Thursday, February 26th, 2009
James Besser in Washington
A while back this blog reported on suggestions Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand could face tough going with Jewish voters in 2010, when she runs for a full term, in part because of her strong pro-gun stance – a position that sells well in her former upstate congressional district but generally doesn’t impress Jewish Manhattanites.
That maybe changing; on Thursday the newly minted Senator voted against overturning the District of Columbia’s tough gun restrictions. That put her on the same side as several leading Jewish groups which fought the gun ban repeal, including the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.
Unfortunately for the Jewish groups, that measure, an amendment to a bill that would give DC a vote in the House of Representatives, passed on Thursday. Later in the day the full DC voting rights bill, which the same groups support, passed the Senate in a 61-37 vote. The House could take up the measure in a week or two, and Jewish groups expect to work aggressively against the gun ban repeal when it does.
The bill would give DC a single vote in the House; to offset the expected gain for the Democrats, it would give Utah an extra vote, which is likely to be a lock for the Republicans.
JCPA, which organized faith groups in opposition to the gun law repeal amendment, was “pleased to note the vote of New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand who has made good on her pledge to reassess her position on guns and voted against the amendment,” said Hadar Susskind, the group’s Washington director.