In Support of H. Res. 44, to Restore Voting Rights to the Delegates and Resident Commissioner During Committee of the Whole Proceedingsby Representative Madeleine Z. Bordallo
Posted on 2015-01-22
in the house of representatives
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Ms. BORDALLO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of House
Resolution 44, offered by my good friend and colleague, Democratic Whip
Steny Hoyer of Maryland, to restore the voting rights for the Delegates
and Resident Commissioner during Committee of the Whole proceedings.
The ability to cast a vote is the most basic of rights in our representative democracy. In the people's House, votes cast by members of Congress make us accountable to our constituents and allow them to understand where we stand on important issues. The rules that have been adopted by the 114th Congress [[Page E101]] once again deny voting rights for members from the territories and the District of Columbia, and continue to make this body less transparent and less responsive to the more than four million Americans who live in our districts.
Under the resolution, extending voting rights to the Delegates and the Resident Commissioner during Committee of the Whole proceedings would be wholly symbolic--our votes cannot change the outcome of legislation or amendments considered on the floor of this House. However these votes allow us to ensure that the needs of our constituents are addressed in legislation considered by this body.
Further, many of our nation's men and women in uniform are residents of the territories and the District of Columbia. These dedicated servicemembers sacrifice much for our country, and many have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. In fact, the per capita death rate for servicemembers from the territories is higher than most states. Unfortunately the majority has decided that our constituents will be less represented in this House despite the sacrifices that servicemembers from our districts make to defend the basic rights and freedoms enjoyed by all Americans. Additionally beyond high levels of military service, residents from the territories and the District of Columbia contribute to and serve our nation in a wide range of areas. The inability to vote in the Committee of the Whole is unfortunate, but I appreciate that this resolution seeks to remedy this matter.
Mr. Speaker, giving the Delegates and Resident Commissioner the ability to vote during Committee of the Whole proceedings will allow our voices to be heard during legislation considered by the full House. It will give us parity with other members and strengthen the long- cherished values of this body. I urge my colleagues to adopt this resolution.