Friday, March 06, 2009

22 Dems blocking DC voting rights progress

Twenty-two Senate Democrats -- along with all of the Republicans, minus Dick Lugar -- have stood in the way of D.C. moving toward getting a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. It's unclear what will happen now.

The backstory: with a Democratic President and a larger Senate majority, there was hope this year of at least winning a House seat for D.C. (which may or may not withstand a court challenge on the constitutionality of giving a vote to a place that is not one of the "many states").

There was plenty of support in the House; it was in the Senate that it was a bit closer. But the Dems seemed to have the votes to go ahead. Then John Ensign, Republican of Nevada, introduced an amendment that would abolish "nearly all of the city's gun regulations" (the Post's words), and specify that the District "shall not have the authority to enact laws or regulations that discourage or eliminate the private ownership or use of firearms."

The amendment passed, 62-36. Minutes later, the Senate passed the bill, 61-37.

But the damage was done. There's fairly wide agreement in D.C. that removing the gun laws we do have would be disastrous. It's unclear now if the two chambers can reconcile with a bill that doesn't remove our existing gun restrictions, and get both to pass it.

So who are those 22 Dems who joined the Republicans (minus Lugar) in messing this whole thing up?

Baucus (MT)
Bayh (IN)
Begich (AK)
Bennet (CO)
Byrd (WV)
Casey (PA)
Conrad (ND)
Dorgan (ND)
Feingold (WI)
Hagan (NC)
Johnson (SD)
Landrieu (LA)
Lincoln (AR)
McCaskill (MO)
Nelson (NE)
Pryor (AR)
Reid (NV)
Tester (MT)
Udall (CO)
Udall (NM)
Warner (VA)
Webb (VA)

Feingold is certainly the most shocking. I just don't get it. He doesn't even have a serious challenge coming up in 2010, by all accounts -- not that that would make the vote okay. And then there's Reid. And all of those new people we thought we were at least a little bit excited about winning, like Hagan and Udall. Byrd and Baucus trumped them all: they went on to vote against the bill.



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