HOME

TheInfoList



Non-voting members of the United States House of Representatives (called either delegates or resident commissioner, in the case of
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (; abbreviated PR; tnq, Boriken, ''Borinquen''), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ( es, link=yes, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, lit=Free Associated State of Puerto Rico) is a Caribbean island and Unincorporated t ...

Puerto Rico
) are representatives of their territory in the
House of Representatives House of Representatives is the name of legislative bodies A legislature is a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is ...
, who do not have a right to vote on proposed legislation in the full House but nevertheless have floor privileges and are able to participate in certain other House functions. Non-voting members may vote in a House committee of which they are a member and introduce legislation. There are currently six non-voting members: a delegate representing the
District of Columbia ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall, United States Capitol, Washington Metro, National Air and Space Museum, Air and Space ...
, a
resident commissioner Resident commissioner was or is an official title of several different types of commissioner A commissioner is, in principle, a member of a Regulatory agency, commission or an individual who has been given a Wiktionary: commission, commission ...
representing
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (; abbreviated PR; tnq, Boriken, ''Borinquen''), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ( es, link=yes, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, lit=Free Associated State of Puerto Rico) is a Caribbean island and Unincorporated t ...

Puerto Rico
, and one delegate for each of the other four permanently inhabited
U.S. territories The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all ...
: American Samoa,
Guam Guam (; ch, Guåhan ) is an Unincorporated_territories_of_the_United_States, organized, unincorporated territory of the United States in the Micronesia subregion of the western Pacific Ocean. It is the List of extreme points of the United State ...

Guam
, the
Northern Mariana Islands ) , anthem_link = List of U.S. state songs , image_map = Northern Mariana Islands on the globe (Southeast Asia centered) (small islands magnified).svg , map_alt = Location of the Northern Mariana Islands , map_caption = Location of the Nort ...

Northern Mariana Islands
, and the
U.S. Virgin Islands The United States Virgin Islands, officially the Virgin Islands of the United States,Also called the ''American Virgin Islands'' are a group of Caribbean islands and an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States The U ...
. A seventh delegate, representing the
Cherokee Nation The Cherokee Nation (Cherokee language, Cherokee: ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ, ''Tsalagihi Ayeli'' or ᏣᎳᎩᏰᎵ "Tsalagiyehli"), also known as the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, is the largest of three Cherokee List of federally recognized tribes ...
, has been formally proposed but not yet seated, while an eighth, representing the
Choctaw Nation The Choctaw Nation (Choctaw The Choctaw (in the Choctaw language, ''Chahta'')Common misspellings and variations in other languages include Chacta, Tchakta and Chocktaw. are a Native American people originally occupying what is now the South ...
, is named in a treaty but has neither been proposed nor seated. As with voting members, delegates are elected every two years, while the resident commissioner of Puerto Rico is elected every four years.


Privileges of delegates

Non-voting members serve exclusively in the House of Representatives; the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
has no non-voting members (with the exception of the
Vice president of the United States The vice president of the United States (VPOTUS) is the second-highest officer in the executive branch The executive (short for executive branch or executive power) is the part of government that enforces law, and has Moral responsibility, r ...
, who may vote only to break ties) and no members representing the territories or the District of Columbia. All delegates serve a term of two years, while resident commissioners serve a term of four years. They receive compensation, benefits, and
franking Franking comprises all devices, markings, or combinations thereof ("franks") applied to mails of any class which qualifies them to be postally serviced. Types of franks include uncanceled and precanceled postage stamps (both adhesive and printed on ...
privileges (the ability to send outgoing U.S. mail without a
stamp Stamp or Stamps or Stamping may refer to: Official documents and related impressions * Postage stamp, used to indicate prepayment of fees for public mail * Ration stamp, indicating the right to rationed goods * Revenue stamp, used on documents to ...
) similar to full House members. Since 1993, the rules governing the rights of a non-voting member have changed three times, and current delegates—along with the resident commissioner—enjoy privileges that they did not have previously.


Early history

Territorial delegates existed before the ratification of the
United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the Supremacy Clause, supreme law of the United States, United States of America. This founding document, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first t ...

