The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has approved legislation that would grant the District of Columbia a representative in the U.S. House of Representatives with full rights of participation and add an additional House seat for Utah. Committee Ranking Member Susan Collins has released this statement about the legislation:
“I believe that residents of the District of Columbia should have voting representation in the U.S. House of Representatives as a matter of fundamental fairness. The concern that I have always had is how this representation could be granted to the District in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution. This complicated question was discussed during our recent hearing where we heard varying views from respected constitutional scholars. I have concluded that the constitutionality of this legislation is a close call and is best resolved by the courts.
“Given my support for the underlying goal, I have decided to support this legislation. I will offer an amendment that would expedite the process by which this matter can be brought before the courts for judicial review. Another amendment I will offer will clarify that Congress cannot by statute create Senate representation for the District, representation that the Constitution specifically reserves to states.
“This legislation raises complex issues, but the ultimate goal makes it worth my support.”