the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

April 19, 2007

House Passes DC Voting Rights Act: Vote Breakdown


As the Democratic leadership promised after Republicans managed to torpedo an earlier bill last month, the House passed a bill that would give DC a full representative in the House. The bill, the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act (HR 1905), has a long way to go still — and even if passed and found constitutional it does nothing about our lack of a voice in the Senate — but it’s an important step.

The vote was 241–177, with 22 Republicans standing against their party and voting for bringing democracy to the nation’s capital:

On the other hand, 6 Democrats voted against the legislation:

Republican Rob Bishop (UT) voted present, and 7 Democrats and 7 Republicans, including Virginia Republicans Jo Ann Davis and Eric Cantor (my parents’ congressman), didn’t vote.

Update (10:53pm): What is it with Pennsylvanians? Three Republicans and three Democrats from Pennsylvania voted the opposite of the way the vast majority of members of their parties did. Pennsylvania has 19 House members, so that means almost a third were mavericks on this bill.


  1. D.C. residents absolutely deserve a vote in Congress.

    FEDERAL TAXES: Like the rest of Americans, and unlike other territories like Guam, D.C. residents pay FEDERAL taxes. They actually pay the highest amount in taxes per capita in the nation. Can you imagine paying federal taxes, but having no vote on how your tax dollars are spent???

    SOLDIERS IN WAR: Like the rest of Americans, and unlike other territories, D.C. residents have also fought and died in every American war stretching back to the War of 1812. Currently, they have no vote on whether or not their residents get sent to war. Think of screwed up that is alone.

    DEMOCRACY: D.C. is the only capital of a democracy IN THE WORLD that is not allowed a vote in their national legislature. Even the people living in Baghdad can vote for a federal representative. In this case, Iraqis have more democracy than America.

    CONSTITUTIONAL: The Constitution gives the Congress the power to do whatever it wants with the District. It’s called the “District Clause,” Article 1, Section 8: “To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District.” In 1800, Congress took away voting rights from D.C. using that power. That same power gives them the right to give it back. Conservative thinkers like Kenneth Starr (Clinton impeachment) and Viet Dihn (author of the Patriot Act) have come to the same conclusion. It is fair and will stand. A Constitutional amendment is unnecessary.

    NO NET GAIN: Since Utah will also get an extra vote in Congress, there is no net gain for either party. This follows the tradition of introducing states like traditionally Democratic Hawaii and traditionally Republican Alaska at the same time.

    FOREIGN POLICY: D.C.’s denial of voting representation has actually impacted America’s ability to carry out foreign policy. Rogue nations with poor human rights records argue that America cannot claim total innocence as they deny voting rights to the residents of their nation’s capital city. This has been an effective tool for countries with horrible records to continue their abuses.

    I realize that it is a lot to swallow. But truly, it is time to give the residents of America’s capital the right to vote in Congress.

    —Mike • 5:09 pm, April 20

  2. Good luck, D.C., in obtaining this voice: it’s well-deserved.

    By the way, Keith: “and now for something completely different” - a year-and-a-half ago on this site, you
    posted a “Separated at Birth” item that I just came across.

    And since I love posting these on my Daily Kos submission, I was delighted to see it was from a fellow D/L individual.
    In it, you wrote, “I couldn’t find a photo of Harriet Sansom Harris with the right hairstyle”. Now, as she has
    joined the cast of “Desperate Housewives”…..well, this Italian fansite does have one with the right ‘do.

    Hope you’ll agree,

    Ed Tracey
    Hanover, New Hampshire chapter

    —Ed Tracey • 6:41 pm, April 21

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