D.C. shouln’t serve as political playground

Citizens of Washington, D.C. won a compromised victory Thursday when the Senate passed the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act by a 61-37 vote.

On one hand, 600,000 unrepresented U.S. citizens are a step closer to receiving Congressional representation. If passed, the bill will add two seats to the House of Representatives: one to D.C. and a fourth to Utah, the state next in line to receive an additional representative, according to U.S. Census findings.

On the other hand, D.C. citizens are being subject to their ultimate pet peeve: Congressional override of local government. Republican senate members have attached an amendment to the bill that will, if passed, overturn the city’s gun control laws, including a ban on semi-automatic weapons.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), is being lauded for its bi-partisan nature. Some Republican senators felt safe voting for the bill, knowing it wouldn’t upset the balance of power in the House of Representatives. Utah will most likely vote in a Republican representative to cancel out any vote cast by Delegate to Congress Eleanor Holmes Norton, the House’s current non-voting member who is slated to take the position.’

However, for the D.C. metropolitan area – one of the nation’s most crime-ridden – this mixed-bag victory could prove devastating all because of politicking by gun lobbyists and the National Rifle Association, both G.O.P. financial contributors.

Washington, D.C. isn’t the place to make a political point. Those who live in, work at and travel to the U.S. capitol shouldn’t be put in harm’s way because of a partisan issue. The amendment also dismisses the notion that the citizens of D.C. – who voted for the gun control policy – have the right to self-govern.

The bill is expected to invoke much debate in the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court.

While some detractors fear the bill violates the Constitution by offering rights to a city that should be reserved for states, the fact remains that 600,000 U.S. citizens are being taxed without representation.

Leave a Comment