Norton and New Mayor to Join Supporters to Protest Stripping D.C. of Only House Floor Vote
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January 3, 2011
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WASHINGTON, DC -- Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) will join Mayor Vincent Gray in delivering remarks at the Demand Democracy Protest on Capitol Hill, sponsored by DC Vote, on Tuesday, January 4, at 9:30 a.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building Foyer on the first floor. The protest will urge Republican leaders to retain the District's only vote on the House floor by preserving Norton's vote in the Committee of the Whole.
"When residents learned that the proposed new House rules for the 112th Congress stripped D.C.'s Committee of the Whole vote, there was fresh outrage throughout the city, following years of work by residents that almost got the D.C. House Voting Rights Act enacted," said Norton. "Not only must residents continue to pay full federal taxes to support the federal government, but now a vote on some important matters that has been tested and approved by the federal courts is set to be eliminated."
The Congresswoman will be speaking on the House floor to return D.C.'s vote when the rules package is considered on Wednesday.
Norton wrote Speaker-elect John Boehner before the rules were published requesting that D.C.'s vote be maintained. After the draft of the new House rules was made public, she called Boehner's office to schedule a meeting with him, but without success.
The Congresswoman first secured a vote in the Committee of the Whole during the 103rd Congress, when Democrats were in the majority. Norton submitted a legal memorandum and obtained the right to vote in the Committee of the Whole for D.C residents who pay federal taxes without a vote in either congressional body. Because D.C. had never voted on the House floor, Democrats vetted the issue with outside attorneys, and Republicans later lost a challenge to delegate voting in the federal courts. Delegate voting in committees has long been permitted by House Rules, and the Committee of the Whole is also a committee created by House rules. When Republicans took control of Congress in 1995, however, they eliminated the delegate vote in the Committee of the Whole. In 2007, Democrats regained control of the House again and instituted the delegate vote again. Because it had worked so well without controversy, Norton had hoped to retain the vote this time.