Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas filed a resolution Wednesday seeking to block the D.C. government from implementing a plan that allows illegal immigrants to vote in local elections.
The disapproval resolution, signed by more than two dozen fellow Senate Republicans, mirrors a House measure from House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer of Kentucky and leverages Congress’ constitutional right to review and reject bills passed by the D.C. Council.
Republicans argue the D.C. measure would exacerbate the ongoing border crisis, water down the influence of American citizens and let foreign adversaries peddle their influence in the national capital.
“Allowing illegal immigrants and other foreign nationals to vote in our elections, in our capital, is an insult to every American. After years of lamenting so-called ‘foreign interference’ in our elections, every single Democrat ought to join in invalidating this insane policy,” Mr. Cotton said.
The D.C. Council passed legislation in November to let roughly 50,000 green-card holders, temporary residents on visas and illegal immigrants vote in local contests, part of a growing movement in liberal jurisdictions around the country.
Supporters of the plan say persons who live and work in cities and states should have a say in civic representation and decisions.
Some Maryland towns in the Beltway region have allowed illegal immigrants to vote. New York City pushed a similar effort, but it was struck down last year by a judge who said it violated the state constitution.
Republican efforts to block D.C. laws through disapproval resolutions rarely succeed, and the new effort is unlikely to break through. The Senate is led by Democrats, and President Biden would not sign off on the measure.
However, the GOP might attach so-called legislative riders to must-pass bills to thwart D.C. measures. The idea is to force Democrats to swallow hard and accept the add-ons as a byproduct of getting the broader bill across the finish line.
Republicans have used this tactic in the past to prevent the District from setting up marijuana sales and using local funds for abortions.
For now, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s nonvoting member of Congress, is vowing to fight the House and Senate resolutions.
“Local D.C. laws are matters for the duly-elected D.C. Council and mayor, not members of Congress representing far-away districts like Rep. Comer’s in Kentucky and Sen. Cotton’s state of Arkansas,” Mrs. Norton said after learning of GOP plans last month.
• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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