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D.C. Voting Rights Bill Postponed

The D.C. Voting Rights Act of 2009, passed by the Senate last week and scheduled to hit the House floor this week, has hit a snag.

"A House vote on the D.C. House Voting Rights Act will be postponed to allow more time for discussion on outstanding matters," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced in a released statement today.

The gun amendment sponsored by Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) was agreed to in the Senate last week, and the fear a similar amendment would pass in the House forced Democratic leadership to pull it yesterday from the House floor. The amendment would strike out the restrictive gun restrictions currently utilized in the nation's capital, which Ensign said today were "much too burdensome."

"There's no question if it is voted on it will pass," Ensign said of a potential gun amendment to the House bill. "And that's what Nancy Pelosi is afraid of."

D.C. voting rights supporters oppose Ensign's gun amendment, which would take away the District government's power to enact any laws that restrict gun ownership not prohibited by federal law. Ensign said today that he'd be willing to discuss his amendment but would not commit to a compromise because "they haven't offered anything."

Asked if he'd rather see the bill pass with his amendment, or his amendment fail along with the bill, Ensign said: "I'd rather see the legislation go down and my legislation passed."

House Minority Leader John Boehner weighed in yesterday after the bill was pulled from House consideration, calling out Democratic leaders for their "hollow" promise to restore "regular order" in the House. "By maneuvering to deny Second Amendment rights to residents of our nation's capital, Democratic leaders have made it clear that 'regular order' and the will of the American people will be respected only when it serves their interests," Boehner said.

Hoyer said today he would continue to resolve the issues keeping the bill from the House floor. "I remain committed to working with the Democratic leadership, Congresswoman Norton, President Obama and all other supporters of D.C. voting rights to address the remaining challenges so we can bring this historic legislation to the Floor as soon as possible," he said.