United States Constitution
. The
Northwest Ordinance of 1787 The Northwest Ordinance (formally An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States, North-West of the River Ohio, and also known as The Ordinance of 1787) enacted July 13, 1787, was an organic act of the Congress of the Confe ...
allowed for territory with "five thousand free male inhabitants of full age" to elect a non-voting delegate to the
Continental Congress The Continental Congress was a series of legislative bodies which met in the British America British America comprised the colonial territories of the British Empire in America from 1607 to 1783. These colonies were formally known as Bri ...
. After the ratification of the Constitution, the
first United States Congress The 1st United States Congress, comprising the United States Senate The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress The United States Congress or U.S. Congress is the bicameral legislature of the f ...
reenacted the Ordinance and extended it to include the territories south of the
Ohio River The Ohio River is a long river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without ...

Ohio River
. In 1790, the state of
North Carolina North Carolina () is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. North Carolina is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 28th largest and List of states and territories of the Un ...

North Carolina
—having recently ratified the constitution, becoming the 12th state—sent its congressional delegation to what was then the federal capital at
New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2019 population of 8,336,817 distributed over about , New York City is also the L ...

New York City
. Among them was former
State of Franklin The State of Franklin (also the Free Republic of Franklin or the State of Frankland)Landrum, refers to the proposed state as "the proposed republic of Franklin; while Wheeler has it as ''Frankland''." In ''That's Not in My American History Book ...
governor
John Sevier John Sevier (September 23, 1745 September 24, 1815) was an American soldier, frontiersman, and politician, and one of the founding fathers of the State of Tennessee Tennessee (, ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a state in the Sout ...

John Sevier
, whose district ( Washington District) comprised the " counties beyond the Alleghenies". He took office June 16, 1790, however, the government of North Carolina had ceded Washington District to the federal government on February 25, 1790, and it was organized as the
Southwest Territory The Territory South of the River Ohio, more commonly known as the Southwest Territory, was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 26, 1790, until June 1, 1796, when it was admitted to the United States a ...
on August 7, 1790. He remained a member of the House until March 3, 1791, when he was appointed brigadier general of the militia. On September 3, 1794, James White was elected by the Southwest Territory, which contained the former Washington District, to be their delegate to Congress. A resolution was put forth in the House to admit him to Congress, but as a delegate was not a position stated in the Constitution, the House debated what, if any, privileges White would have. As the
Northwest Ordinance The Northwest Ordinance (formally An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States, North-West of the River Ohio and also known as the Ordinance of 1787), enacted July 13, 1787, was an organic act of the Congress of the Conf ...
had only stated that a delegate is to sit "in Congress" the first debate was which chamber a delegate would sit in. Resolutions that he sit in both chambers and that his right to debate is limited to territorial matters were defeated. Ultimately, the House voted to allow him a non-voting seat in the House. Following his placement, representatives debated whether he should take the oath. Representative
James Madison James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, diplomat, expansionist, philosopher, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the 4th president of the United States from 1809 to 1817. ...

James Madison
stated "The proper definition of Mr. White is to be found in the Laws and Rules of the Constitution. He is not a member of Congress, therefore, and so cannot be directed to take an oath, unless he chooses to do it voluntarily." As he was not a member, he was not directed to take the oath, though every delegate after him has done so. He was also extended
franking Franking comprises all devices, markings, or combinations thereof ("franks") applied to mails of any class which qualifies them to be postally serviced. Types of franks include uncanceled and precanceled postage stamps (both adhesive and printed on ...
privileges, which allowed him to send official mail free of charge, and compensation at the same rate as members. In 1802 Congress passed a law that specifically extended
franking Franking comprises all devices, markings, or combinations thereof ("franks") applied to mails of any class which qualifies them to be postally serviced. Types of franks include uncanceled and precanceled postage stamps (both adhesive and printed on ...
privileges and pay to delegates. An act passed in 1817 codified the term and privileges of delegates:
every territory of the United States in which a temporary government has been, or hereafter shall be established...shall have the right to send a delegate to Congress, such delegate shall be elected every second year, for the same term of two years for which members of the House of Representatives of the United States are elected; and in that house, each of the said delegates shall have a seat with a right of debating, but not of voting.
From that point on, until August 1959, there was not a single congress without delegates. During the period from 1870 to 1891, there were as many as ten serving at one time. With the admission of Hawaii, and with Puerto Rico' sending a Resident Commissioner, the office temporarily went out of existence.


