The District of Columbia’s nearly-600,000 residents pay federal taxes like all other Americans (except perhaps the few politicians who forget) and serve on federal juries and in the nation’s armed forces.Â Despite fulfilling these responsibilities of citizenship, however, citizens living in the so-called “capital of the free world” are denied voting representation in Congress.
Congress is currently considering the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act (in the House as H.R. 157 and the Senate as S. 160), which would help remedy the situation by granting the District of Columbia voting representation in the House of Representatives.Â The bill is a political compromise that aims to attract Republican support to granting the heavily-Democratic District of Columbia a seat in the House.Â The bill would expand the House to 437 members, with one of the new seats going to the District of Columbia and the other going to heavily-Republican Utah, which is currently next in line to receive an additional House seat.
An effort to pass a similar bill failed in the 110th Congress.Â The bill passed the House, but fell three votes short of overcoming a Republican-led filibuster in the Senate.Â With expanded Democratic majorities in both houses in the 111th Congress, however, the bill is very likely to pass.Â It is likely to come to a floor vote in the House sometime this month.Â It passed the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs today by an 11-1 vote (Senator John McCain cast the single vote against the bill) and will likely come to a vote in the full Senate later this year.
UPDATE: According to the AP,Â a preliminary Senate vote has been scheduled for February 24.