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The bill has passed...but WITH the Ensign amendment. It seems Democratic Senators decided it was worth throwing DC gun laws under the bus in order to get them a House Member. Not sure HOW I feel about that one...but I guess the takeaway regarding this diary is no more calls are needed. Victory! Sort of...

Update II--
Press release by DC Vote on passage...

Below the fold I'll crosspost my piece today at Loaded Orygun on the DC Vote bill, which would give DC residents an actual Member of the US House--taxation WITH representation, finally. My perspective was how the change from Smith to Merkley in OR has been key for advancing the bill, but right now there's a more pressing matter:

Today - right now - we need you to call the Senate! We have just hours to defeat a harmful gun amendment to the DC Voting Rights Act - call NOW !

Senator John Ensign (R-NV) has added a gun amendment to the DC House Voting Rights Act (S.160). The amendment is flawed, dangerous and unnecessary. One minute of your time could make the critical difference between a "yes" and "no" vote on the Senate floor!

Call toll-free 1.888.999.6775 TODAY, Thursday, February 26


(...the rest of the appeal from Ilir Zherka, Executive Director of the DC Vote coalition...)

You will be transferred to your senators' offices. Tell them you are a constituent who wants the senator to vote NO on the gun amendment DC House Voting Rights Act (S. 160).

Want a call script? Click here.

Forward this e-mail to your family, friends and colleagues across the country, and ask them to call NOW!

Note: If you live in DC, you will be transferred to a key senator to urge them to reject the gun amendment.

We have set up this toll-free number for one day only. Call 1.888.999.6775 today!

[Crossposted from Loaded Orygun, Oregon's Progressive Community]

About a year or so ago, the young and energetic folks at DC Vote dropped me an email and asked to meet with me. "Huh?" I thought. First, why is DC Vote coming to Oregon, and secondly why are they calling me? Sure I lived in the shadow of DC for over 20 years and the whole taxation-without-representation thing has been a burr in my saddle of political morality for a long time...but what did LO and Oregon have to do with it?

The answer: Gordon Smith. Along with 40+ of his Republican Senate friends, he had consistently blocked passage of any bill to give DC residents Congressional representation. The current effort plans to give DC one House Member, balanced with one extra seat in Utah--which strongly believed it got jobbed out of an extra electoral vote (and thus House seat) in the 2000 apportionment. Note that this clever balancing act got the powerful Orrin Hatch on board, but it wasn't enough--and even if it had passed, would President Bush have signed it?

So DC Vote was coming to me to highlight yet another issue where Smith was not exactly supporting the efforts of greater democracy and fairness. They were pretty close, just a few votes away--and defeating people like Smith was the best path to victory. I liked their approach, definitely agreed with their thesis--so I did them the solid and wrote it up as one more reason to get rid of Gordon. 

Fast forward to the 111th Congress, now newly decorated with additional Democrats--including Jeff Merkley, replacement for the aforementioned obstructionist Smith. And the results for the District? The bill is on the floor this week, working its way through various poison-pill amendments, and appears scheduled for a cloture vote today. It's already passed one such vote with 62 Senators, so prospects look optimistic.

One of those 62 votes, you may correctly guess, was cast by Junior Senator Merkley (one of the others was cast by Wyden, a consistent supporter of the bill). As his office told me:

For far too long, the residents of the District of Columbia have not had full representation in our government.  The Senate took a huge step today towards rectifying that situation and I’m honored to have played a small part in bringing equal treatment to DC.

The DC Vote people had their own thanks and kudos:

We really appreciate Senator<span>Merkley’s</span> support for the DC House Voting Rights Act. He and his colleagues in the new 111th Congress have really stepped up to the plate on this issue. Thanks to their “yes” votes on cloture, we’re a huge step closer towards full democracy for DC residents. Sen. <span>Merkley</span> voiced his support for the issue when DC Vote staffers were out in Oregon last spring <span> </span>and we’re thankful to him for his continued support now that he’s a member of the Senate. 

Elections matter. No really, they do. Congratulations to both Oregon Senators for championing representation for ALL American citizens.

Originally posted to torridjoe on Thu Feb 26, 2009 at 01:16 PM PST.

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