Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today said she was neither surprised nor daunted by the House Republican majority's vote to deny her motion to restore the District of Columbia's first and only vote on the House floor in the Committee of the Whole. Norton first won this vote for D.C. in the 103rd Congress, after submitting a legal memorandum arguing that the District had a vote in committees by rule of the House, and therefore, should have the same vote on the House floor in the Committee of the Whole, which is also established by House rules. The vote was ruled constitutional by a federal district court and a federal appeals court. Since then, she has been permitted to vote in the Committee of the Whole when Democrats control the House, but has had that vote taken away when Republicans are in power.
"I submitted the motion to return my vote today because I refuse to believe that any vote in this country should be dependent on which party controls the majority," Norton said. "Denying our more than 600,000 taxpaying D.C. residents the vote they won fair and square both disrespects our nation's democracy and the American citizens who live in the nation's capital. I am grateful to my good friend, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), for today proposing a resolution to restore our vote. This strong support at the highest level encourages our determination to persevere until we get not only this vote on the House floor, in the Committee of the Whole, which we have exercised in the past, but also the final vote we deserve in the future."
Even though Norton was not be able to vote in the Committee of the Whole in the last Congress either, she won several important home-rule victories for the District, including Hatch Act equality after a 21-year fight, a special election law that gives the city more flexibility and saves taxpayer funds when holding special elections, a provision requiring the armed forces to display the D.C. flag whenever the flags of the 50 states are displayed at military ceremonies, preservation of the D.C. War Memorial for D.C. residents only, and a statue representing the District in the U.S. Capitol beginning this year, like the 50 states