City Desk

Michael Steele: D.C. Vote an “Important Civil Right”

Michael Steele, chair of the Republican National Committee, expressed full-throated support this afternoon for the D.C. House Voting Rights Act and said he was gratified that the bill passed cloture earlier today. He was buttonholed by LL as he entered the Senate wing of the Capitol with former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman.

"I think it's an important civil right for the residents of this city," said Steele, a native of Ward 4. "Having grown up here I understand how important it is to them."

And Steele pumped up the GOP's civil rights history: "We’ve always, as a party, been on the right side of that history so, hopefully, everybody will be there again.”

The bill is now clear for a vote on final passage, but landmines remain. Paul Strauss, one of two "shadow senators," says the worry now is that an opponent of the bill will introduce a divisive amendment that could scuttle the bill's passage. "They'll find something that folks from the more conservative states will have trouble voting against," he said. "Probably something on guns."

Steele was asked about the possibility of one of his fellow Republicans introducing such an amendment. "I haven't heard anything about that," he said. "Hopefully, it'll be a nice clean vote."

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