RealNews

Amendment to Be Recommended on Continuity of Congress

Panel to Report on Keeping Legislative Branch Functioning If Terrorism Were to Incapacitate Capital. Congress should pass a constitutional amendment directing lawmakers to ensure that the legislative branch can survive a catastrophic terrorist attack or natural disaster, a special panel will recommend next month. The Continuity of Government Commission, a joint project of the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution, spent nine months studying how Congress might carry on if many of its members were killed or incapacitated in an attack on Washington. The bipartisan panel of former government officials and scholars wrestled with such sensitive questions as: How do you quickly replace deceased House members whose seats constitutionally must be filled through time-consuming special elections? What do you do about incapacitated senators, who can be replaced by gubernatorial appointment if they are killed but not if they are merely injured? And where would Congress convene if Washington were uninhabitable? Could lawmakers conduct business by teleconference? The constitutional amendment would authorize Congress to enact legislation to address such questions. Three-fourths of the states would have to ratify the amendment. Full Story

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