'Non-Voting' Delegates Lose 'Symbolic' Vote | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

'Non-Voting' Delegates Lose 'Symbolic' Vote

Play associated audio

By Manuel Quinones, Capitol News Connection

Although D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton is known as a "non-voting delegate," there were times she was allowed to cast a vote. In one of their first acts as House leaders, Republicans put an end to that Wednesday.

In parliamentary language, non-voting delegates like Norton and the representatives of U.S. territories were permitted to cast votes when the House operated as a Committee of the Whole, or like a committee instead of a chamber. That allowed the delegates to vote on certain amendments, but not final passage of a bill. But Republicans put an end to those votes Wednesday calling them unconstitutional.

"The effect is chiefly: residents of the District of Columbia will no longer know how I would have voted on very important matters," Norton says.

In recent decades, delegates have gained and lost these "symbolic" voting rights in a tug of war between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats granted the privilege in 1993, Republicans rescinded it a few years later, Speaker Nancy Pelosi restored the practice after Democrats took control in 2007.

"There's no conclusion that one can draw except that it is partisanship," Norton says.

Five of the House delegates, including Norton, are Democrats, the other is an independent.

NPR

As Publishing Industry Courts China, Authors Speak Out Against Censorship

Chinese writers and publishers are being celebrated this week at BookExpo America — the industry's largest trade event in North America. Free speech advocates are supporting silenced Chinese writers.
NPR

Cod Comeback: How The North Sea Fishery Bounced Back From The Brink

A decade ago, fishermen trying to catch North Sea cod were coming up empty. Now, thanks to strict fishing rules put in place to halt the decline, this fish tale looks headed for a happy ending.
NPR

Former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert Indicted By Federal Grand Jury

The longest-serving Republican speaker was indicted Thursday for illegally structuring cash withdrawals from bank accounts to conceal payments to someone he committed "prior misconduct" against.
NPR

FCC Chairman Wants To Help Low Income Americans Afford Broadband

Tom Wheeler proposes to reboot the Lifeline phone-access program. The plan recognizes that everyone needs to study, apply for jobs and make social connections online.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.