The vote could be a cliffhanger. Almost all of the Senate's 51 Democrats and independents back the bill, as do at least five Republican members.The vote needs 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. Who's in play?
The bill's supporters are focusing on a small group of senators who are publicly uncommitted, including Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan).Many opponents of the bill claim that it is unconstitutional--that Congress cannot legislate a seat to the District of Columbia, which is not a state. They cite Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution to support this claim (e.a.):
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several StatesSome argue that Congress still has the power to grant DC a seat even if it isn't an official state.
Sen. Warner (R-VA) has announced that he will not support this measure--though he is interested in a Constitutional amendment to grant DC a full representative in the House. Other opponents of this bill might be interested in a similar amendment.
A similar bill has already passed the House, and the White House has threatened to veto this bill.