Senate committee passes DC voting rights bill

Senate committee passes DC voting rights bill

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Senate committee has overwhelmingly approved a bill that would give District of Columbia residents their first-ever voting member of Congress and add a seat for Utah.

The Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on Wednesday passed the legislation 11 to 1, sending it to the full Senate for consideration in the coming months.

The bill would expand the House by two seats. One would go to overwhelmingly Democratic D.C., and the other would go to Republican-leaning Utah, which narrowly missed out on a new seat after the 2000 census.

John McCain was the only senator to vote against the bill Wednesday. The Arizona Republican said he believes the measure is unconstitutional.

A similar bill passed the House in 2007 but was narrowly defeated in the Senate. Voting-rights advocates are optimistic of winning passage this year because Democrats have gained seats.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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