Guam – The Republican controlled U.S. House has taken away the right of territorial delegates to vote on the floor of the House during meetings of the Committee of the Whole.
It was one of the first acts of the newly convened Republican-controlled House which was sworn in on Wednesday in Washington.
The floor voting rights are considered “symbolic” only.
Under the Democratic controlled House, delegates could vote on the floor on amendments, in what is known as the Committee of the Whole. But they could not vote on final passage. And even in the Committee of the Whole, they could not cast a vote if that vote could change the outcome.
The GOP decision to rescind the ability of delegates to vote during Committee of the Whole was the predictable outcome of a longtime party divide.
The move effects the voting rights of delegates from the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, the CNMI and Guam.
Of the six delegates from those territories, 5 are Democrats. The CNMI’s Gregorio Sablan is an independent.