DC: Push For US House Seat Fails

The Washington Post has the news.

Republican lawmakers today blocked the Senate from taking up the D.C. voting rights bill, dealing a major blow to the District’s most promising effort in years to get a full member of Congress.

The vote was merely on whether to begin action on the bill. But only 57 senators voted in favor, short of the 60 needed to proceed. Without enough support to vault the Senate’s procedural hurdles, the bill is expected to stall for this year, and possibly next year as well.

Here is the roll call vote. Eight Republicans voted in favor of the bill: Bennett, Hatch (no surprise since their state would get an extra House seat with this bill), Coleman, Collins, Lugar, Snowe, Specter and Voinovich. One Democrat voted against bill: Max Baucus.

Posted by Dave at 4:06 pm
Filed under: Congress | Comments (18)

18 Responses to “DC: Push For US House Seat Fails”

  1. Corey says:

    A clear victory for the Constitution!

  2. Wes says:

    right enough, Corey. It woudl take another amendment to give DC statehood and therefore a House seat.

  3. Wes says:

    Wonder why Baucus voted against it. There seems no logical reasonf or him to do so.

  4. Tim says:

    Since Utah was gonna get another seat, I thought this thing might pass. Hard to get 60 votes in the Senate for anything.

  5. Wes says:

    ironically, Tim, this might have helped the GOP in the House. Of course the DC seat would have gone Dem, but the new Utah seat would probably have gone republican, and the legislature–heavily Republican–would have had to redistrict with the Republican Governor signing the bill. I can bet they would have been just machiavellian enough to dismantle Matheson’s district and send him home, a sort of 2 for the price of 1 for the GOP. A little thing called the Constitution got in the way though. Damn that outdated, moldy piece of paper.

  6. Erich Heyssel says:


    They couldn’t even get 60 votes to agree what the minutes were for the preceeding day…

  7. Tina says:

    A great day indeed for America.

    Also a big stock market day. The FED has acted.

  8. Zipota says:

    Why can’t we just give the District of Columbia (whose electorate can legally vote in the presidential election) the independence to be a sovereign nation, knowing that most people there are the thorn on the side to the United States of America socio-economically? And why can’t we grant Puerto Rico and/or perhaps some other U.S. territories/protectorates (whose electorate cannot legally vote in the presidential election) the same thing for the same aforementioned reason?

  9. CambridgeREP says:

    I’m all for giving DC residents the right to a (real) House seat, but I agree that there must be a constitutional amendment to allow for it. My other problem is that, if DC gets a House seat, it will want two Senate seats, too, and I think the idea of giving that tiny area two Senators is ridiculous. (Even if it does have more people than Wyoming and Vermont, if I remember correctly.)

  10. Sam says:

    Um… where in the constitution does it say DC can’t have a House seat? The Supreme Court has already interpreted “several states” to include DC for calculated taxes and such, and the constitution gives Congress complete control of the District…. Seems quite constitutional to me.

  11. Bitterlaw says:

    Sam – the Constitution specifically provides that it is the states that send representatives to Congress. DC is not a state.

  12. IP727 says:

    Wonder why Baucus voted against it. There seems no logical reasonf or him to do so.

    Comment by Wes

    There is no logical reason for anyone to vote for it. DC. is not a state. Why should we give a senate or house seat to a city??

  13. IP727 says:

    Um… where in the constitution does it say DC can’t have a House seat?


    The constitution is designed as a positive document that spells out certain authority. It tells you what you can do, not what you can’t do.

    If the uathority isn’t there, the 10th amend leaves it to the states or the people. There is no authority for the feds to grant seats to a city.

  14. Mose says:

    Retrocession of the District to Maryland seems to be the obvious solution to the problem (coupled with repeal of the 23rd Amendment), but it doesn’t get mentioned much. It could be accomplished by an act of Congress, in the same way that land was retroceeded to Virginia in 1847. It’s time to start a movement. Retrocession Now!

  15. IP727 says:

    Retrocession of the District to Maryland seems to be the obvious solution to the problem


    There is no freakin “problem” D.C. is a CITY, they have no right to representation in congress any more than any other city.

  16. Sam says:


    Uh… every other city HAS representation in Congress. Some are big enough to have their own congressional district, others are within other Congressional districts, but the point is, the resident of EVERY city in the United States that is subjected to Federal Taxes HAS representation in the US Congress EXCEPT the District.

  17. Sam says:

    And as for my constitution argument:

    “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States…” -Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3.

    The Representation and the Taxation is mentioned with the exact same qualifier. The Supreme Court has CONTINUOUSLY ruled that the term “several states” in this clause as it relates to taxation INCLUDES the District. This shows clearly that Supreme Court interpretation would not disinclude the District for Representation as well.

    Congress shall have the power “To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (no exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of Government of the United States…” -Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17

    This gives exclusive control of Congress over the District

    Congress has the power “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers” -Article 1, Section 8, Clause 18

    This gives Congress the authority to pass laws it feels necessary and proper in using its previously mentioned powers (such as maintaining fair representation for the taxation it holds over the district it controls).

    I should also note, for all you originalists out there, that when the idea for DC was first envisioned, not too many expected it to become heavily populated by regular citizens. However, I find it utterly absurd to suggest that the founding fathers, who just rebelled from Britain because of taxation without representation (amongst other causes) would have supported the idea of having any citizens of the United States and taxed by the United States, not be represented in the United States government just because they live in the nation’s capital. As a result, to suggest they formulated the constitution to exclude voting rights from such people seems completely counterfactual to me.

  18. Bitterlaw says:

    Sam – the right to pass laws is not the same as the right to create legislators.