Today, we'll take a break from H.R. 1105 and instead dig into our mailbag. So without further ado, here are your questions and our best attempt at answering them.
Murpheus of Orlando writes: I don't understand the business about Utah getting a vote. What's the justification???
Well Murpheus, for what it's worth, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) shares your confusion.
"The obvious question is, 'Why Utah?' And frankly, as a representative of the people of the state of Arizona, I must ask, 'Why not Arizona?' he said on the Senate floor Wednesday. "And if voting representation is not limited to states, then one must ask, 'Why not Puerto Rico and Guam?'"
Later, he identified the answer. "In 2003, lawmakers began floating an idea of a compromise bill to balance a House seat for the District of Columbia, which most assumed would be won by a Democrat, with a seat for a congressional district in Utah, which most assumed would be won by a Republican," McCain said.
It is worth noting, however, that in the 2000 census, Utah missed out on another seat in the House by 857 residents. The state went so far as to sue the government, arguing that it had undercounted the Mormons who were abroad doing service and missionary work. So the selection of Utah for an extra House seat is not as random as McCain makes it out to be.
But in the long run, it probably does not matter. The new representatives (from Utah and the district) would only take office in 2010. In that year is also a census, which will likely see Utah's seat given to another state.
So the short answer: Utah is getting a seat because of politics, but it probably will not keep it beyond the next census.
After the jump, what happens if the Senate does not pass H.R. 1105 by March 6?