Monday, September 17, 2007

Bennett waffles on more power for Utah

If you were a Republican Senator from a small state, and there was a bill that would create another House seat for your state before the Census AND that seat was going to be a safe Republican seat, you would go for it right? Not Senator Bob "Watergate" Bennett.
But Bennett, R-Utah, says he is concerned that passage of the measure could lead to the District of Columbia arguing it deserves U.S. Senate representation for its nearly 600,000 residents.
His amendment, which will be offered later if the bill passes a procedural vote Tuesday, would nullify the legislation if the U.S. Supreme Court rules the District of Columbia must get Senate seats as well.
"If this bill becomes a covert way to give D.C. two senators, I want no part of it," Bennett said in a statement Friday.
The senator also said Friday that he will attempt to change the bill's provision that requires it to be wholly thrown out if the Supreme Court decides the District of Columbia does not qualify for a House seat. Under the current legislation, Utah would lose its fourth seat if the district loses its proposed member of Congress.
If the amendments fail to be included in the bill, "my constitutional concerns will compel me to vote with the president and sustain his expected veto," Bennett said.
Why would giving the District two Senators, home to more US citizens than South Dakota, be such a bad thing?

Well, DC is overwhelmingly Democratic and worse for Bennett, has a large African-American population. This means that out of the 1-3 person DC delegation, all or most would be black. Get Bennett his vapors.

Still, it is only fair that a city that has had no representation in Congress for 200 plus years should have its fate tied to Utah, who will get at least one more seat in 2012. Bennett's amendment is a poison pill amendment, and he knows it. The whole point of the bill's crafting was to make both Democrats and Republicans happy with it while fixing two inequities at the same time, Utah getting hosed out of a seat because the Census didn't count returning LDS missionaries and DC for having no representation at all.

In short Bennett will vote against his own state's interest just because it might help Democrats and black people have more of a voice in congress.

1 comment:

Jennifer Killpack-Knutsen said...

This makes me crazy. I remember seeing the "no taxation without representation" on cars when I was in D.C. and I agree -- the residents of D.C. should be free from federal taxes until such time as they are fairly represented.