Lieberman Frustrated by House Refusal to Take Up D.C. Voting Rights bill

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., said Wednesday the decision by House leaders not to call up a bipartisan District of Columbia voting rights bill during the lame duck session was “extremely frustrating.”

The measure, authored by House Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, adds a fourth congressional seat for the state of Utah, based on 2000 census figures, and gives the D.C. delegate voting rights on the floor of the House.

The bill not only has bipartisan support in the House. It is supported by the two Republican Senators representing Utah. Furthermore, the state of Utah moved quickly this week to redraw its congressional lines so the bill could be moved through the lame duck session.

“We should not be allowing another month to pass before we provide all the citizens of this country their Constitutional right to be represented in Congress,” Lieberman said. “I am very hopeful that the House, under the leadership of Speaker-elect Pelosi, will consider this legislation during the 110th Congress, and that the Senate will follow suit. But as we fight for democracy abroad, we should promptly insure the right to voting representation to all our citizens at home.

“Chairman Davis and Congresswoman Norton have taken great pains to develop a bipartisan bill that sought to remedy unresolved problems for both Utah and the District of Columbia,” Lieberman continued. “An unprecedented effort by Utah Governor Jon Huntsman and the Utah state legislature demonstrated the seriousness of this effort, and I commend their hard work.

“I also appreciate the bipartisan efforts of Utah Senators Orrin Hatch and Robert Bennett in working with me to encourage the Senate leadership to join the fight, and recognizing that Utah and District citizens have the right to be represented in our national legislature.”

To see letters to Senate Majority Leader Frist and Minority Leader Reid signed by Senators Hatch and Bennett, click here.