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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Representing the District of Columbia

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Rep. Massie Humiliated on the House Floor, Norton Claims Victory for D.C.’s Gun Safety Laws

Jul 15, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) tonight claimed a legislative victory as Rep. Thomas Massie’s (R-KY) amendment to the Fiscal Year 2015 District of Columbia Appropriations bill, which attempted to wipe out all of the District’s local gun safety laws, was ruled out of order.  Massie may try again tomorrow.  After Ranking Member Jose Serrano (D-NY) raised a point of order to Massie’s anti-home-rule gun amendment, the presiding Member in the Speaker’s Chair ruled Massie’s amendment out of order as constituting legislating on an appropriations bill by imposing new duties on the D.C. Council and the Metropolitan Police Department.  Such points of order usually end the matter if the chair rules that the point of order is correct, particularly if the ruling comes from your own party.

However, Massie resisted and asked for a vote to overrule his own Majority Chair – a virtually unprecedented motion.  This produced 20-minutes of drama with the Majority trying to convince Massie to withdraw his motion to overrule his own chair.  Had he prevailed, an immediate vote would have been followed as required by a motion to overrule the Chair.  The matter was becoming an embarrassing problem for the Majority because Members had mostly gone home, having been informed that no votes were anticipated this evening.  To settle the matter, the Majority allowed a vote on Massie’s motion to overrule the Majority ruling. Only Massie voted to overrule the Chair.

“Rep. Massie forced his own party to humiliate him on the House floor tonight,” Norton said.  “The ruling of the Chair was the ruling of the majority.  Once the Chair called a point of order on Rep. Massie’s amendment, he was not only out of order, but he went on to show he was out of his league.  It was high drama tonight, with D.C. winning this round, and Rep. Massie demonstrating he was not ready for primetime on the House floor.

“In the end, rather than give up on the procedural flaw in his amendment, Rep. Massie could not resist piling on to violate the District’s right to self-government despite his professed tea party, states’ rights principles.  Rep. Massie has introduced only ten bills in the 113th Congress compared to my 64.  His low productivity for the people of Kentucky he represents demonstrates he needs to get to work to bring home something for Kentucky rather than meddle in the local affairs of another Member’s district.”