"Congress has a clear and appropriate interest in preserving both historic characteristics of our nation's capital and ensuring that longstanding rules and regulations still pass the test of common sense," Issa said. "As time has elapsed and opportunities for economic growth in our nation's capital continue to present themselves, this study will help Congress and local leaders evaluate the case for expanding existing boundaries for vertical growth."

Issa's committee held a hearing in July on the Height Act of 1910, and members agreed that a good start would be a study of the law's impact on Washington. The law generally restricts buildings in commercial zones to 130 feet in height, and restricts buildings on residential streets to 90 feet.

"This study is just the beginning of what will be a complete public process examining the economic and aesthetic consequences of changing a law that has stood for more than 100 years," Holmes Norton said.

The two members asked the National Capital Planning Commission and the District of Columbia in October to start the study, and in a Nov. 1 letter, the Planning Commission said it would start this December, and finish by September 2013.