Resident commissioner

Similar to delegates are
resident commissioner Resident commissioner was or is an official title of several different types of commissioner A commissioner is, in principle, a member of a Regulatory agency, commission or an individual who has been given a Wiktionary: commission, commission ...
s, who represented the large areas acquired during the
Spanish–American War The Spanish–American War (April 21 – August 13, 1898, es, Guerra hispano-estadounidense or ; fil, Digmaang Espanyol-Amerikano) was an armed conflict War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, So ...
, and for much of the 20th century were considered colonies, not territories and unlike the previously acquired areas which would become the contiguous U.S. or Alaska and Hawaii, did not have residents with the rights of or to U.S. citizenship. Territories can secede from the United States with the consent of Congress, and in the case of the Philippines, they have.


Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (; abbreviated PR; tnq, Boriken, ''Borinquen''), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ( es, link=yes, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, lit=Free Associated State of Puerto Rico) is a Caribbean island and Unincorporated t ...

Puerto Rico
, a U.S. commonwealth, has been represented by a non-voting resident commissioner since 1901. The resident commissioner holds a status similar to that of a delegate within the House, but serves a four-year term. The resident commissioner is the only individual elected to the House who serves for this duration.


The Philippines

From 1907 until 1937, while it was a U.S. territory, the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republik ...

Philippines
elected two non-voting resident commissioners to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. From 1937 until 1946, while it was a U.S. commonwealth, the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republik ...

Philippines
sent one non-voting resident commissioner to the House. Upon independence in 1946, the Philippines ceased to be represented in Congress.


List of past delegates

Listed here by their congressional districts.


Current delegates

In the mid-1960s, a number of small territories that had no prospects of becoming states began to petition for representation in Congress. Starting in 1970, the House of Representatives started to grant representation to these territories, but with limited voting rights.


American Samoa

As the
U.S. Virgin Islands The United States Virgin Islands, officially the Virgin Islands of the United States,Also called the ''American Virgin Islands'' are a group of Caribbean islands and an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States The U ...

U.S. Virgin Islands
and
Guam Guam (; ch, Guåhan ) is an Unincorporated_territories_of_the_United_States, organized, unincorporated territory of the United States in the Micronesia subregion of the western Pacific Ocean. It is the List of extreme points of the United State ...

Guam
had delegates in
Washington, D.C. ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall The National Mall is a Landscape architecture, landscaped park within ...
, the American Samoa-based ''Political Status Study Commission'' had meetings with the delegates from these two territories. They came home to
Pago Pago Pago Pago ( ; Samoan: )Harris, Ann G. and Esther Tuttle (2004). ''Geology of National Parks''. Kendall Hunt. Page 604. . is the territorial capital of American Samoa. It is in Maoputasi County on Tutuila Tutuila is the main island of America ...
convinced of the importance of having this representation in the nation's capital. Members of the
American Samoa Fono The American Samoa Fono is the territorial legislature of American Samoa. Like most state and territorial legislatures of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or Americ ...
had already been attending budget hearings in Washington for over a decade by 1970. During a special session held in July 1969,
American Samoa Senate American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is ...

American Samoa Senate
President Salanoa introduced Senate Bill 54 in order to create the Office of the Delegate at Large to Washington, DC. This was approved by Governor
Owen Aspinall Owen Stuart Aspinall (September 21, 1927 – February 7, 1997) was an United States, American attorney and politician who served as the 45th Governor of American Samoa from August 1, 1967, to July 31, 1969. He was born in Grand Junction, Col ...

