laws at the same time. The gun language, backed by the National Rifle Association, is unpalatable to many District residents and House Democrats.

Inouye is F-rated, and not our friend, but pretty clearly he doesn’t want a fight with NRA on his defense bill.

Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee, said he’d defer to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on whether to include the voting-rights provision but made clear where he stands personally.

“I’m with the NRA,” he said.

A spokesman for Pelosi said Democratic leaders are still shopping for a vehicle.

So you also have Murtha blocking that path forward in the House too, which pretty much makes attaching DC Voting Rights to the defense bill, as we reported on earlier, a no go. Pelosi says she’s still looking for a vehicle, but it’s looking more and more grim. At some point she’ll have to decide whether or not her need to please this constituency overcomes her hatred of the Second Amendment. I don’t know about you, but it would put a smile on my face to be able to strong arm Pelosi into accepting a pro-gun Amendment on a key piece of Democratic legislation.

9 thoughts on “DC Voting Act Prospects Looking Grim”

  1. I think it might go back to Inouye’s own military background (he’s a MOH winner for action in Italy with the 442nd) AND the way Hawaiian’s were f*d in the voting process for so many years.

    As a Territory Hawaii was ruled by appointed Governors and appointed judges – and from annexation in 1898 until 1959, since they were just a territory, Hawaiians couldn’t vote in any elections.
    The only vote they had was one cast by the Governor cast – and Lyndon Johnson constantly (22 times) blocked Hawaii statehood bills. But Bitter can probably tell you all about that.

  2. The thing that ticks me off here is that the NRA is being disingenuous about supporting gun rights in DC. They could have pushed Congress to veto DC’s current gun laws during the mandated 30 day review, but they didn’t. They could have gotten the DC gun bill attached to the DC budget bill, but didn’t.

    My guess is that Repubs opposed to DC voting rights cut a deal with the NRA whereby the gun legislation would just be reserved as a poison pill for the voting rights act.

  3. DCDC,
    No offense but I don’t think the Constitution allows for DC to have a rep:

    From Art. 1 Sec. 8:
    “To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States”

    From Art 1. Sec 2:
    “The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states”

    Since the DC is not a state it seems to me that it can’t elect reps without an amendment to the Constitution. That being said, Constitutional restrictions haven’t stopped congress from doing things before….

  4. Matt,

    That is a legitimate debate, as is whether Congress should step in to roll back DC’s silly gun laws.

    What I do object to is the gun amendment being used purely to derail the voting rights legislation. The fact that the NRA has threatened to score the vote even without the gun amendment attached is ridiculous and beyond the scope of their mission to protect and restore 2A rights.

    If the NRA truly is concerned about DC residents 2A rights, they could easily do something about it outside of the voting rights issue.

  5. DCDC:

    The reason to attach it to something that’s important for the Dem agenda is because it assures the President’s signature, or at least forces him to veto an otherwise popular piece of legislation. Other items to which it could be attached would make a veto much easier on Obama, especially in a budget bill, he could find some other reason as to why he’s vetoing.

    NRA, as a single issue organization, is singularly focused on fixing DC’s gun laws, and this vehicle is the best way to move it through both houses and the White House.

  6. Remember back in ’59 (Hawaii a new State) when someone asked the man who raised me what state was he born in, I knew his stock reply: “Salt Lake City”.

    But this time he explained that Salt Lake City did not belong to a state (when he was born) other than the United States as it was a territory of the United States known as The Territory of Utah.

    Still remember him telling of the day that his father took him to the Federal Territory Building and said that tomorrow ( January 4, 1896) the Citizens of the Territory would become Citizens of the State of Utah one of the Several States of the United States of America and that now He (his father) would be able to cast his vote and have it count in the District of Columbia when he voted for the person who would represent the People of the State of Utah for their rights under the Constitution in Congress, and in the State election he could vote for the State Legislators of his choice who would then elect Senators to represent the States Rights of the State of Utah in the Congress of The United States of America.

    Now I know that thing have changed since that cold day in January when he was a boy at his fathers side, but what he told us that day in ’59 still rings true today in ’09. So if the folks in the District of Columbia want to vote and have it be counted, then citizens of the Federal District should Petition the Congress of The United States to become a Several State of the United States of America……Which raises the question: ‘does the Constitution allow for the United States to Succeed form the United States of America in order to from its own Several State.

  7. Sebastian, I have to disagree. I would have been a huge step for Obama to veto the DC budget. That would have realistically the best chance to move this forward. They could also have lobbied to reverse DC’s gun laws during the 30 Congressional review. Hell, they could have attached it to the credit card bill as was done with the National Park issue.

    Regardless, if they are a single issue organization, there is no excuse for them scoring a clean voting rights bill.

    The VRA is the worst chance of getting the gun amendment passed and the NRA is content with it being used as a poison pill and I am sure they have no expectation of it moving forward.

  8. Yeah, but if he vetoes the city’s budget, Congress will just pass a budget he won’t veto. Plus, the house and senate rules are different on budgetary matters, I think there’s a lot more procedural things that leadership can do to get an unfavorable amendment out of the bill, or move it forward without amendments. They have to pass a budget, so a budget will be passed if Obama draws a line in the sand.

    Granted, we’ll be able to use that against him in 2012, but meanwhile DC’s gun laws will still be what they are, and we have to take the much riskier move of using the courts.

    DC Voting rights is likely not passing at this point without the fix of DC’s gun laws. At this point, NRA can’t and really shouldn’t just walk away from the issue because of concerns about another issue they don’t lobby on. Besides, the DC voting rights law is unconstitutional, and is very likely to be thrown out by the courts anyway.

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