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Senate Approves D.C. School Takeover Plan

City officials said Levin indicated he wanted to resume negotiations over his long-standing push to have meters installed in District taxicabs, which operate under a controversial zone system.

After speaking with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Levin removed the hold. Sources with knowledge of the discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Levin was concerned that Fenty had not responded adequately to a letter from the senator in January asking the city to make a decision on taxi meters.

A spokeswoman for Levin declined to say why he had temporarily held up the bill.

Two weeks ago, Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) put the first hold on the bill over concerns about the city's plan to rebuild a youth detention center in Anne Arundel County. He withdrew the hold a few days later.

The troubles Fenty's plan faced in the Senate led some city officials to question privately whether the mayor had done enough to secure political support for the bill. The mayor has been in Las Vegas for a convention of shopping center developers this week.

Bobb's role in Landrieu's actions also has raised questions at the District building. Landrieu's spokesman said Monday that the senator had blocked a vote on Fenty's bill at Bobb's request, an allegation Bobb vehemently denied in an interview yesterday.

"We never asked her do to that. Absolutely not," Bobb said, adding that his staff requested that Landrieu remove the hold after learning of her actions this week.

Both houses had to vote on the school takeover because the plan required an amendment to the city's Home Rule Charter, established by Congress in 1973.

Some city officials said that the entire episode in the Senate highlights the need for the District to receive full congressional voting rights.

"This just makes it clear how much D.C. needs its own representation on Capitol Hill," said D.C. Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6). "This would never have happened if we had a senator who could put a hold on legislation for Louisiana."

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