- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Senate voted in favor Thursday afternoon of giving the District a full House vote, but not before attaching an amendment that could doom the legislation.

The vote was 61-37.

The amendment by Sen. John Ensign, Nevada Republican, would further expand gun ownership in the District.

“Our opponents thought that they would either defeat our bill or diminish our victory by adding this gun bill amendment,” said Ilir Zherka of the advocacy group DC Vote. “They didn’t. We passed a significant hurdle in our fight for full democracy for D.C. residents.

“If anything, this amendment has strengthened our resolve to continue to fight for the rights of Washingtonians,” Mr. Zherka said. “Congress repeatedly treats the District as a testing ground for flawed, dangerous legislation. This has to stop. And we’ll keep fighting to ensure that the bill signed into law is not tainted by this amendment.”

A flurry of amendments were presented but failed, including one by Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, that would have ceded most of District to Maryland. The vote failed 67-30.

The legislation now on Capitol Hill would give the Democrat-dominated District a full House vote and Republican-leaning Utah a fourth House member. The House passed similar legislation last year and is now review its version. The vote could come as early as next week.

Mr. Kyl said the amendment was to give D.C. residents a vote in both houses. He said the current bill is unconstitutional. If the legislation passes and is signed by President Obama, Democrat, as he has indicated he would, the issue would likely go to court and be decided by the Supreme Court.

The Senate also defeated an amendment that would have allowed D.C. residents to not pay federal income taxes and a motion Tuesday by Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, challenging the bill’s constitutionality.

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