D.C. voting rights advocates ran into a major obstacle Tuesday, as the top Senate appropriator said heâ€™d block any proposal to attach the District voting representation bill to a must-pass military spending measure.
â€œForget it,â€ 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 Committeeâ€™s Defense Subcommittee, said heâ€™d defer to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on whether to include the voting-rights provision but made clear where he stands personally.
â€œIâ€™m with the NRA,â€ 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.