Six years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Congress still does not have a plan to keep the House and Senate running if a large number of lawmakers are killed in a similar attack.
But two legislators – Sen. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and Rep. Brian Baird, D-Wash. – have introduced constitutional amendments to address the problem.
“To deny that terrorists would like to kill a large number of members of Congress is foolhardy, and to believe they cannot do it is unrealistic, and to not take action to deal with that is irresponsible,” Baird told Washington, D.C.-based Roll Call.
Baird’s amendment calls for House and Senate members to provide a list of three alternative members who could take over if they are unable to serve. It would take effect only if a “significant number” of members died, were incapacitated or disappeared after an attack.
Rohrabacher’s plan would require Representatives and Senators to run with an alternate candidate, who would take over for any dead, incapacitated or expelled member.
The current practice is to wait for a special election or for an incapacitated member to recover, which could leave some states or districts temporarily without representation.
It’s not clear if either of these bills will move forward, according to Roll Call. A bill that addressed the presidential line of succession following an attack was introduced earlier this year, but it has still not moved out of the House Judiciary Committee.
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