What: All Issues : Human Rights & Civil Liberties : Enfranchising the Disenfranchised/Voting Rights : House rules change to allow limited voting rights for the delegates from the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories (H. Res. 93)/Motion to table a resolution to disapprove the actions of the Rules Committee
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House rules change to allow limited voting rights for the delegates from the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories (H. Res. 93)/Motion to table a resolution to disapprove the actions of the Rules Committee
house Roll Call 54     Jan 24, 2007
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

This vote represented a Republican protest to the way in which the Democrat-dominated Rules Committee conducted its consideration of an amendment offered by Republicans to a measure to change the House rules to allow delegates from the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories to have limited voting privileges on the House floor.

Republicans submitted what's known as a privileged resolution, which takes precedence over other business. The resolution sought to state the House's disapproval of the actions of the Democrat-run Rules Committee and direct the committee's chairwoman to prevent future occurrences.

At issue was an amendment offered by Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) that Kirk offered and later withdrew. He submitted his amendment to the Rules Committee for consideration to have it allowed an up-or-down vote on the House floor. Kirk's amendment would have negated much of the rules change allowing delegates to the House limited voting privileges, but the substance of the amendment wasn't really the issue.

According to the Republican-drafted privileged resolution, after Kirk withdrew his amendment, Democrats on the Rules Committee made a special order of business to consider the amendment, even though it is standard committee practice not to further consider amendments that have been withdrawn. At this point, according to the Republican resolution, the Democrats denied repeated Republican requests to get a copy of Kirk's withdrawal notice, which they say had been stamped and acknowledged by the committee.

The Republican resolution stated that the "wrongful refusal of the Majority to produce a copy of the letter under debate constituted a breach of the dignity and integrity of the Committee's proceedings," and concluded that "the House of Representatives disapproves of the actions taken by the Committee's Majority and directs the Chairwoman of the Committee to undertake practices to prevent future occurrences."

There was no debate on the House floor regarding this resolution, but during previous debate Democrats had insinuated that Republicans withdrew Kirk's amendment because they wanted to pretend they had been completely shut out of the legislative process and having this amendment considered in order "messed up their talking points," in the words of Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.)

The unrest that fueled this controversy predated this particular event, however, as Republicans were still miffed that they had not been allowed to offer any amendments to the first six bills passed under the new Democratic majority.

This vote thus represented a protest among Republican ranks. As such, it commanded almost complete party unity on both sides. All Democrats present but one voted to table the resolution, and all Republicans presented voted against it. By a vote of 223 to 189, the House rejected a Republican attempt to disapprove of the actions of the Democrat-dominated Rules Committee with regard to handling a Republican amendment to a measure that would give limited voting rights on the House floor to the delegates from the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories.

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