Owen Aspinall
on August 8, 1969. Its first delegate, A. U. Fuimaono, was elected in 1970. Fuimaono ended his term in order to unsuccessfully run for
Governor of American Samoa This is a list of governors, etc. of the part of the Samoan Islands The Samoan Islands are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a ...
. Former speaker of the House A. P. Lutali became the territory's second delegate to Washington. Fofō Sunia was elected the third delegate at large in 1978 after Lutali declined to run for reelection. Sunia went to Washington knowing his term would be limited to two years as the U.S. president had established a non-voting seat for American Samoa in the
United States House of Representatives The United States House of Representatives is the lower house of the United States Congress, with the United States Senate, Senate being the upper house. Together they compose the national Bicameralism, bicameral legislature of the United St ...
. However, Sunia was elected to American Samoa's first Congressional seat in 1981 and served until 1988. He was succeeded by
Eni Faleomavaega Eni Fa'aua'a Hunkin Faleomavaega Jr. (; August 15, 1943 – February 22, 2017) was an American Samoan politician and attorney who served as the territory's lieutenant governor (1985-1989) and non-voting delegate to the United States House of Repre ...
from 1989 to 2015. On January 3, 2015,
Amata Coleman Radewagen Amata Catherine Coleman Radewagen (born December 29, 1947), commonly called Aumua Amata , is an American Samoan politician who is the current delegate for the United States House of Representatives The United States House of Representat ...

Amata Coleman Radewagen
became America Samoa's both first female delegate and their first
Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of government that is not a monarchy or dictatorship, and is usually associated with the rule of law. ** Republicanism, the ideology in support of republics or against ...
elected delegate.


District of Columbia

The
District of Columbia ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall, United States Capitol, Washington Metro, National Air and Space Museum, Air and Space ...
is technically a
federal district A federal district is a type of administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are gen ...

federal district
—not a territory, commonwealth or
insular area An insular area of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. stat ...
. However, from 1871 to 1875, it briefly had a delegate to Congress. This situation did not last long and congressional representation was terminated. The district had no other delegates until 1971, when the House of Representatives agreed to seat Walter E. Fauntroy, who served in that position between March 23, 1971 and January 3, 1991, when
Eleanor Holmes Norton Eleanor Holmes Norton (born June 13, 1937) is an American politician serving as a Delegate to the United States House of Representatives The United States House of Representatives is the lower house of the United States Congress, with the ...

Eleanor Holmes Norton
was elected. Norton continues in that position.


U.S. Virgin Islands

In 1972, the House agreed to admit as a delegate from the
United States Virgin Islands The United States Virgin Islands, officially the Virgin Islands of the United States, are a group of Caribbean islands and an Territories of the United States, unincorporated and organized territory of the United States. The islands are geograp ...
, which had been a U.S. territory since 1917 after they were purchased from
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe. It is the most populous and politically central Constituent state, constituent of the Danish Realm, Kingdom of Denmark, da, Kongeriget Danmark, a constitution ...
under the 1916
Treaty of the Danish West Indies File:The Virgin islands of the United States of America; historical and descriptive, commercial and industrial facts, figures, and resources (1918) (14596880870).jpg, $25,000,000 receipt for the Treaty of the Danish West Indies The Treaty of the ...
. The current delegate,
Stacey Plaskett Stacey Elizabeth Plaskett (born May 13, 1966) is an American politician, attorney, and commentator. She is a Delegate (United States Congress), Delegate to the United States House of Representatives from the United States Virgin Islands' United S ...
, became the first nonvoting delegate to serve as an impeachment manager in the
second impeachment trial of Donald Trump The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the Fed ...
.


Guam

In 1972, the House also agreed to admit
Antonio Borja Won Pat Antonio Borja Won Pat (December 10, 1908 – May 1, 1987) was a Guam , az, GUAM Demokratiya və İqtisadi İnkişaf naminə Təşkilat , ro, GUAM Organizația pentru Democrație și Dezvoltare Economică , linking_name = GUAM , s ...
as a delegate from
Guam Guam (; ch, Guåhan ) is an Unincorporated_territories_of_the_United_States, organized, unincorporated territory of the United States in the Micronesia subregion of the western Pacific Ocean. It is the List of extreme points of the United State ...

Guam
, which had been a U.S. territory since 1899 when it was ceded to the United States by
Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_ ...

Spain
under the Treaty of Paris. Won Pat had been serving as the Washington Representative since 1965, lobbying to seek a place in the House since then.


Northern Mariana Islands

For thirty years, since 1978, citizens of the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands ) , anthem_link = List of U.S. state songs , image_map = Northern Mariana Islands on the globe (Southeast Asia centered) (small islands magnified).svg , map_alt = Location of the Northern Mariana Islands , map_caption = Location of the Nort ...
(CNMI) elected a resident representative, commonly known as Washington representative, an office established by Article V of the Constitution of the Northern Mariana Islands for the purpose of representing the CNMI in the United States capital and performing related official duties established by CNMI law. In 2008, the
Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 The Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (; CNRA) was an act passed in the 110th United States Congress The 110th United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, between January ...
, signed into law by President
George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United ...

