DC Voting Rights Pass Cloture

Well, the debate went 15 minutes longer than originally scheduled, but today, S.160 passed a cloture vote 62-34Barring something bizarre happening this evening when the measure moves to an official vote, Washington, D.C. is getting closer to having voting representation in Congress.

The debate today began with Sen. Lieberman (I-Conn.) addressing the floor. He compared the bill to the civil rights movement, noting that residents of Washington, D.C. are the only people in the world who live in a democracy´s capital city but have no right to determine how the country is run. He noted that district residents and businesses paid more money in federal taxes than the residents of 19 other states.

Lieberman also addressed the constitutionality of awarding representation to the district. He noted Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, which reads, ¨The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.¨ But he argued that the enumerated powers of Congress, which include the right to ¨exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever¨ over the district, make this bill constitutional.

Other senators — Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) — echoed Lieberman´s arguments. Hatch noted that a litany of court cases demonstrated that it was permissible to treat the district as a state for many purposes, such as the regulation of commerce. He also argued the path of American history has been to expand the vote, not to disenfranchise people.

Hatch said the Senate version of the bill is superior to the House´s because it precludes the district from receiving representation in the Senate. We´ll have more on the difference between the two bills later this week. 

After the jump, we´ll take a look at the man who tried to rain on the DC voting rights parade.

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Buy American Requirement Qualifiers

(b) Subsection (a) shall not apply in any case or category of
cases in which the head of the Federal department or agency involved
finds that—
(1) applying subsection (a) would be inconsistent with the
public interest;
(2) iron, steel, and the relevant manufactured goods are not
produced in the United States in sufficient and reasonably
available quantities and of a satisfactory quality; or
(3) inclusion of iron, steel, and manufactured goods produced
in the United States will increase the cost of the overall
project by more than 25 percent.
(c) If the head of a Federal department or agency determines
that it is necessary to waive the application of subsection (a) based
on a finding under subsection (b), the head of the department or
agency shall publish in the Federal Register a detailed written justification
as to why the provision is being waived.
(d) This section shall be applied in a manner consistent with
United States obligations under international agreements.

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