Bid to revise new House rules fails

Jan. 5, 2011 at 5:46 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- The first vote of the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday was a procedural vote on whether to table an effort to delay enacting a part of new House rules.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., objected to a portion of the House rules package that would remove the right of certain delegates -- herself included -- to vote on the floor when it meets as the Committee of the Whole to consider legislation.

During debate on the rules package, Norton and the other delegates all said they opposed the rules as presented.

The procedural vote was on a motion offered by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to table the Norton amendment. It was passed on a 225-188 vote.

Her amendment called for a select committee of five members to study the portion of the new rules that would end some of the delegates' ability to participate in the Committee of the Whole. Besides Norton, the affected members include delegates from American Samoa, the Northern Marianas Islands, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the resident commissioner of Puerto Rico.

"When residents learned that the proposed new House rules for the 112th Congress stripped D.C.'s Committee of the Whole vote, there was fresh outrage throughout the city, following years of work by residents that almost got the D.C. House Voting Rights Act enacted," Norton said on her Web site. "Not only must residents continue to pay full federal taxes to support the federal government, but now a vote on some important matters that has been tested and approved by the federal courts is set to be eliminated."

Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the minority whip, said he would introduce legislation "to return this symbol of respect, this symbol of inclusion, this symbol of colleague-ship" that would restore the delegates' ability to participate in Committee of the Whole proceedings.

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