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Reid Sets Votes on Solis, D.C. Voting Rights

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Friday night set up two contentious votes — one on the nomination of Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) to be Labor secretary and another on a bill to give the District of Columbia a permanent representative in Congress. Both will occur after next week’s recess.

Immediately following final passage Friday night of a $787 billion economic stimulus bill, Reid took to the floor to file procedural motions to overcome GOP objections to both the Solis nomination and the D.C. bill. Sixty votes will be needed to move forward on both. Votes on the Solis nomination and the D.C. bill are set for Tuesday, Feb. 24, Reid said.

Solis has encountered opposition from Republicans who are concerned about her support for a bill that would ease the rules for union organizing as well as her affiliation with an advocacy group, American Rights at Work, which has pushed that bill.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved Solis’ nomination this week after Republicans were given more information about the payment of tax liens against Solis’ husband’s business.

The D.C. Voting Rights Act also would provide Utah with an additional seat so that the 435-member House of Representatives would expand to 437. Because Utah is expected to elect a Republican and D.C. is expected to elect a Democrat to those seats, the bill has enjoyed a measure of bipartisan support. However, some Republicans object on constitutional grounds.

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