Transcript: House debates articles of impeachmentDecember 18, 1998
Web posted at: 8:56 p.m. EST (0156 GMT)
LAHOOD: The House will be in order. The chair lays before the House the following communication.
CLERK: The Speaker's Rooms, Washington, D.C., December 18, 1998. I hereby designate the Honorable Ray LaHood to act as Speaker Pro Tempore on this day. Signed, Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the House of Representatives. LAHOOD: Prayer will be offered by the chaplain, James Ford.
FORD: Let us pray, using the words of St. Francis. Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is discord, union. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is pardoning that we are pardoned. And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
The chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the House his approval thereon. Pursuant to clause one of rule one, the journal stands approved. And the gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Pallone, is recognized to lead the House in the Pledge of Allegiance.
PALLONE: Please join me in the Pledge of Allegiance.
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands; one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
CLERK: Please be seated.
LAHOOD: The chair would ask the House to be in order; that members and staff take seats.
For what purpose does the gentlewoman from the District of Columbia rise?
NORTON: Mr. Speaker, I rise to offer a privileged resolution that is at the desk.
LAHOOD: The clerk will report the resolution.
CLERK: House Resolution 613.
Resolve whereas Rule 9 the rules of the House of Representatives provides that questions of privilege shall arise whenever the rights of the House collectively or the members individually in their representative capacity are affected, whereas under the precedence, customs, and traditions of the House pursuant to Rule 9 a question of privilege has arisen in cases involving the constitutional prerogatives of the House and of members of the House.
And whereas the House is prepared to consider a resolution impeaching the president and the delegate to the Congress from the District of Columbia seeks to assert the constitutional prerogative to cast a vote and the consideration of the resolution now therefore be it resolved Section I, providing vote for the delegate from the District of Columbia in consideration of presidential impeachment resolutions.
Pursuant to Section II or Article I of the Constitution and the 23rd Article of amendment thereto, granting the people of the District of Columbia the right to vote in presidential elections, the delegate to the Congress from the District of Columbia shall be permitted to cast a vote in the House of Representatives in the same manner as a member of the House in the consideration by the House of any resolution impeaching the president or vice president of the United States. Section II, effective date.
Section I shall apply with any respect to any resolution impeaching the president or vice president of the United States that is considered by the House of Representatives after the adoption of this resolution.
LAHOOD: Does anyone wish to be heard on whether the resolution constitutes the privileges of the House?
NORTON: I ask to be heard, Mr. Speaker.
LAHOOD: Gentlewomen is recognized.
NORTON: Mr. Speaker, most Americans do not know and most people in the world are unaware that the residents of the nation's capitol do not have any representation in the Senate and can not vote on this floor.
NORTON: But the Constitution of the United States, in its 23rd Amendment, did give to the residents of the District the right to vote for president and vice president of the United States.
The same Constitution that gives the District the vote for president must recognize the right of District residents to representation for a vote on removal of the president.
I have submitted a narrowly tailored resolution, along with a legal memorandum, for a narrowly tailored right. I am not here asking for the delegate vote in the committee as a whole at this time. I am not asking for a House vote. I am asking to vote only on impeachment in order to perfect the rights of District residents under the 23rd Amendment.
You have abundant authority to grant me this right at this time. Clause 2 of the 23rd Amendment gives the House the power to enforce the amendment through legislation. My resolution is that legislation.
The District clause, as this body so often reminds us, gives you full authority over the District of Columbia. And the impeachment clause gives you unilateral authority or the sole power of impeachment.
The 23rd Amendment explicitly treats the District as a state for purposes of electing the president and the vice president. I ask for this right in the name of half-a-million people, the only Americans who pay federal income taxes, who do not have full representation in the Congress. They are third per capita in federal income taxes. Their one right that is mentioned in the Constitution is the right to vote for president and vice president.
NORTON: The decision to expel a president from that office is as important as the decision to elect the president to office. Indeed, the decision to expel him is more momentous.
There are no partial rights in the Constitution. It is unconstitutional and irrational to interpret the 23rd Amendment to afford a vote for president, but no vote on whether to impeach a president.
Let this process begin on a high note of fairness in the name of the half-million American citizens who happen to live in the nation's capital.
I ask for the vote in these impeachment proceedings.
SPEAKER: Members who wish to be heard?
The chair is prepared to rule.
The resolution offered by the gentlewoman from the District of Columbia seeks to provide the delegate from the District of Columbia the right to vote in the House on a resolution of impeachment. Pursuant to Title II, Section 25A of the United States Code, the delegate to the House of Representatives from the District of Columbia is accorded a seat in the House with the right of debate, but not of voting.
Under Rule 12 of the rules of the House, the right of a delegate to vote is confined to committee. The chair will state a basic principle on proper questions of privilege as recorded on page 366 of the House Rules and Manual.
"A question of the privileges of the House may not be invoked to effect a change in the rules or standing orders of the House."
Altering the right to vote of a delegate is tantamount to a change in the rules of the House and is not a proper privilege of question.
The gentleman from Michigan.
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE DAVID BONIOR (D-MI): Mr. Speaker, in protest to the decision to proceed while U.S. men and women are fighting abroad, I move that the House do now adjourn.
SPEAKER: (OFF-MIKE) is on the motion to adjourn. All those in favor will say aye.
SPEAKER: Those opposed will say no.
SPEAKER: In the opinion of the chair, the "noes" have it...
BONIOR: Mr. Speaker, I request a recorded vote.
SPEAKER: Recorded vote is requested.
A sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote by electronic device, is ordered. Those in favor will vote "aye." Those opposed will vote "no." This will be a 17-minute vote.
(BREAK FOR VOTE)
SPEAKER: The ayes are 183; the nays are 225. The motion is not agreed to.
The House will be in order.
We ask members to take seats, please.
For what purpose does the gentleman from Illinois rise?
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