Congress took a sensible ego trip. Sometimes, it *is* indispensable.
House OKs Speedy Elections if Attacked:
Apr 22, 4:33 PM (ET)
By JIM ABRAMS
WASHINGTON (AP) – Fearing that terrorists might target Congress, the House on Thursday approved a bill to set up speedy special elections if 100 or more of its members are killed.
The House, in a 306-97 vote, put aside for now the larger issue of whether the Constitution should be amended to allow for temporary appointments in the event that an attack caused mass fatalities among lawmakers.
The House, said Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., sponsor of the elections bill and a foe of appointments, “is rooted in democratic principles and those principles must be preserved at all costs.”
Thursday’s vote came two and a half years after the Sept. 11 attacks and the crash in Pennsylvania of United Flight 93, a plane that many believe was destined for the U.S. Capitol.
“Those passengers gave their lives to give us a second chance,” said Rep. Brian Baird, D-Wash., a supporter of the broader constitutional approach. “Eternal shame on us if we do not take action” to protect Congress’ survival after a possible attack.
The measure would require special elections within 45 days of the House speaker confirming that a catastrophic event had left at last 100 of the 435 seats vacant. Language was added to ensure that military personnel stationed overseas would have their voting rights protected.
My only question is: Why didn’t they think of this during the 80’s? Better late than never, I suppose.