Guam Del. Madeleine Bordallo and other U.S. territory representatives need to push Congress to give them — and all those Americans they represent — a real voice in our nation, not some meaningless, token measure. Bordallo and representatives from the other U.S. territories are asking the U.S. House of Representative to again give them a symbolic vote during the Committee of the Whole, as they had in the 110th Congress and 111th Congress. Delegates from the territories can vote in the committees on which they serve, but not in the Committee of the Whole — in which all representatives serve to consider measures involving money issues — or on the floor during session.
“Extending voting rights would be wholly symbolic. Our votes cannot change the outcome of legislation or amendments considered on the floor,” Bordallo said at a Sept. 14 hearing. “Permitting the delegates (to vote) in the Committee of the Whole will not lessen the representation of the 435 members, rather it would allow territories’ voices to be heard more fully.”
But the symbolic vote wouldn’t count in event of a tie — territorial representatives’ votes would be thrown out in that case.