Hatch Threatens Filibuster of DC Vote Bill
After more than a year idling in the House, a proposal to give the residents of the nation’s capital a voting representative in Congress finally seemed clear for passage this week when Democratic leaders announced they were ready to accept some version of the accompanying amendment that would scrap most of D.C.’s gun control laws.
That is, until Sen. Orrin Hatch stepped in.
The Utah Republican said Thursday that he’ll filibuster the bill the House expects to take up this month because, although it keeps the original provision granting Utah a new member of the House, it wouldn’t carve out a distinct new congressional district for that lawmaker to represent. Instead, every voter in Utah would choose the state’s fourth House member.
“Anyone who believes in what is left of federalism in America, regardless of their party or ideology, should oppose this legislation,” Hatch said in a statement. “Utah deserves an additional seat in the House, but like every other state it should have the freedom to elect its House members from regular districts. The federal government has no business dictating to any state which approach they must use. … Under the House bill, one House member from Utah would have three times as many constituents as the others.”
The Senate version of the bill — which passed early last year with Hatch’s support — would re-divide Utah to create a separate congressional district. The bill passed by a slim 61-37 margin, with most Republicans (including Utah’s Robert Bennett) opposing it. With Hatch aligned against the latest proposal, it would almost surely fail in the Senate.
H/t: The Hill.