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DC to get voting rights?

1855 Views 10 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  oshkeoto

Bill would give D.C., Utah seats in House
By Robert Gehrke
The Salt Lake Tribune

WASHINGTON - Utah is the most Republican state in the country, while residents in Washington, D.C., are overwhelmingly Democratic.
But elected officials from both areas say Washington's chances of getting its first House seat are tied directly to Utah getting its fourth, and threw their support Tuesday behind a bill that seeks to increase their clout in Congress.
Virginia Rep. Tom Davis reintroduced his proposal to expand the House of Representatives to 437 members, giving Washington a House member and maintaining partisan balance by adding a seat in Republican-dominated Utah.
“The state of Utah is looking at this very selfishly, I admit that,” said Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, a co-sponsor of the bill. “We thought we should have got a fourth seat last time and we would be happy to get a fourth seat this time.”
Similar legislation failed to make it out of committee last year, but Davis says he has rallied support and is hopeful his measure will pass.
“We're spending hundreds of billions of dollars to bring democracy to Baghdad,” he said. “What are we doing to bring democracy to our own capital?”
Washington Mayor Anthony Williams said the ultimate goal remains full representation - two senators and a House seat - in Congress, but Davis' bill is a first step toward that objective.
President Bush has opposed other proposals to give D.C. representation in Congress, but Davis is hopeful a strong show of support from Congress would persuade Bush to sign it into law. Davis plans to begin holding hearings on the bill next month.


Rep. Chris Cannon, who is also a co-sponsor of the bill, noted that it could ultimately hurt Republicans to add a solid Democratic seat that is only offset temporarily with Utah's Republican seat.
“If we were looking at this issue as a partisan issue, that's the appropriate response, but this isn't a partisan issue,” Cannon said. “We need to start giving the vote to people who haven't had the vote in the District of Columbia, and that's the right thing to do, not the partisan thing to do.”
Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, has not endorsed Davis' legislation, but his spokeswoman, Alyson Heyrend, said he is supportive of giving Washington a representative in Congress and adding to Utah's delegation.
“They're two good goals and he'll be looking at this bill to see if it's the best way to accomplish those goals,” she said.
If the bill passes, Utah would have to redraw its House boundaries. The last time the Legislature carved up the districts, Matheson was put into a district that was 62 percent Republican. But Bishop said a new round of redistricting wouldn't hurt Matheson.
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seems logical.
why not? lets just add to the beauracracy....
I think there should be full representation for the capital. It's got more people than Wyoming. Why shouldn't it get 2 senators and a congressman?
For one thing, there is that pesky constitution thing. The constitution says States get representation in Congress. DC is not a state. Wouldn't the constitution have to be amended to allow them representation? If they get it, Puerto Rico will want it too.
I don't think Puerto Rico would chase after one, they have tax exemptions and a special status giving them considerable autonomy, your capital does not. It took an ammendment to the constitution to give them electoral college votes, so its hardly unprecedented to ammend it again to give them Congressional Representation.
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I live in DC, and don't think we should get full representation. Its not like there was some native population here before DC came. Instead, everyone who moved here did so because they wanted to live in a place in near proximity to embassies, senators, government offices, representatives, lobbyists, bureaucrats and the president. They knew from the get go that there would be no representation.

living around here has all sorts of benefits other cities don't, not least of which is the most stable local economy in the country. it has one major drawback: it doesn't get directly represented in congress. But do you think those senators and representatives with their posh homes in georgetown and friendship heights would ever completely forget the city they live in 9 months of the year?

Yes, some people were born here without a choice, and lots of parts of the city suck, but lots of people were born in places in america that they don't prefer. they move if there's something they can't handle. I don't see why DCers should be any different. its not like they'd have to move far.
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Most of DC is not made up of wealthy politicians and lobbyists, and it's insane to say that someone should have to move in order to vote in the US. It's a crime against democracy--and of partisanship--that DC remains without national representation.
Most politicians live in the virginia suburbs. Doesnt DC have 3 electoral college for the elcection?
Frankly, DC just needs to become a state. It can be a special state--municipal and state government would be merged--but its status right now is just crazy. Imagine not only having not Congressional representation but having a Congress completely unelected by anyone in your city serve as your city council. Imagine NYC alderman elected by Mississippians. We're not in danger anymore of having a state with the national capital dominating the country, especially a state as small and as uncontested as DC.

While we're at it, we should convince Puerto Ricans to resolve their status and either become sovereign or become the 52nd state (after DC).

And yes, four new Democratic senators would be nice, but even beyond that, I think it only makes sense democratically (small d) to resolve these issues. To do otherwise is unfair and undemocratic.
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