After being told no for the last 200 years, the House of Representatives have okayed a bill that would allow a House of Representatives position to be created for the residents of the District of Columbia. This is a complete shock to some, who analyze the situation and state that technically the District of Columbia is not a state and has no right to a representative in the house.
Along with adding a member of the house for the D.C. area, Utah has been given a fourth seat. Now the bill is passed along to the Senate to have a final approval but with the District of Columbia not being a true state, many are expecting the bill to be squashed. Some may not have realized but 200 years ago it was determined that the District of Columbia would be banned from a seat in the House since it was not a state.
Utah was declined an additional seat in the house after falling shy of the required residents to acquire a fourth seat after the last census. However, since they are in the process of adding additional seats and Utah is so very close to the requirements it is expected that by the next election they should have the required number of residents to justify the additional seat.
This is a major milestone in the House of Representatives, which has sat at 435 seats since 1960; it has been over 45 years since additional seats were added to the house. Opponents of the new bill have all been quick to point out that while it’s wonderful that the House is looking to grow, the Constitution clearly states that the members of the House are chosen by the people of the states, which since the District of Columbia is not a state, causes a major snafu in the plans of the Democratic majority House.
The House is slated to keep the 437 seats even after the 2010 census, which is when Utah is slated to be expanding to a 4th district. While this is the first time this measure has actually passed the House, it is not the first time it has been discussed, nor debated. Back in 1978, it was mentioned that the District of Columbia should be given a vote in the House of Representatives; however, the amendment was discarded after it was unable to be ratified by a quorum three-fourth majority of the states.
Once again, the measure was attempted in 1993; however, this attempt was focused around moving the District of Columbia into statehood and transforming the District into a full-fledged state of the United States. This proposal was also rejected, so this is a major victory that has been attempted several times previously. Whether it will pass through the Senate, and ultimately receive legal effect, is still left to be determined.
Many have argued that the District should be allowed a seat in the House, since the residents of the District pay taxes and fight in the wars of this country just like residents of any other state. The debate and battle rages on, and it will be a rather interesting experience to see if the District is able to win their bid to a permanent seat in the House.