January 5, 2011 â€“Washington, DC â€“ Congressman JosÃ© E. Serrano today announced his strong disapproval of the decision by House Republicans to take away the territorial and D.C. delegatesâ€™ right to vote on the House floor. Along with the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico, delegates from D.C., Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands will not be allowed to vote in the Committee of the Whole, a right the Democrats gave them four years ago.
â€œThis is a shameful step backwards that House Republicans took today, and it is a slap in the face of the millions of citizens and people living under the U.S. flag in these territories. They have had the ability to have their voices heard in the U.S. House of Representatives for only four short years, and there is no excuse for taking that right away from these duly elected leaders.
â€œI have spent much of my career here in Washington seeking equality for those living in the territories. Had my parents not left Puerto Rico, I would certainly have been in the situation that these people find themselves in through no choice or fault of their own. I have worked to give them dignity and a say in matters that affect them. House Republicans have taken away civil liberties through their decision and I find it outrageous.
â€œOn behalf of the millions living under the American flag in D.C. and the territories, I call on Speaker Boehner and the House Republicans to reconsider this terrible decision and restore their voice in the House of Representatives.â€
Congressman JosÃ© E. Serrano has represented the Bronx in Congress since 1990.