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Holmes Norton Says Voting Rights Bill Is Coming

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By Peter Granitz

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton says she's making progress on a bill to give the District a vote in Congress. But not all voting rights activists are optimistic that it will pass.

The Senate passed a D.C. Voting Rights bill last year, with an amendment overturning the District’s hand gun ban.

Norton says that amendment is just one point currently being worked out in the House Rules Committee.

She says the National Rifle Association is working to keep the gun amendment in the House version.

“We are close to the point where we will be taking this bill to the floor. We’re working on odds and ends of the kind you always have to put to bed before a bill goes to the floor,” says Norton.

Norton doesn't identify those odds and ends, nor does she say when it will hit the House floor for a vote. That decision is up to the Democratic leadership.

Vincent Morris is a spokesman for the House Rules Committee.

“The entire leadership wants it to happen soon but they also want to make sure all the pieces are right, so that when we bring it forward it passes,” says Morris.

Democrats have historically been more supportive of D.C. voting rights than Republicans have. With Republicans hoping to pick up seats in midterm elections, D.C. Shadow Senator Michael Brown says the longer the bill sits in committee, the less likely it is to pass.

“The Delegate tells us there’s a good chance that it’s going to move forward. If you’re asking my personal opinion on it, I have a hard time seeing it move forward,” says Brown.

With health care and jobs dominating the agenda, it’s unclear when the leadership will introduce the measure.

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