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)/Question of consideration
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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)/Question of consideration
house Roll Call 56     Jan 24, 2007
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

This vote was on a procedural motion as to whether the House should consider a measure to provide limited voting privileges on the House floor to delegates from the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories. By bringing up this procedural hurdle, the Republican minority aimed to slow down the House's business and the majority Democrats' ability to accomplish the party's agenda items. Republicans were protesting what they believed to be unfair treatment of the minority in the legislative process.

Republicans believed the Democrats were running the House in a way that was unfair to the Republican minority. To protest, the Republicans offered a series of procedural motions designed to take up the House's time and thus prevent the Democrats from carrying forward their agenda. (See also Roll Calls 52, 54 and 55.)

Republicans were protesting the way Democrats had fast-tracked the six pieces of legislation the House passed as part of the Democrats' "first 100 hours" agenda, all of which were approved with limited committee involvement and what are known as closed rules, meaning the Republicans couldn't offer amendments. In previous debate, Republicans charged that they had been effectively prevented from participating in the legislative process.

A question of consideration is a vote on whether the House will take up a particular piece of legislation. Often, as was the case in this instance, they reflect the minority's dissatisfaction with the way the majority is conducting business and allow the former to register its protest. Every time the House has a recorded vote, committee meetings have to be interrupted and lawmakers have to be called from their offices to come to the floor and vote. Demanding votes on repeated procedural motions is a way for the minority to slow down business in the House.

There was no debate on the motion. All Democrats present but one voted for it, and all Republicans present voted against the question of consideration. By a vote of 224 to 186, the House moved to consider a resolution to give limited voting rights on the House floor to delegates from the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories, but Republicans accomplished their goal of tying up the chamber in repeated procedural motions.

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