Utah could be a step closer to receiving an additional seat in the United States House of Representatives.
Sen. Orrin Hatch credits the introduction of the D.C. House Voting Rights Act with advancing Utah's bid to obtain a fourth congressional seat.
Last week, Hatch joined Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton of Washington, D.C., to reintroduce the proposed bill.
The legislation would provide a seat in the House for the District of Columbia and provide Utah with a fourth congressional position.
"The bill moves Utah closer to receiving the additional House seat it has deserved for nearly a decade," pointed out Hatch. "While the 2010 census and reapportionment might provide Utah an additional seat, the failure of the 2000 process showed that this is not a sure thing. This bill maximizes the chances of securing an additional seat for Utah , which has had one of the country's fastest growth rates since the last census. "
"Participating in the election of those who govern us is at the heart of the American system of government," continued the Utah senator. "Several years ago, I said Americans living in the District of Columbia should have the full rights of citizenship, including voting rights. I have studied the constitutional and policy issues in depth and am convinced now as much as ever that the U.S. Constitution allows Congress to provide a House seat for the district."
If adopted by the 111th Congress, the bill would boost the number of seats in the House of Representatives from 435 to 437, the first increase in 96 years.
Hatch maintained that it is time for Congress to pass the bill.
"Congress provides that Americans living outside the Continental U.S. are represented in Congress and I think it is time to provide the same thing for Americans living right here at home in the District ofÂ Columbia. So I'm pleased to work with two distinguished colleagues and good friends in Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton and Joe Lieberman, to help bring this about," concluded the Utah senator.