Supporters of D.C. Voting Rights Optimistic as Bill Heads to Senate

WASHINGTON -- Supporters of direct voting representation for the District of Columbia in Congress have their hopes raised now that the issue is back before the Senate. 

But the history of this effort is not filled with victory celebrations. A similar effort failed just two years ago, and it's uncertain whether the additional seats Democrats picked up last fall will provide enough votes to get it through. 

Not only that, opponents argue strongly that giving the federal city a vote in the House -- as this bill intends -- would be unconstitutional. The Founding Fathers specified that such direct-representation would be given only to the states, and the District is not a state. 

The legislation has the support of a key Senate Republican, Utah's Orrin Hatch, because it would also give his state an additional House vote.