CONTINUITY IN REPRESENTATION ACT OF 2004 -- (House of Representatives - April 22, 2004)
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Mr. NEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Smith).
Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the chairman's yielding me this time.
I support the Continuity In Representation Act of 2004. This legislation preserves the right of the people of the United States to elect their own representatives, even after a deadly attack. One of the cornerstones of our Constitution is the right of the people to govern themselves through elected representation. This right should be upheld and, in fact, continued.
H.R. 2844 provides for the expedited special election of new Members of Congress if more than 100 seats are vacant. This is designed to address a situation in which our country is attacked and significant numbers of Members of Congress are killed.
Mr. Chairman, in the wake of such an attack on our country, Americans need to be assured that their government is legitimate, and citizens need to feel that actions undertaken by Congress at a time of disaster or war are also legitimate. By allowing for the election of Representatives rather than for their appointment, Americans can be reassured that our government is continuing to function in a truly representative fashion.
Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner) for moving legislation that guarantees our government would survive. It has been over 2 years since September 11. This issue must be addressed today in a democratic fashion.