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Public Statements

Continuity in Representation Act of 2004

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Location: Washington, DC


CONTINUITY IN REPRESENTATION ACT OF 2004 -- (House of Representatives - April 22, 2004)

Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I call up House Resolution 602 and ask for its immediate consideration.

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Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, I have concerns and reservations about this bill-but I will vote for it.

I will vote for it because I think we need to recognize and respond to the risk that a terrorist attack or some similar event might kill or disable enough of our colleagues that it would be impossible for the House of Representatives to play its vital role in our constitutional government. And this bill does take a first step in addressing this problem.

However, I think it would have been better for the House to have had more time to fully debate the measure, and that it should have been taken up under a less-restrictive procedure that would have allowed consideration of more amendments.

Elections are central to our political system. They are essential to assure that our government is based on the will and the preferences of the American people. But the conduct of elections can be as difficult as it is important-ask any State official with responsibility in this area. So, we need to proceed carefully and thoughtfully when we legislate on this subject-more carefully and with more opportunity for considering revisions than was permitted under the procedures established by the Republican leadership for today's debate.

As that debate made clear, some of our colleagues-including some for whom I have the highest respect-think it would be better to go further than this bill, or any simple statutory change, can go. They would prefer to address the problem through a constitutional amendment.

While I am very reluctant to consider changing the Constitution, I do think that on this subject, the possibility of a constitutional amendment should not be ruled out. However, in the meantime I think we need to do what can be done short of such a fundamental change. That is what this bill does, and that is why I will vote for it.

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