United States congressional non-voting members

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The origin of non-voting delegates in the U.S. House of Representatives goes back to the Continental Congress when they established the Northwest Ordinance in 1787. Most of the Delegates would represent territories that would go on to become states, but this has not always been the case. Following the Spanish-American War in 1898, Congress established the position of Resident Commissioner. This position was created to allow for representation of territories that had a different relationship with the federal government than those territories that were on the path to statehood. Puerto Rico gained representation in Congress by way of its Resident Commissioner in 1900. The Philippines was also represented by two Resident Commissioners until its independence from the U.S. in 1946.[1]

With Alaska and Hawaii being admitted as states in 1959, Puerto Rico was the only territory left with representation in Congress. This would change in 1970, when Congress allowed the District of Columbia to elect a Delegate. This privilege was extended to Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1972, American Samoa in 1978, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in elections for the 111th Congress in 2008.[1]

Delegates are able to perform many of the functions of a full representative, such as serve on committees, speak on the U.S. House floor, introduce bills and offer amendments. However, they are not able to vote during business as the Committee as the Whole or on final passage of legislation. Delegates to the U.S. House serve two year terms. The Resident Commissioner functions are similar to the delegates, except that they serve a four year term.[2]

Current Non-Voting Members

Resident Commissioner

Democratic Party Pedro Pierluisi, Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico


Democratic Party Eleanor Holmes Norton, Delegate from Washington D.C.
Democratic Party Madeleine Z. Bordallo, Delegate from Guam
Democratic Party Stacey Plaskett, Delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands
Democratic Party Aumua Radewagen, Delegate from American Samoa
Democratic Party Gregorio Sablan, Delegate from The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

See also

External links