George W. Bush
, replaced the position of Resident Representative with a non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives. The election of the first delegate took place in November 2008. It was the only contest on the ballot because CNMI elections traditionally occurred in odd-numbered years.
Gregorio Sablan Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (born January 19, 1955) is a Northern Mariana Islander politician and former election commissioner. Elected in 2008 2008 was designated as: * International Year of Languages *International Year of Planet Ear ...
won the election and took office in January 2009.


Native American treaty-right delegates

The
Cherokee The Cherokee (; chr, ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯᎢ, translit=Aniyvwiyaʔi, or chr, ᏣᎳᎩ, links=no, translit=Tsalagi) are one of the indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands of the United States. Prior to the 18th century, they were concentr ...
and
Choctaw The Choctaw (in the Choctaw language, Chahta) are a Native Americans in the United States, Native American people originally based in the Indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands, Southeastern Woodlands, in what is now Alabama and Missi ...
Native American tribes have treaty rights to send delegates to Congress. The right to a non-voting delegate to Congress was promised to the Cherokee by the
Treaty of Hopewell Three agreements, each known as the Treaty of Hopewell, were signed between representatives of the Congress of the Confederation, Congress of the United States and the Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw peoples, were negotiated and signed at the Hop ...
in 1785 (affirmed in 1835's Treaty of New Echota) and to the Choctaw under the
Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek The ''Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek'' was a treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and international organizations, but can sometimes ...
in 1830, "whenever Congress shall make provision for delegate. Congress has never provided for the appointment of delegates from Indian tribes. The Choctaw tribe has never appointed a delegate to Congress and the Cherokee had not until 2019. However, the Choctaw did send a non-congressional delegate to Washington for most of the 19th century as an ambassador to represent them before the U.S. government, the most noteworthy being
Peter Pitchlynn Peter Perkins Pitchlynn (January 30, 1806 – January 17, 1881), of the ''Hat-choo-tuck-nee'' ("Snapping Turtle") clan, was a Choctaw The Choctaw (in the Choctaw language, ''Chahta'')Common misspellings and variations in other languages includ ...
."Peter P. Pitchlynn Collection"
Western Histories Collection, University of Oklahoma Libraries
In addition, the first treaty signed between the United States and a Native American nation, the Treaty of Fort Pitt (1778) with the
Lenape The Lenape ( or ), also called the Leni Lenape, Lenni Lenape and Delaware people, are an indigenous people of the Northeastern Woodlands, who live in the United States and Canada. Their historical territory included present-day New Jersey and ...
("Delaware Nation"), encouraged them to form a state that would have representation in Congress; however, it is unclear if the treaty would allow a delegate without the formation of a U.S. state. A similar situation actively exists at the
state legislature A state legislature is a Legislature, legislative branch or body of a State (country subdivision), political subdivision in a Federalism, federal system. Two federations literally use the term "state legislature": * The legislative branches of e ...
level with the
Maine House of Representatives The Maine House of Representatives is the lower house A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house. Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwi ...
maintaining seats for three non-voting delegates representing the
Penobscot The Penobscot (''Panawahpskek'') are an Indigenous people in North America from the Northeastern Woodlands region. They are organized as a federally recognized tribe This is a list of federally recognized tribes in the contiguous United States ...
(since 1823), the
Passamaquoddy The Passamaquoddy (''Peskotomuhkati'' or ''Pestomuhkati'' in the Passamaquoddy language) are an American Indian/First Nations The First Nations (french: Premières Nations ) are the largest group of indigenous peoples in Canada, Canadian in ...
(since 1842), and the
Maliseet The Wəlastəkwewiyik, or Maliseet (, also spelled Malecite), are an Algonquian-speaking First Nation The First Nations (french: Premières Nations ) are the largest group of indigenous peoples in Canada, Canadian indigenous peoples, disti ...
(since 2012). The rights of the tribal delegates has fluctuated over time but appears to have been born from a practice in
Massachusetts General Court The Massachusetts General Court (formally styled the General Court of Massachusetts) is the state legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state ...
(
Maine Maine () is a U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United States, bordered by New Hampshire to the west; the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast; and the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Qu ...
was a part of
Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * T ...

