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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Representing the District of Columbia

Places in Washington DC

Norton, Unable to Sign Discharge Petition, Supports Effort to Force Vote on Creating Independent Commission to Investigate President Trump’s Ties to Russia

May 17, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said she supports the discharge petition Democrats plan to file today to force a vote on H.R. 356, a bipartisan bill to establish an outside, independent commission to investigate Russia’s interference during the 2016 elections and possible ties between Russia and President Trump.  Norton is an original cosponsor of the bill.  Norton previously called on Congress to form an independent commission following the firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey by President Trump.  Norton said that, in another reminder of consequences of the denial of representation to D.C. in Congress, she cannot file or sign discharge petitions as a delegate.  A discharge petition forces the House to consider a bill on the floor without the consent of the majority party’s leadership, provided 218 Representatives of the House sign the petition.

“President Trump’s abrupt and questionable firing of FBI Director James Comey, compounded by his reckless judgement in unveiling highly classified information to Russian officials, demand that Congress acts to establish a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the attacks by Russia on our country during the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia,” Norton said.  “An independent commission, not tied to any political party, would remove any doubt about the integrity of the investigation, and polls show an overwhelmingly majority of the American people support an independent investigation, removed from politics.  The deafening silence from Republican House leaders in response to this unhinged White House mandates that we act.  District of Columbia residents will once again be undemocratically denied a voice in the so-called ‘People’s House,’ but I strongly support this important effort to hold this White House accountable and to get to the bottom of the Russia investigation.”

Norton and the other delegates have the same parliamentary rights as Representatives to chair and vote in committees.  While delegates cannot vote on the House floor, they have virtually all the other parliamentary rights of Representatives on the House floor, including sponsoring and debating bills and amendments.  When Democrats controlled the House, delegates have been allowed to vote on amendments on the House floor in the Committee of the Whole, a right Norton won for delegates after coming to Congress, which has been upheld in the federal courts as constitutional.  Unlike the residents U.S. territories, D.C. residents pay federal income taxes, the highest per capita in the nation.