The decades-long quest for full voting representation in the U.S. Congress fell short by three votes on a motion to open debate on Tuesday, with just 57 senators voting in favor, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
The Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., issued a statement detailing why he and the White House opposed the move.
"I opposed this bill because it is clearly and unambiguously unconstitutional," McConnell wrote. "If the residents of the District are to get a member for themselves, they have a remedy: amend the Constitution."
The district has historically been a Democrat-leaning region, and has one congressional delegate who has no voting rights.
Proponents such as Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., have said it is hypocritical for the United States to fight for voting rights in Iraq while denying them in its own capital.
"It's time to end the injustice, the national embarrassment that citizens of this great capital city don't have voting representation in Congress," Lieberman said before the vote.