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Senate Ties D.C.’s Voting Rights To Easing Its Gun Law

The Senate approved a bill Thursday to provide the nation’s capital with a voting representative in the House, but it came with a hitch. A controversial amendment was added that would repeal most of the city’s gun-control regulations.

Approved by a 61-37 vote, the D.C. Voting Rights bill would expand the House for the first time since 1913, providing a vote for Washington and an additional seat for Utah, which narrowly missed getting one after the last census.

The measure is likely to end up in the courts, however, even if a similar bill passes the House, as is expected next week. President Barack Obama has said he will sign the legislation.

The gun amendment makes the Senate measure significantly different from the bill in the House, which could slow passage. However, some members of Congress said the amendment was unlikely to survive negotiations between the House and Senate over a final version of the bill.

The amendment was a major victory for the pro-gun lobby, which has battled against the city’s tough gun laws.

“I believe it will lead to more weapons and more violence on the streets of the nation’s capital,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who called the amendment reckless and irresponsible.

But in the end, the amendment passed 62-36, drawing bipartisan support. Among the Democrats supporting the amendment were Virginia’s two senators, Mark Warner and Jim Webb.

After Record Loss, Royal Bank Of Scotland Seeks Protection

After reporting the biggest annual loss in British corporate history on Thursday, the Royal Bank of Scotland became the first bank to sign up for Britain’s asset protection plan.

The bank, which is already 70 percent owned by the government, said it would dump 325 billion pounds ($466 billion) of mainly toxic assets into the program, a step that could raise the state’s stake to 95 percent.

RBS posted a net loss of 24.1 billion pounds for the year, attributable mainly to its purchase of the Dutch bank ABN Amro. The bank had a profit of 7.3 billion pounds a year earlier. The loss was smaller than analysts had expected, but it stunned many Britons as a record-setting benchmark of corporate disaster.

Alistair Darling, the chancellor of the Exchequer, reaffirmed the government’s goal of keeping RBS publicly listed on Thursday because it would be easier to repay taxpayers once the market recovered.