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D.C. Voting Rights Bill Will Not Come To House Floor

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By Elizabeth Wynne Johnson

Political maneuvering has determined the fate of the D.C. Voting Rights Act -- at least for now. The bill to grant full voting representation to the citizens of D.C. was poised to come to the House floor, but today Democratic leaders announced the bill will not be revived this session.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton says she and Democratic leaders were "shocked and blindsided" over the weekend by newly-drafted gun language in the House bill. It significantly ups the caliber of the gun provision already added by the Senate.

In a written statement, Holmes Norton said this voting rights bill would be unlikely to pass, given the anticipated loss of some anti-gun Democrats.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland calls the outcome a "blight" on American democracy.

"That bill should be unfettered by any other provision," he says. "The members of Congress should vote on this matter solely on the merits of the proposition itself."

The bill would have given a corresponding additional seat to Utah. The decision to play hard-ball with D.C. voting rights may have something to do with the fact that the Republican-leaning state will receive its fourth seat regardless, once the 2010 Census is complete.

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