- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Congressional leaders decided not to allow a House vote this week on a measure that would give D.C. residents a vote in Congress for the first time.

Sponsors of the bill said last night that Republican leaders won’t bring the measure to the floor during the lame-duck session that ends this week.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat, and Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, Virginia Republican, expressed their disappointment that the measure won’t be voted on until after the new Congress is sworn in next month.

“It’s tough to take after we, along with D.C. residents, had created so much momentum for this bipartisan bill,” Mr. Davis and Mrs. Norton said in a joint statement. “We got it farther than anyone anticipated. We’re disappointed not for ourselves but for residents of the District and Utah and all those who joined this fight for justice over the past four years.”

The D.C. Voting Rights Act would give the overwhelmingly Democratic District a full vote in the House and create a fourth House seat for predominantly Republican Utah.

Mrs. Norton and Mr. Davis said they will reintroduce the measure in January. Under current House rules, Mrs. Norton only has a vote in committee and cannot vote on final legislation.

“The main problem is time,” Mrs. Norton conceded earlier this week.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams, who leaves office Jan. 2, said it was “unfair and unreasonable” for the Republican-controlled Congress to shelve the issue.

“I’m disappointed because District residents have waited long enough for basic voting rights, and we shouldn’t have to wait one day longer,” Mr. Williams said.

Mayor-elect Adrian M. Fenty met with House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi last week to discuss the bill’s prospects.

Jennifer Crider, a spokeswoman for the California Democrat, said the bill would be a priority for Democratic lawmakers next session when they are in control of the 110th Congress.

The Utah Legislature on Monday approved a map dividing the state into four congressional districts instead of three. The redistricting map was required by lawmakers to move the bill forward.

The two additional seats would expand the House permanently from 435 to 437 members.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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