Christensen sworn in for 9th term
Published: January 4, 2013
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V.I. Delegate Donna Christensen was sworn in to the 113th Congress Thursday by Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner of Ohio.
Christensen marked the start of her ninth term in the House of Representatives by introducing 10 pieces of legislation, many of which had been introduced during prior Congressional terms.
"We have big challenges to address this Congress as we continue to address our economic and energy needs," Christensen said. "I look forward to a vigorous term where we work to maintain the quality of life that our residents deserve."
Christensen and her colleagues were sworn in after attending ceremonies around the Capitol in the morning. She attended the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's ceremonial swearing-in with her children and grandchildren as well.
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) introduced a bill Thursday to restore voting rights for the U.S. territories' and District of Columbia, but it was tabled by Republicans.
Hoyer introduced House Resolution 14, which would amend the House rules to allow the delegates of the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands and the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico to vote in the Committee of the Whole House.
In the 110th and 111th Congresses, Democrats made it possible through the Rules of the House for delegates and the Resident Commissioner to vote in the Committee of the Whole House without legal controversy, but that privilege was revoked by the Republican rules package for the 112th Congress and again for the 113th Congress.
"It is vital that the voices of the 5 million Americans represented by delegates and the Resident Commissioner in the U.S. House of Representatives are heard in our legislative process," Hoyer said in a statement Thursday. "By changing the House rules to silence these voices in the 112th Congress and again in this new Congress, House Republicans are doing a disservice to our greatest traditions of political inclusion and common-sense, democratic principles. I strongly urge them to reconsider and to allow the Delegates and Resident Commissioner to vote in the Committee of the Whole House."
Christensen and the other delegates from the territories issued statements for the record Thursday.
"The over 4 million citizens in the U.S. territories are among the most patriotic Americans you will find anywhere in our country," Christensen said. "We had hoped and expected that our colleagues in the House would recognize the contributions of their fellow American insular residents and afford their representatives the opportunity to participate more fully in the decisions of the 'people's House.' "
The 10 bills Christensen introduced Thursday include:
- A bill to require the Secretary of Interior to assemble a team of technical, policy and financial experts to address the energy needs of the insular areas of the United States and the Freely Associated States through the development of action plans aimed at reducing reliance on imported fossil fuels and increasing use of indigenous clean-energy resources.
- A bill to establish a National Historic Site at Castle Nugent, St. Croix.
- A bill to extend the supplemental security income benefits program to Guam, the Unites States Virgin Islands and American Samoa.
- A bill to establish the St. Croix National Heritage Area.
- A bill to create the Office of Chief Financial Officer of the Government of the Virgin Islands and for other purposes.
- The Medicaid Payment Fairness to the Territories Act.
- A bill to amend subtitle B of Title I of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to extend the temporary high risk insurance pool program to the territories.
- The Virgin Islands Energy Crisis Relief Act.
- A resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States regarding presidential voting rights for residents of all United States territories and commonwealths.
- A bill to remove the Medicaid matching requirement for individuals who live in the U.S. Virgin Islands and the other territories who have incomes that are between 100 and 133 percent of the federal poverty level.
Other bills pending from the 112th Congress will be introduced as soon as they clear the re-drafting process, according to Christensen.
- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email email@example.com.