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Hoyer Asks for Amendments Vote for Resident Commissioner

U.S. House of Representatives Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) has written a letter to Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) asking that Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner and the representatives of the other U.S. territories and the District of Columbia be given the right to vote on amendments to bills in the full House during the upcoming 114th Congress.

The representatives of the non-State areas of the country have had the privilege when Democrats have had majorities in the House after 1992 but have not had it under Republican control.

Under the Constitution of the United States, only representatives of States can vote on bills in the full House of Representatives. But non-State representatives have been authorized to vote on bills in committees.

Amendments to bills in the full House are actually considered in the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union instead of the House itself. So, Democrats in December 1992 decided non-State representatives should be able to vote in the Committee of the Whole — with the major caveat that there would be a second vote on amendments if the amendments passed or failed by a margin equal to or lesser than the number of votes cast by non-State representatives. In other words, the representatives of the non-State areas could vote except when it really counted.

Republicans objected to the Democratic move anyway, contending that the Committee of the Whole House was more the whole House than a committee and the vote was unconstitutional. A Republican minority leadership suit against the Democratic change to the Rules of the House in January 1993 failed because of the revote provision.

Republicans then reversed the Rules change when they took the majority of seats in the House in January 1995.

Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner is the only representative of the 3.5 million people of the territory in the Congress. If Puerto Rico were a State of the Union, it would have five representatives in the House with full votes and two senators.


2 thoughts on “Hoyer Asks for Amendments Vote for Resident Commissioner”

  1. Typical democrat ethnic race baiting scumb@g.
    All the years Dems had the senate, democrats never cared about giving commissioners a vote.

    This is nothing more than the following scheme….
    1. Propose illegal unconstitutional vote for Res Commisioners.
    2. GOP will uphold territory limitations and deny vote.
    3. Dems cry racist and pave way for anti GOP smear campaign for 2016.

    1. Delegates could vote during the whole of the House Democratic majority from 2007 to 2011 and Republicans again reversed it when they became the majority. And so the Senate (which Mr Hoyer is not a part of) has nothing to do with anything given that, yes, the six dependencies are unrepresented there. So… what are you saying?

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