In a rare move, GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz said he will hold a House vote to overturn an assisted suicide law passed by the local D.C. City Council.
“I didn’t ask for this bill, D.C. presented it to the Congress, so we have the option to deal with it, and in this particular case I am going to exercise that and put it up for a vote,” Chaffetz said, according to The Washington Post. “I think Congress should vote on it.”
Chaffetz, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and a Republican from Utah, said he opposes the law based on moral grounds.
“Assisted suicide is not something we take lightly,” Chaffetz said in January.
D.C. passed the legislation in November by a vote of 11-2. The law allows doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs to patients with six months left to live.
Council member Mary M. Cheh said in January Chaffetz has no business involving himself in a local matter.
“This is entirely a local matter and he may have philosophical or perhaps even religious objections, but we have made our own choice and it should be respected,” Cheh said. “Is he not aware there are a number of other states that have approved this? Why isn’t he using his federal powers to intervene with them? It’s only because under our degraded democracy there are some members of Congress who think they can use us a plaything.”
Mayor Muriel Bowser through a spokesman also urged Chaffetz to leave the city alone.
Not only does the House have to vote on the issue, but the Senate will be called in, as well, which means there is much less of a chance that the bill will be turned down. Senate Republicans have in the past been reticent to touch D.C.-related issues.
Assisted suicide measures have passed in states like California, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.
The District of Columbia is still not a state.
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