House Democrats agreed last week to give voting privileges on the House floor to delegates from the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Previously, the delegates could vote only in committee. They represent jurisdiction that often are treated as states for purposes of federal legislation but do not enjoy full statehood status.
The U.S. Constitution makes provision only for representatives of states to vote on final passage of bills. But under a legal theory advanced by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., the Constitution does not bar delegates from voting on amendments to legislation before the full House.
Democrats, who because of their majority get to set House policy and rules, agreed with Norton and voted last Tuesday to allow delegates a vote during floor deliberations. However, the delegates still will be unable to vote on final passage of legislation.
Jack Kent Cooke, owner of the Washington Redskins football team, last week reached agreement with District of Columbia officials on a proposed new stadium to be located adjacent to the team's current home at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium.
Under the agreement, Cooke will finance the entire cost of the stadium. He will pay $160 million for the stadium itself, as well as $4.6 million annually to help defease $46 million of bonds to be issued by the district to build roads and sewer upgrades necessary to accommodate the new structure.
The stadium deal comes after efforts by Cooke and Gov. L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia to get a new stadium built in Alexandria, Va., were thwarted this summer by the General Assembly and neighborhood opposition to the plan.