Norton’s Motion to Keep Committee of the Whole Vote Became First Recorded Vote of New Congress
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January 5, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, DC -- Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s (D-DC) motion to overturn the House rule that eliminated delegate voting became the first recorded vote of the 112th Congress. The Democratic minority could not prevail in this effort to refer the new House rules to a special committee, but the motion served the important purpose of permitting Democrats to openly protest for the record the elimination of voting rights for the American citizens who reside in the District of Columbia and the territories. The 225 to 188 vote occurred, as predicted, along party lines, but it put Democrats on record, unanimously, supporting voting rights, while Republicans, unanimously, opposed a vote that was declared constitutional in 1993 by a federal district court and in 1994 on appeal.
“When Mayor Vince Gray was here at the Capitol yesterday for the rally sponsored by DC Vote, I said that the test would be whether residents would go quietly into the night now that attacks on the rights of District residents had already started,” said Norton. “Yesterday was day one, showing that residents have no intention of slipping away without protest. Today, I continued on the House floor what our residents, our Mayor, and DC Vote began."
This is the first time there has been a recorded House vote relating to voting rights for District residents since April 2007, when Democrats vote almost unanimously for a full House vote for the District.
Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), a longtime advocate for the rights of District citizens, spoke passionately on the House floor about the elimination of delegate voting. He said that the new House rules are fatally flawed in two ways -- they dramatically increase the national deficit and deprive American citizens the right to vote in the Committee of the Whole. He also said that he would introduce a resolution to amend the rules in order to return the delegate vote.
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