Eleanor Holmes Norton Criticizes GOP for Excluding DC Voting Rights from Platform Despite Local Repulican Efforts
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August 27, 2004
Washington, DC - Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said today that she was saddened to learn that despite the efforts of the D.C. Republican Committee, the GOP once again has denied D.C. citizens their recognition as U.S. citizens by refusing D.C. platform committee language endorsing minimum voting representation - in the House only. Norton said that she appreciated the efforts of D.C. Republican Committee Chairman Betsy Werronen and the District's delegates to the Republican National Committee Convention in New York, who submitted language calling for "voting representation in Congress, starting with the House of Representatives." Norton has encouraged three bills recently submitted by Republicans, regardless of whether they have significant support here, and despite having her own voting rights bill, as an important bipartisan step that can lead to a bill all can agree upon. She said that the denial of platform language, first in 2000, and again this year, was particularly regrettable after Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), Chair of the Government Reform Committee, has submitted his House-only bill and the D.C. Republican Committee has endorsed it.
Norton said, "The national Republican Party has gone backwards on voting rights, from the congressional vote supporting a constitutional amendment for full voting rights in the House and Senate in 1978, until today, when local Republicans have been unable to get an endorsement even of a House-only vote sponsored by an influential Republican. I congratulate our local Republicans for their effort to get some mention of D.C. voting rights in the Republican platform and I know they will not give up." Norton also applauded the effort by the D.C. Republicans to get platform support for several other issues for full democracy here, including budget and legislative autonomy, which also have had only Democratic support in Congress, and for other issues important to D.C. She said she looked forward to working with them on all the issues local Republicans sought to include in the platform in New York.
Norton said that aside from the harm to local Republicans and D.C. residents, national Republicans had "missed an opportunity to re-enforce their claim that their foreign policy, particularly the invasion of Iraq, is motivated by concern for democracy. The claim to promote democracy worldwide loses its credibility when taxpaying residents, men and women who have served in all the nation's wars and other D.C. citizens are denied democratic rights at home." A D.C. democratic plank in the Republican platform, she said, might have been the beginning point of reversing the embarrassing Organization of American States finding by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that the denial of congressional voting rights for D.C. residents is a violation of international law.
The OAS ruling combined with a recent series of Republican-sponsored voting rights bills signal "a spreading understanding that the present undemocratic treatment of D.C. residents is untenable at home and abroad," Norton said. "This understanding cannot help but reach national Republicans as our efforts continue."
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