Support of a Resolution to Permit Delegates and the Resident Commissioner to the Congress to Cast Votes in the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Unionby Representative Madeleine Z. Bordallo
Posted on 2013-01-03
in the house of representatives
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Ms. BORDALLO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the resolution
offered by my good friend and colleague, Minority 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 113th Congress once again remove 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.
These votes are wholly symbolic--they cannot change the outcome of legislation or amendments considered on the floor of this House. But these votes allow us to ensure that the needs of our constituents are addressed in legislation considered by this body.
Further, many men and women in uniform come from the territories and the District of Columbia. These dedicated servicemembers sacrifice much for our country, and many have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom. In fact, the per capita death rate for servicemembers from the territories is higher than most states. Unfortunately our majority has determined that despite their service, and the many contributions of the territories and District of Columbia, our constituents will be less represented in the House.
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.