Archive for the 'The Washington Post' Category

No Vacation Without Representation!

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

Vote on DC Bill Likely Not Happening in August

The Post reports today, what we found out yesterday before the rally. That the Senate will likely not take up the DC Voting Rights Act before the August recess. Congresswoman Norton assured everyone that this will not affect the chances of passage…but we should still push to get it on the agenda before the break.

DC Shadow Senator Mike Brown had the line of the day:
“No Vacation Without Representation!

(Photo by Keith Ivey)

DC Voting Rights Passes Judiciary. Next Stop the House Floor!

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

Great news from Capitol Hill today. The House Judiciary Committee passed the DC Voting Rights Act by a vote of 21-13. The bill is expected to go to the full floor sometime late next week. Most people, myself included, expect it to pass.

I was in the hearing room today during the mark-up, and it was entertaining to say the least. I have to take a minute to thank Representative Mike Pence (R-Ind.) who joined Democrats in voting for the bill. He also promised to help pass it in the full House.

According to the Washington Post, he told Delegate Norton his support was “heartfelt”. I know I speak for everyone in the District when we thank him for his vote and welcome his help for final passage. I hope people back in his district give him credit for this vote as well.

It’s been quite a week for this issue with a hearing and two successful markups from key committees. It took a lot of work from a lot of people to get us this far…but we are nowhere near having this thing signed, sealed, and delivered. When it passes the House, we still need to get it through the Senate and that’s gonna take work. You can help by taking two minutes and going to - send the link to your friends, add it to your email signature, and just get people to take action!

We’re almost there, let’s keep up the momentum.

Here’s the post article:

House Committee Passes D.C. Voting Bill

DC Voting Rights Act Passes House Oversight and Reform Committee

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

Great day on the Hill as the DC Voting Rights Act (H.R. 1433) was passed out of the House Oversight and Reform Committee today by a vote of 24-5.

There were a number of amendments that were offered - the most entertaining one was by Representative Lynn Westmoreland. He attempted to amend the bill to read that if the partisan balance of a Democratic member from the District and a Republican member from Utah did not materialize, then the bill was null and void. Chairman Waxman wisely pointed out the United States Congress should not be in any position to tell people who what party they need to vote for. (Of course that amendement went nowhere, and I think Representative Westmoreland was just trying to make some sort of point )

Tomorrow there is a hearing in the Judiciary Committee at 10:00am in 2141 Rayburn. And then a mark-up on Thursday. It’s going to be an historic week!

Additional Reading:

Chairman Waxman’s Opening Statement

Opening Statement of Ranking Member Tom Davis

Washington Post Article:
D.C. Could Get First Full Vote in House

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

I’ve been working on a new grassroots action site, and it’s finally done. It’s at and it enables people to easily send a message to their U.S. Senators and Representatives in support of H.R. 328.

If you live in DC you can use the site to send a message to your friends and family who live outside of the District.

Please take five minutes and take action.

George F. Will on Voting Rights

Sunday, January 28th, 2007

Conservative columninst George F. Will wrote a piece in The Washington Post today about the recent move by the House of Representatives to give all the five territorial delegates in the body voting powers in the Committee of the Whole. Here’s a link to the op-ed:

Voting Rights Chicanery

The fact that he even cares about this re-affirms my fears about what would happen after the Democrats gave the delegates’ their votes back - it’s now being spun as a partisan power grab and the District of Columbia is lumped together with places like Guam and America Samoa in our struggle for voting rights.

Mr. Will should know that the courts have struck down his arguments before. As Vince Treacy was nice enough to summarize in an email to me:

“House Republicans filed suit in U.S. District Court in 1993, citing a violation of
the Constitution. But Judge Harold H. Greene ruled in favor of Norton and
the other delegates, saying their votes posed no constitutional problems
because they were ’symbolic’ and therefore ‘meaningless.’ That decision was
upheld on appeal.

The case was Michel v. Anderson, 817 F.Supp. 126, 141 D.D.C. 1993, affirmed
14 F.3d 623 D.C. Cir. 1994 - in case you want to review it yourself.

In his op-ed, Mr. Will also argues that:

“The 58,000 Samoans pay no federal income taxes, but their delegate will be able to participate in raising the taxes of, say, Montanans.”

That’s a bit of a stretch as the delegates can’t vote on final passage - and if their votes do make a difference, the vote can be done again without the delegates’ participation. Therefore a single vote from Guam or Puerto isn’t going to raise (or lower) taxes in the American heartland.

I do wonder what does Mr. Will thinks about the opposite of that situation. What would he say about the citizens of the District of Columbia who do pay federal taxes and are not represented with a real vote in Congress? By his own taxation/representation logic he surely can’t be in favor of that.

As I feared, this delegate vote is becoming a problem in terms of getting (and keeping) bi-partisan support for H.R. 328 - the bill that gives DC a real seat in Congress with an additional seat for Utah which was recently re-introduced by Congresswoman Norton. We need to keep focused on making sure that legislation keeps moving in this Congress. Let’s not get bogged down in this debate with the other Congressional delegates.

We deserve more as we pay Federal taxes and they don’t.

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