Norton and Davis Reintroduce D.C. Vote Bill
For more information contact: James Jones, Communications Director
202.462.6000 x12 office / 202.557.4864 mobile / email@example.com
January 9, 2007
Washington, DC - Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Tom Davis (R-VA) today kept their promise to reintroduce the Fair and Equal House Voting Rights Act as their first bill of the 110th Congress, introducing the same bill with the four-district plan. Davis, the original author of the bill, was the chair of the Committee when he worked with Norton for four years to get Republican and Democratic agreement on the current bill to give one vote to the mainly Democratic District of Columbia and another to the largely Republican state of Utah. The bill also would permanently increase the size of the House from 435 to 437 members.
"Democrats have long been outspoken in their commitment to D.C. voting rights, and I appreciate their unwavering support" Norton said. "The political history of our country demonstrates that additional representation has been granted only on the basis of exact political equivalence, assuring neither benefit nor disadvantage to either party. The people of the District of Columbia and our civil rights and civic allies have therefore concluded that there can be no serious attempt to achieve the vote for our citizens that ignores precedents woven so tightly into our history. We are grateful for the rare opportunity the Utah-D.C. bill offers to follow the unerring path to the vote laid out by American history. Our vote was long past due in the 109th Congress. We're in overtime in the 110th."
Davis first brought the idea to Norton after Utah narrowly missed getting a seat following the last census and failed to get the Supreme Court to rule in the state's favor. Davis said, "It is simply inexcusable that residents of the District of Columbia, the Capital of the Free World, the city that symbolizes our grand experiment in representative democracy - that these citizens do not have a representative with a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, the People's House. We got further than anyone ever had before last session, and this time, we're going to push it over the top. It's a matter of fairness. It always has enjoyed bipartisan support. Speaker Nancy Pelosi was a cosponsor last time, and we're hoping for her continued support."
The two regional colleagues will proceed on the win-win basis that came close to securing passage in the 109th Congress. Norton said that in the spirit of the partnership promised by the new Democratic House majority, she was optimistic that Democrats will see the bill as a historic opportunity to make good on promises for voting rights and equality for the people of the District of Columbia.
A similar bill approved by the Committee on Government Reform last May called for the additional seat in Utah to be at-large until the 2010 census. The bill then was referred to the Judiciary Committee, where then-Chairman James F. Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI) insisted that Utah adopt a redistricting plan that allowed for four seats before he would approve the bill. Utah's legislature met in early December and quickly adopted a four-seat plan, which met with Sensenbrenner's approval. However, House leadership declined to address the issue in the closing days of the 109th Congress.
Doxie A. McCoy (Norton)
David Marin/Brian McNicoll (Davis)