Massachusetts
until 1820). Unlike the situation at the federal level, Maine's state-level tribal delegates are established by state law rather than treaties. As of 2015, only the Passamaquoddy seat is filled; the other two Nations have chosen to currently not fill their seats in protest over issues of tribal sovereignty and rights. The
Wisconsin Legislature The Wisconsin Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Wisconsin. The Legislature is a bicameral body composed of the upper house Wisconsin State Senate and the lower Wisconsin State Assembly, both of which have had Repub ...
, the
Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick The Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick (french: Assemblée législative du Nouveau-Brunswick) is the deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parlia ...

Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick
in
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocea ...

Canada
, and the
New Zealand Parliament The New Zealand Parliament ( mi, Pāremata Aotearoa) is the unicameral legislature of New Zealand, consisting of the Monarchy of New Zealand, Queen of New Zealand (Queen-in-Parliament) and the New Zealand House of Representatives. The Queen is ...
were allegedly reviewing Maine's indigenous delegate policy for their own adoption (though New Zealand had already established Māori electorates since 1867). There remain, however, untested questions about the validity of such delegates. One is violating
one person, one vote One man, one vote (or one person, one vote) expresses the principle that individuals should have equal representation in voting. This slogan is used by advocates of political equality to refer to such electoral reforms as universal suffrage Uni ...
if tribal citizens are represented in the House by both a voting member and a non-voting delegate. Another is which
federally recognized tribe This is a list of federally recognized tribes in the contiguous United States of America The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily lo ...
s would appoint the relevant delegate: the Choctaw delegate might represent only the
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma The Choctaw Nation (Choctaw language, Choctaw: ''Chahta Yakni'') is a Native Americans in the United States, Native American territory covering about , occupying portions of southeastern Oklahoma in the United States. The Choctaw Nation is the t ...
, say, or also the
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is one of three federally recognized tribes of Choctaw Native Americans, and the only one in the state of Mississippi. On April 20, 1945, this band organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. Also ...
; similarly with the
Cherokee Nation The Cherokee Nation (Cherokee language, Cherokee: ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ, ''Tsalagihi Ayeli'' or ᏣᎳᎩᏰᎵ "Tsalagiyehli"), also known as the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, is the largest of three Cherokee List of federally recognized tribes ...
and the
United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma ( or , abbreviated United Keetoowah Band or UKB) is a Federally recognized tribes, federally recognized tribe of Cherokee Native Americans in the United States, Native Americans headquartere ...
. On August 25, 2019, the
Cherokee Nation The Cherokee Nation (Cherokee language, Cherokee: ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ, ''Tsalagihi Ayeli'' or ᏣᎳᎩᏰᎵ "Tsalagiyehli"), also known as the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, is the largest of three Cherokee List of federally recognized tribes ...
formally announced its intention to appoint a delegate, nominating
Kimberly Teehee Kimberly Teehee (born March 2, 1966) is an American attorney, activist, and lobbyist on Native American issues. She is a Delegate-designate to the U.S. House of Representatives from the Cherokee Nation The Cherokee Nation (Cherokee language, ...

Kimberly Teehee
, the tribe's vice president of government relations, as its first delegate. According to the process used for other non-voting delegates, the House of Representatives must vote to formally admit Teehee. Some congressional leaders have expressed concerns about Teehee being appointed by a tribal government rather than elected by tribal members; Teehee has contended that, since the Cherokee Nation is a
sovereign nation A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized government A centralized government (also united government) is one in which both executive and legislative power is concentrated centrally at the higher level as ...
, her appointment as a delegate should be viewed analogous to an
ambassador An ambassador is an official envoy, especially a high-ranking diplomat who represents a state and is usually accredited to another sovereign state or to an international organization as the resident representative of their own government or sov ...
ship. An ambassadorial view of Native delegates is consistent with prior history of Native envoys to Washington and Maine's state-level tribal delegates. Teehee's appointment to the House has not been finalized as of May 2021 and has been reported to have been delayed by the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The novel virus was first identified from an outbreak in the Chinese city of ...
.


