Del. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) comments on the House's congressional redistricting bill. (Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post)

The House of Delegates tentatively passed a plan Thursday that largely protects the 11 sitting congressmen, despite pleas by Democrats that it be postponed. A final vote is expected Friday.

“Some of us are concerned why this is being rushed through on the second day of the session,’’ said Del. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond).

 The Senate will take up the bill early next week. The bill had passed the same map last year, drawn in consultation with Virginia’s incumbent congressmen, to reflect population shifts revealed by the 2010 Census. The House plan, like Virginia’s current map, includes one minority-minority district.

In the Virginia House chambers Thursday, Del. Robert Bell (R-Charlottesville), left, and Del. Scott Surovell (D-Mount Vernon) talk after they sparred on the House's congressional redistricting. (Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post)

States must redraw their legislative and congressional maps every 10 years in response to population shifts to ensure that each district contains about the same number of people and all state residents have equal representation in Congress.

Legislators have been struggling with redistricting since last year. Many say they believe the state Constitution mandates that redistricting occur in 2011, the same year as the census numbers are released, but the General Assembly postponed the vote until this year.