courtesy of NewsHour (flickr)

The group of people with the biggest right to grieve about unfair taxation and a lack of representation in Washington are not in the Tea Party movement, but are the roughly 600,000 residents of Washington, DC, who have no membership in Congress acting in their particular interest. For years Democrats have tried to remedy that problem, even offering a trade: a voting representative for DC in exchange for an extra House member from Utah, the state which came the closest to adding a member in the last Census. Now DC’s non-voting delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, expects a bill to come up in the House in a couple weeks:

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said Friday that a bill to grant Washington D.C its first House seat is about two weeks away.

While she ultimately declined to say “what the bill looks like now,” she told WTOP radio that area residents would “find out very soon” — later noting that “soon” meant about two weeks.

“[I will] carry a bill to the floor that I think can pass the House and the Senate.” Norton added, later criticizing D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty for not working closely with her on granting the District its first federal representative.

Republicans have sought to block the measure by tying DC voting rights to DC gun rights, adding an amendment last year to a similar bill that would have significantly expanded rules governing gun ownership in the District. The Democratic Party has basically left the playing field when it comes to gun control (they still have not reinstated the assault weapons ban after holding Congress for three-plus years and the Presidency for more than one), so they probably don’t have the votes to take out such a regulation, which the residents of DC absolutely disfavor.

They should think about the very real crime of having 600,000 American citizens without representation in their own government.

I’m skeptical this goes through, but as Norton recognizes, if DC voting rights fail again this year, they are likely not to get resurrected for some time. Rolling out a new representative for DC with the 2012 elections, based on new Census data, makes perfect sense – and the majorities of the Party committed to getting this done are probably at their high-water mark.

David Dayen

David Dayen