Expanding (and contracting) voting rights

The positions of non-voting delegates are now a more or less permanent fixture of the House of Representatives, having been supported by Congressional legislation (see Section 891, of Title 48 of the U. S. Code). However, this legislation stipulates that "...the right to vote in the committee shall be provided by the Rules of the House." Hence, the House majority could, without consulting the Senate or the president, weaken the delegates. In 1993, the
103rd Congress The 103rd United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from January 3, 1993 ...
approved a rule change that allowed the four delegates and the resident commissioner to vote on the floor of the House, but only in the Committee of the Whole. However, if any measure passed or failed in the Committee of the Whole because of a delegate's vote, a second vote—excluding the delegates—would be taken. In other words, delegates were permitted to vote only if their votes had no effect on a measure's ultimate outcome. This change was denounced by Republicans (all five of the delegates either were Democrats or were allied with the Democrats at the time) as a case of partisanship; the Democrats had lost a dozen house seats in the 1992 election, and this change effectively reduced the impact by half. In 1995, this rule change was reversed by the
104th Congress The 104th United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress Th ...
, stripping the delegates of even non-decisive votes. The reversal was in turn denounced by Democrats (all five of the delegates either were Democrats or were allied with the Democrats at the time) as a case of partisanship; the change was made after Republicans gained control of the House for the first time in 40 years. In January 2007, it was proposed by Democrats in the House that the 1993–1995 procedure be revived. Delegates had this right during the 110th and
111th Congress into law, January 29, 2009. The 111th United States Congress was a List of United States Congresses, meeting of the United States Congress, legislative branch of the United States federal government from January 3, 2009, until January 3, ...
es. Republicans again objected, and when their party gained control of the House during the
112th Congress The 112th United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primari ...
, the right of delegates to vote in the committee of the whole was again removed. When Democrats regained control in the
116th United States Congress The 116th United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives House of Representatives is the name of legislative bodies in many co ...
, they again reinstated the right of delegates to vote in the committee of the whole. Delegates have always retained the right to vote in
congressional committee File:Defense.gov photo essay 070731-N-0696M-301.jpg, upright=1.2, The Senate Armed Services Committee hearing testimony in the Hart Senate Office Building in 2007. A congressional committee is a legislative sub-organization in the United States ...
s and in conference committees (see House Rule III, 3 . Conference committees include representatives from both the House and Senate. These committees work to compromise and reconcile conflicts between House and Senate bills.


Current non-voting members of the U.S. House of Representatives

As of the
116th United States Congress The 116th United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives House of Representatives is the name of legislative bodies in many co ...
, the six non-voting delegates consist of three Democrats, two Republicans and an independent. The independent, Gregorio Sablan, caucuses with the Democratic Party. Jenniffer González, of Puerto Rico, a member of the New Progressive Party in Puerto Rico, belongs nationally to the Republican Party.


See also

*
Shadow congressperson The posts of shadow United States senator and shadow United States representative are held by elected or appointed government officials from Political divisions of the United States, subnational polities of the United States that lack congressio ...
* U.S. state and territorial legislatures with non-voting delegates: **
Maine Legislature The Maine Legislature is the State legislature (United States), state legislature of the U.S. state of Maine. It is a bicameral body composed of the lower house Maine House of Representatives and the upper house Maine Senate. The Legislature conve ...
:
Maine House of Representatives The Maine House of Representatives is the lower house A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house. Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwi ...
( Non-voting tribal delegates) **
American Samoa Fono The American Samoa Fono is the territorial legislature of American Samoa. Like most state and territorial legislatures of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or Americ ...
:
American Samoa House of Representatives The American Samoa House of Representatives is the lower house A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house. Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislature ...

American Samoa House of Representatives
(
Swains Island Swains Island (; Tokelauan language, Tokelauan: ''Olohega'' ; Samoan language, Samoan: ''Olosega'' ) is a remote coral atoll about 340 km north of Pago Pago in the list of islands of Tokelau, Tokelau Islands in the Pacific Ocean, South Pacific ...

Swains Island
)


Notes


References

*


External links


History and powers of DC's Delegate to Congress
{{U.S. congressional delegations Delegates to the United States House of Representatives