Puerto Rico Loses Its Voice in the House of Reps

The House of Representative ruled yesterday to revoke the voting rights of delegates, which means that lawmakers representing Puerto Rico, Washington DC, American Guam, Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands no longer have any power in congress.

For Puerto Rico, the revocation of voting rights basically strips the approximately four million residents of the commonwealth of their only voice in United States government. For perspective, one legislator in the House represents, on average, 700 thousand constituents.

Puerto Rican citizens can serve in war and vote in presidential primaries, but they can not vote in Presidential elections and now, thanks to the GOP's proposed House rules for governing the 112th Congress Puerto Rico's Resident Commisioner Hon. Pedro Pierluisi no longer has any vote in the House. 

Pierluisi strongly objected to the Republicans disenfranchisement of the delegates, saying, "The Republican package dishonors men and women from the territories and the District of Columbia. And in so doing, it does grave damage to the principles of equality and justice that our constituents, side by side with all of your constituents, fight to defend here at home and in distant lands. This is a true shame."

Though Peirluisi did not have a formal vote in the passage of bills through Congress, all six delegates are allowed to vote on amendments in the House though "the committeee of the whole" which refers to instances when the entire house gathers to consider legislation.