It may have been a matter of congressional courtesy or political savvy that prompted Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the delegate from the District of Columbia, to take the most positive view of the failure of the district's voting rights bill to move forward in the U.S. Senate. She noted that even as the bill came short of clearing a critical procedural hurdle by three votes, it had still generated considerable support. That may be a sign of progress, but disenfranchised Washington residents should continue to be outraged - and to keep fighting.
Washington has had a nonvoting delegate in the House of Representatives since 1971, but efforts to correct that injustice have been rebuffed, largely by Republicans who did not want to guarantee another likely Democratic seat. The current bill would make the district's delegate a full voting representative while adding a fourth seat for largely Republican Utah, which came very close to gaining another seat in the last census. The proposal passed the House with strong support from top Democratic leaders, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Majority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland.