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House Could Debate D.C. Voting Rights In Defense Spending Package

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An exchange on the floor of the U.S. House is leading some to speculate about the possibility of attaching a D.C. Voting Rights amendment to a defense spending bill.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton says she's looked at a variety of legislative ways to pass a voting rights bill. "I don't care how the baby is born, I'm just trying to get as clean a voting rights bill as I can'" says Norton.

One possibility is attaching it to a defense spending bill. The House and Senate have each passed massive defense appropriations bills to fund the military. Leaders will meld the bills into a final conference report for a vote. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) indicated on the House floor that a D.C. voting rights bill could be included in the report.

Illir Zherka directs D.C. Vote. He says attaching the voting rights amendment to a larger bill could speed up the process. "The Congress does not have to spend a lot of time on the D.C. Voting Rights Act to move it forward," says Zherka. "So we certainly have the time. If it were attached to any other bill as an amendment, that would make it easier for the Congress to take it up again."

Attaching it to a larger bill also creates political leverage, because it would require lawmakers who want to oppose D.C. voting rights to vote against the entire package.

Peter Granitz reports...

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