From remarks by Rep. Mary RoseOakar (D-Ohio) before the House voted to revise the Hatch Act on Nov. 17:

When I came to Congress 11 years ago, one of the things on the agenda was the Hatch Act, and I was frankly astounded to learn of the prohibition on federal employees and postal workers relative to their participation in our country's political process.

We know we live in the greatest country in the world. It is the freest country in the world. One of the reasons it is so heralded as a democracy is that its citizens are allowed to participate fully in its democracy, and indeed, that certainly includes its political process.

It is amazing to me that 11 years have gone by and we have still not passed a repeal of what I think is one of the more insidious acts passed in the country -- that is the act that allowed for the lack of engagement in political processes of federal and government workers and letter carriers and postal workers as well.

If we believe that having the right to have grass-roots people elect our people is one of our hallmarks, then we ought to really support this bill.

I am frankly amazed at Common Cause not being for this kind of a bill because they want us to put a cap on what people are allowed to give to political campaigns in the form of political action committees. Yet, they do not apparently want all people in a grass-roots way to participate in the political process.

. . . I hope that we finally say to federal workers and to postal workers that, yes, they are American citizens in the fullest sense of the word, as well as everyone else.