Government & Constitution

Democrats’ Unconstitutional Power Grab

Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will be considering a rule change (H. Res. 78) to allow delegates and non-members of the House—of which four of five are Democrats—to vote in the House of Representatives.

Fresh off a 100-hour agenda that was full of loopholes, fine print, and geared more toward sound bites than sound policy, Democrats are planning to further stack the deck in their favor in the House of Representatives. Tomorrow, House Democrats will change the rules of the House to allow non-members of Congress (serving as delegates from American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the District of Columbia and the resident commissioner from Puerto Rico), the right to vote.

This demonstrates a blatant disregard for the Constitution. The Democrats’ plan treats the Constitution like a door mat to be walked on, instead of the foundation of our country. It runs roughshod over the constitutional principle of “one-person one-vote.” The average congressional district has approximately 650,000 people, while American Samoa has 57,000, the Virgin Islands 108,000 and Guam 155,000. Under the Democrats’ plan, the 57,000 people in American Samoa would have the same voting rights on the House floor as the residents of Georgia’s 6th District.

To add insult to injury, non-members would be able to vote to raise taxes on the American people but would not have to pay them. Yes, that is not a misprint—non-members would have the ability to take more from your paychecks and not be held accountable for their actions. Residents of Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico do not pay federal income taxes, yet the Democrat plan will allow them to hike taxes on Americans that do. It does not take a math whiz to understand that this logic does not add up.

In a bit of sad irony, this is not the first time Democrats have tried this. In the 103rd Congress, Democrats instituted this “power grab” amidst the harsh criticism of editorial boards across the country. Newspapers like the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, and USA Today denounced it.

The Chicago Tribune said in December 1992 that the Democrat delegate vote plan “would subvert the Constitution to give the territorial delegates the power to vote, but guarantee that any time their votes really count . . .they won’t be counted.” (Editorial, 12/30/92)

The New York Times voiced a similar sentiment in December 1992: “A greedy grab . . . an outrageous power play . . . a distressing sign that the leadership hasn’t the slightest clue that people are fed up with Washington’s business as usual.” (Editorial, 12/29/92)

USA Today said this in January 1993: “The Democrats’ first order of business is a power grab that short-circuits the Constitution.” (Editorial, 1/4/93)

Just three weeks into the job Democrats are revising old, tired techniques from 14 years ago that are as unpopular with those in the media as they are with the voting public. Trampling the Constitution to garner a few more votes in the House of Representatives is not democracy, it is deplorable and an abuse of power.

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