Delegate (United States Congress)

Delegate (United States Congress)

Delegate (United States Congress)

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A delegate to Congress is a non-voting member of the United States House of Representatives who is elected from a U.S. territory and from Washington, D.C. to a two-year term. While unable to vote in the full House, a non-voting delegate may vote in a House committee of which the delegate is a member. The positions are now more permanent, 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 committee shall be provided by the Rules of the House." Hence, if the delegate system or the individuals serving as delegates were to pose a threat to the institution of the House, the House majority could, without consulting the Senate or the President, discipline or weaken the delegates.

Delegates serve exclusively in the House of Representatives—the Senate does not include any counterpart official from U.S. areas that do not possess statehood status. The non-voting delegates and the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico are subject to office-holding limits, i.e., they can hold no other federal office simultaneously. They receive compensation, benefits, and franking privileges (the ability to send outgoing U.S. Mail without a stamp) similar to full House members (, ). Their travel account is limited to the equivalent of four round-trip flights per year per delegate ().

Early history


In 1790, the state of North Carolina, having recently ratified...
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