U.S. Congressman Dean Heller (R-NV) along with 72 of his House Colleagues, Democrat and Republican, sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) expressing concerns with the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act's (H.R. 157) potential inclusion in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2010 (H.R. 3326).
On March 3, 2009, Heller offered an amendment to House Rules Committee to protect the Second Amendment Rights of Washington, DC residents during consideration of H.R. 157. The amendment was rejected on a party line vote. The letter text is below.
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi The Honorable Steny Hoyer
Speaker of the House of Representatives House Democratic Majority Leader
H-232, The Capitol H-107, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515 Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer:
We write to express our deep concern over reports that House leadership is planning to include the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act (H.R. 157) in the fiscal year 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act.
Regardless of Members' positions on either of these bills, we owe it to the American people to ensure that each piece of legislation that comes before this body is discussed and receives a vote on its merits. Specifically, we are concerned that the politicization of any legislation dealing with vital funding for our troops sends the wrong message to our brave men and women in uniform and their families. A fair and straightforward vote on the fiscal year 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations bill should be considered.
Furthermore, Members from both sides of the aisle have concerns about H.R. 157 that deserve an open, transparent debate. Inclusion of H.R. 157 in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act would severely limit this necessary discussion and ignores the valid constitutional questions surrounding this legislation, including serious concerns that many Members of the House have regarding D.C. residents' Second Amendment rights. We believe that separate deliberation on H.R. 157 would be most consistent with your promise to "create the most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history," and urge you to resist any call to include H.R. 157 in any legislation coming out of a Conference Committee.
We appreciate your consideration of our views and look forward to considering D.C. voting rights and Department of Defense appropriations, each on their own merits, on the House floor in the 111th Congress.