Thursday, December 23, 2010

The new GOP House understands that DC residents have no right to any voice in government


Would you believe that Speaker-apparent Boehner is in no
rush to return DC House Delegate Norton's phone calls?

by Ken

I don't know, maybe it's not such a big deal, especially since it's hardly unexpected. Such voting rights as the District of Columbia's congressional "representative" (officially a mere "delegate") have have been granted at the pleasure of the speaker of the House, and that has happened only when the speaker is a Democrat. As Ben Pershing reports in today's Washington Post,
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 purpose of considering legislation. That has allowed Norton to cast votes on amendments to tax and spending bills, although technically her vote could be considered symbolic because it does not count if it is the deciding one on an issue.

Naturally, during the 1995-2007 period of Republican House control, even this pathetically limited voting right was quashed. The Republicans hate DC residents, whom they consider socialists and perverts and, worst of all, Democrats. The District's powerlessness in Congress is all the more vexing in that Congress is the District's effective legislative body. You might think that if anybody would be responsive to the "no taxation without representation," it would be the Teabaggers -- what with their spiritual heritage from the Boston Tea Party and all. Of course you would be wrong. The current DC delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, wrote to Speaker-apparent "Sunny John" Boehner last month,
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."

Delegate Norton has tried without success to speak to Sunny John on the phone. Apparently he doesn't feel obliged to return her calls. Now she's seeking a meeting. (Good luck with that!)
She also noted that a federal court has 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.

Unfortunately, the people she's dealing with have a markedly different idea of what's "to the greater benefit of the American people."

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At 2:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Republicans hate DC residents, whom they consider socialists and perverts and, worst of all, Democrats."

And too many of them have the wrong skin color for the current Dixiefied GOP.

At 4:28 PM, Blogger KenInNY said...

Oh, no question about that, Anon. Thanks for that helpful pieces of elucidation!



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