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Posted at 12:25 PM ET, 12/22/2010

Norton will lose ability to vote on floor amendments

By Ben Pershing

Updated 3:30 p.m.
What little right to vote Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) has on the House floor will be gone come January, as Republicans have decided to take away the right of delegates and resident commissioners to vote on some amendments.

When Democrats have controlled the House, they have allowed Norton and her fellow delegates to vote in the Committee of the Whole -- a parliamentary term that describes when the full House becomes a committee for the purposes of considering legislation. That has allowed Norton to cast votes on amendments to tax and spending bills, though technically her vote could be considered symbolic since it does not count if it is the deciding one on an issue.

Republicans took away that right when they controlled the House from 1995-2007, and Norton had hoped they would not do so again. She wrote a letter to presumptive Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in November pleading to keep a privilege that "is significant to the American citizens who live in the nation's capital and pay full federal taxes annually to support our federal government."

But her plea appears to have fallen on deaf ears. House Republicans released a summary Wednesday of their proposed changes to House rules, and the summary includes the line, "Delegates and resident commissioners (those not representing states) will not be able to vote in the committee of the whole."

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Norton said that upon learning of the planned rules change, she had tried unsuccessfully to reach Boehner by phone and would also seek a meeting with him to discuss the issue. She also noted that a federal court has previously upheld the constitutionality of delegates' voting in the Committee of the Whole in the face of Republican-led legal challenges.

"We will be making every effort to retain our vote in the Committee of the Whole, and to convince our Republican colleagues that this vote benefits the reputation of the 'people's House' by maximizing the participation of members to the greater benefit of the American people," Norton said.

By Ben Pershing  | December 22, 2010; 12:25 PM ET
Categories:  Ben Pershing, Congressional Oversight, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Voting Rights  
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Interesting move from the GOP, with all of their Tea Party (we love the constitution) support. You would think that they, of all people, would be up in arms about this taxation without representation.

Posted by: koygdb | December 22, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

The GOP continues to treat the District like their personal plantation. No D.C. folks in the big house.

Posted by: jckdoors | December 22, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Just think, if the District voted repuggie, they'd be a State. That's the way the world works. Naked politics.

Posted by: WmLaney | December 22, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

D.C. Residents should really be excluded from paying ANY Federal Taxes until they get equal representation - or the City becomes part of the State of Maryland.
The Federal Government has not provided the resources to make D.C. our National showcase.
If Congress cannot manage one city, how do we expect them to run a country?

Posted by: Im4DC | December 22, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

May be DC can tell the Republicans to move their House from the DC premises!

Posted by: kishorgala | December 22, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Where are you now, you tea party maryland farmers? You all love the Constitution so much,prove it!!!

Posted by: merrimac238 | December 22, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that the Republicans are about small government, local control and the "people's" voice being heard, except when it comes to DC where they are again impart on a journey of meddling in Home Rule affairs, over turning locally passed laws and removing the District's only voice on the House Floor. Again, nice hypocrisy.

Posted by: ehpercy | December 22, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

this remains one of the biggest reasons i live in arlington and not in the district, despite the fact that i work in dc. why should i pay taxes and spend money to be disrespected ilke that? i just purchased my first home this year, and i'm proud that it was in arlington county. i may not agree with a lot of what comes out of richmond, but at least if i disagree, i have the ability to make my voice heard on election day.

Posted by: rubyx4soho | December 22, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Dont expect any help from Boehner, That guy dont care bout nottin big business big tobacco, and fake tanning products from big chemical corps.

Posted by: rubberhead | December 22, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

To the ridiculous "person" who actually thinks this has anything to do with the small government/pseudo-libertarian tea party aspect of the GOP, Boehner is one of the biggest opponents of that aspect of the party. Those folks, like Ron and Rand Paul, are still the vast minority within the GOP.

Posted by: TheJoeGreene | December 22, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

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