Congress Adds Insult to Injury, Revoking DC's Vote in Committee of the Whole, Says DC Vote
||US Politics Today
||Wednesday, January 5, 2011
DC Delegate's Resolution to Reconsider Is the First Vote of 112th Congress
WASHINGTON, Jan. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The House of Representatives today adopted rules that revoked the privilege of the DC Delegate to vote in the Committee of the Whole House. Despite letters, formal requests from Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and a lobby day yesterday by DC Vote activists, residents of the District of Columbia have lost what little voting representation they had in the "People's House." While lobbying Tuesday, DC Vote activists asked that the DC Delegate be considered separately, as she is the only non-voting delegate that represents citizens who pay full federal taxes.
Representative John Boehner (R-OH) argued in a statement yesterday that the delegate vote is unconstitutional. To the contrary, in 1994 a federal appeals court upheld the decision in Michel v. Anderson that Congress has the Constitutional authority to allow delegate voting in the Committee of the Whole. (14 F.3d 623, D.C. Cir. 1994).
"It is contradictory that Speaker Boehner would pledge fidelity to the Constitution yet reject the Constitutional separation of powers," said DC Vote Executive Director Ilir Zherka. "Rather than putting partisan politics aside and letting this established practice stand, Rep. Boehner has denied 600,000 Americans living in Washington, DC the only vote they have in their own governance. Democracy took a step backward today."
Zherka agrees with Delegate Norton's warning that this insult is only the opening salvo from Republican leaders. "Given the rhetoric among members in the new majority, DC residents can expect more congressional efforts to undermine DC's local democracy," Zherka said. "Washingtonians must prepare for that fight. We are buoyed by our new Mayor, Vincent Gray, whose is passionately committed to this cause. We are also heartened by our warrior on the Hill, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who today demonstrated her willingness to fight by offering a resolution to refer the delegate vote issue to a special committee." Unfortunately, that resolution was tabled in the first vote of the 112th Congress by a motion from Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).
DC Vote and the DC Voting Rights Coalition will continue to defend the rights of District residents, while promoting full democracy and equality.
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