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House Postpones Vote on Giving DC and Utah New Seats

House Postpones Vote on Giving DC and Utah New Seats

Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Legislation to give Utah a fourth House seat and the District of Columbia voting representation in the House stalled short of passage today when Republicans unexpectedly injected the volatile issue of gun control into the debate.

Apparently fearful they might lose control of the proceedings, Democrats decided to postpone action on the voting rights measure, which had appeared to be moving methodically toward passage in the House.

The bill would create a new at-large seat for Republican-leaning Utah, offsetting what would be a safe Democratic seat in Washington D-C. Overall House membership would increase to 437. The House has had 435 voting members since 1960.

The future of the bill is less certain in the Senate. Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch has voiced concerns about the constitutionality of the new at-large seat in his state.

Under the bill, the House would stay at 437 after the 2010 census, with D-C assured of a seat. Utah -- which narrowly missed picking up a fourth seat after the 2000 census -- is also expected to gain a seat after 2010.

The White House has said President Bush would be advised to veto the legislation if it reaches his desk because the Constitution specifically says that the House should be comprised of members chosen by "the people of the several states."

The District of Columbia is NOT a state.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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