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Republicans Limit Taxpayer Representation and Defy Their Tea Party Roots

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Among the first votes in the House of Representatives yesterday was a vote to certify the House rules, as proposed by the Republican majority. As their first act in the majority, Republican representatives used this vote to take away certain voting rights from six House delegates who represent taxpayers in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, the Philippines, and American Samoa.

"To me it is unseemly in the 21st century that anyone would be stripped of a vote," said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who has represented Washington D.C. since 1991.

Wednesday's vote changed the rules from the previous Congress, further restricting these delegates’ already-limited voting rights. Under the rules of the 111th Congress, delegates had the ability to vote on amendments and procedure in the “Committee of the Whole” and to serve on committees, but couldn’t vote on final passage of any measures.

Republicans took proactive steps to further limit the representation of taxpayers.

Interestingly, Republicans in the 2010 election espoused the views and support of the anti-government Tea Party, a movement that appropriated its name from the 18th century Boston revolutionary group. Seventh grade history teachers may point out that the Boston Tea Party was created to rebel against the British for subjecting the American colonies to taxation without representation.

Evidently, that value has been lost somewhere along the way.