Thursday, January 25, 2007

Five Non-Congressmen Given Votes in Congress

The Washington Times reports:

House lawmakers yesterday passed a resolution allowing D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and territorial delegates to vote on legislative amendments, despite opposition from Republicans who called the rule change an unconstitutional power grab by the Democratic majority.

"Who's next? Howard Dean?" Rep. Tom Price, Georgia Republican, asked on the House floor yesterday, referring to the chairman of the Democratic National Committee and former governor of Vermont. "He has a significant constituency. Why not let Howard Dean have a seat in the House of Representatives and a vote in the Committee of the Whole?"

The mostly symbolic resolution, which passed 226-191, will allow Mrs. Norton and other Democratic delegates from American Samoa, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands -- as well as the Republican resident commissioner of Puerto Rico -- to vote on amendments to legislation in the House Committee of the Whole, but not on a bill's final passage.

However, lawmakers would take a new vote without the delegates' ballots if they cast the deciding votes.


House Republicans also have accused Democrats of simply wanting to pad their vote totals with the resolution.

During the debate yesterday, they called the measure "a remarkable abuse of power" and "representation without taxation"...

Citizens in the territories, excluding the District, do not pay federal income taxes.

Republicans rightly abolished the rule in 1995 after a federal judge ruled that the voting procedure rendered the votes of non-Congressmen "meaningless".

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