Norton fails in effort to prevent loss of Committee of the Whole vote
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) failed Wednesday in an effort to forestall the new Republican majority's plan to strip her and her fellow delegates of the right to vote on the floor in certain circumstances.
Under Democratic control, Norton has been permitted to vote when the House is in the Committee of the Whole -- a parliamentary term that describes when the chamber becomes a committee for the purpose of considering certain legislation. That right has allowed her to vote on amendments to tax and spending legislation, but her vote has only counted when it is not the deciding one on any given issue.
The House GOP's opening-day rules package strips delegates of that right, and Norton attempted to block that move by offering a motion that would have sent the package to a five-member select committee that would study whether it is constitutional for delegates to have the vote. Republicans have contended that allowing delegates to vote, even in the Committee of the Whole, is unconstitutional, while Norton and other Democrats point out that a federal appeals court has previously ruled that it is constitutional.
But Republicans successfully tabled Norton's resolution on a party-line vote, 225-188, with 20 members not present. The House is considering the full rules package, and when it passes, Norton's committee of the whole vote will officially be gone.
"With this motion, we formally begin the protest that will be necessary to salvage what D.C. has won in the past," Norton said in a news release. "We will need the help of the top elected District officials and District residents, because we are sure this is only the first attack on our rights."
| January 5, 2011; 3:53 PM ET
Categories: Ben Pershing, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Voting Rights
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