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D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton is calling her Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill “bullies” after she was denied the opportunity to speak at a hearing about an abortion bill that affects D.C. residents.
The bill before congress would, among other things, permanently ban DC from spending its local funds on abortion services for low-income women and it would also define the D.C. government as the federal government when it comes to abortion. And, in a new move by House Republicans, it would also define the D.C. government as the federal government when it comes to abortion.
According to several members of Congress, it is a long-standing bipartisan tradition to let a lawmaker testify about a bill when it affects his or her constituents — but Norton was denied that courtesy.
Norton’s colleague Democrat congressman Jerry Nadler called the move “contemptible,” and Norton blasted the House Republican leadership during a press conference ahead of the hearing.
"It's bad enough to have a bill affecting the District of Columbia that you cannot vote on, its a drill down on that insult when you are not even allowed to testify on that provision that would takeaway the rights of your own residents," she said.
Other members of Congress, including Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), also voiced their support for Holmes Norton.
Reps in Congress elected 2 speak on behalf of people, your rep should not b sidelined! Let DC Rep @EleanorNorton speak on DC women’s health!— Barbara Mikulski (@SenatorBarb) January 9, 2014
Norton ended up sitting in the audience for the congressional hearing. If the measure passes the House, its unlikely to go far in the Senate, which is controlled by the Democrats.