WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee voted narrowly Tuesday to send a constitutional amendment protecting the flag to the House floor for a vote.
The 19-17 committee vote set the stage for a showdown in the House, possibly as early as this week.
"The close vote . . . indicates that it's going to be a fairly close vote on the floor," Rep. Jack Brooks (D-Tex.), the committee chairman, said.
The top Democratic leadership in the House and Senate are opposed to the amendment because it is seen as weakening the First Amendment, but a vote against it is viewed by Democrats and Republicans alike as risky business in an election year.
Last week, a Judiciary subcommittee cleared the amendment, but only by a 5-3 vote that carried a recommendation against floor passage. The full Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to move the amendment to the House floor but took no stand for or against passage.
Earlier Tuesday, Democratic opponents failed to get an adverse recommendation and supporters failed to get a favorable one.