|Before the 112th Congress Ends, Norton Begins First D.C. Democracy Struggle of the 113th Congress at Press Conference Thursday|
WASHINGTON, DC – As the 112th Congress winds down, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) has begun the fight to restore an equal citizenship right District of Columbia residents once had, but was taken away by House Republicans on the first day of the 112th Congress. Norton will be joined by D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, a D.C. veteran and DC Vote at a press conference on Thursday, December 27, 2012, at 11:30 a.m., in 2253 Rayburn House Office Building, to call on House Republicans restore the District’s vote on the House floor in the Committee of the Whole in the rules of the 113th Congress.
On the first day as the new majority, House Republicans adopted rules for the 112th Congress that stripped D.C. residents of their vote on the House floor in the Committee of the Whole. The Congresswoman had first secured D.C. a vote in the Committee of the Whole during the 103rd Congress, when Democrats were in the majority. Norton, shortly after becoming a Member of the House, proposed the Committee of the Whole vote in a legal memorandum to House Democratic leaders, who, after vetting it with outside counsel, agreed that the vote was constitutional. A federal district court and a federal appeals court upheld its constitutionality after Republicans challenged it in court. When House Republicans regained the majority in the 104th Congress, however, they eliminated D.C.’s vote in the Committee of the Whole. In the 110th Congress, Democrats regained control of the House and restored the vote. The Committee of the Whole vote allows the Delegate representing the District to vote on amendments on the House floor. Although a revote would occur if such a vote were decisive, that almost never occurs.
“The voting rights of our residents, who pay taxes and have served in every American war, surely should not depend on which party is in power,” Norton said. “It is difficult to frame a legitimate reason for denying District residents a vote in the Committee of the Whole, which the federal courts have upheld as constitutional. Our single vote in the Committee of the Whole takes nothing away from the majority. There could be no better start to the 113th Congress than affirming its adherence to democracy by restoring the vote in the Committee of the Whole to the more than 600,000 Americans who live in the District of Columbia.”
Published: December 26, 2012