Wednesday, January 31, 2007

House Democrats Allow Non Citizens The Right To Vote in The House of Representatives

What you say?!? Per none other than George Will:
They again voted to give the delegates to the House from Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia, and the resident commissioner from Puerto Rico, the right to vote in the House when it is sitting as the "Committee of the Whole," which is how it sits almost all the time. It is in that status that almost all debate about and amending of legislation occur.

If these five votes decide the outcome of a vote in the Committee of the Whole, the matter at issue will be automatically revoted by the full House without those five participating. Still, these five faux members will have powers equal to those of real members on everything but final passage of bills, which often is more perfunctory than the process that leads to that.
Now why would they do such a thing? Wait for it...

Almost always, all five delegates are Democrats. (Puerto Rico's current resident commissioner is the first Republican in 100 years.)

As he also points out, the Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 2.
"The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states ..."
STATES, it says that, STATES.

There is plenty more to be outraged by so read the whole thing but specifically in the NW, you should be outraged by the following:
In 1970, Democrats were contemplating allowing Puerto Rico's resident commissioner to serve with powers equal to those of real members, but only on standing committees. Rep. Tom Foley, a Washington Democrat then in his third term, told his colleagues that would be fine because those committees are created by the House, not the Constitution, and "can be extinguished at will and created at will." Furthermore, service on committees involves only "preliminary advisory votes." But, he added, "it is very clear" that "a constitutional amendment would be required" to give a resident commissioner" a vote in the Committee of the Whole of the full House." By 1992, when Foley, then in his 14th term, was speaker, and full of the sense of entitlement that deranged Democrats in the last years of their 40-year hold on the House, he supported what the next Democratic speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has now done.
Whatever we do, let's not let something trivial like the Constitution get in the way of politics.

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