D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) Tuesday blamed gun-rights advocates for including language in voting rights legislation that torpedoed the bill.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who controls the floor schedule, said earlier Tuesday that lawmakers would likely not vote on the legislation this Congress, partially because of extra measures added to the bill, such as the gun provisions.


Norton, a nonvoting member of Congress who has long advocated full voting rights for Washington D.C., said language in the House's bill damaged the bill's chances of passing the Senate.

"After working for a full year to bring a clean D.C. voting rights bill to the House floor, while continuing to negotiate a gun compromise, I made the most difficult decision last week to begin moving forward with the D.C. voting rights bill," Norton said in a lengthy statement. "However, new developments in both the House and Senate have now made it difficult to pass the D.C. House Voting Rights Act right now."

Norton said that pro-gun control Senate Democrats would likely not support the House's version of the legislation, which she said would permit concealed carry in D.C., a city which had a gun ban overturned by the Supreme Court nearly two years ago.

"I had hoped that some changes I requested in the Senate gun amendment would hold their support, but three outrageous provisions in the updated NRA-drafted House gun bill virtually guarantee the loss of some Senate Democratic support, and therefore of the D.C. voting rights bill," she said. "These provisions are so over the top, they are unworthy of serious consideration."

This Congress was seen as one of the best scenarios for D.C. voting rights to be approved, with Democrats controlling large majorities in Congress.

But Norton also said that the threat of a filibuster from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who has endorsed efforts to pass D.C. voting rights in the past, posed an additional stumbling block for the bill, since Democrats now have 59 votes in the Senate, not enough to break a filibuster.

Hatch opposed the measure because it added an at-large congressional seat in Utah, but he wanted a seat that was placed in a traditional congressional district.

"If the choice was between this deeply-flawed bill and no bill at all, no bill is hands down the better option," Hatch said in a statement Tuesday.

Norton, however, vowed that she would try again this year to bring up the issue despite the fact Hoyer appeared to throw cold water on that possibility Tuesday.

"We have begun to develop new strategies to get a voting rights bill through the Congress that can pass," she said. "We have developed a strategy for advancing budget and legislative autonomy this year."