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House passes 'doomsday' bill to allow for filling of mass legislative vacancies

[JURIST] More than three years after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the US House of Representatives Thursday passed a bill creating a blueprint for filling legislative vacancies should a situation like a terror strike against the Capitol arise which leaves more than 100 seats open at one time. Under the Continuity in Representation Act of 2005 [PDF], states would have 49 days to hold special elections to fill the legislative void, adding four days to the limits proposed by similar legislation passed by the House last year but failed in the Senate. Last year, the House rejected a constitutional amendment allowing emergency vacancies to be replaced by appointment in order to keep Congress running smoothly during such a crisis, but it did so grounds that the House must retain its character as a directly-elected body reflecting the popular will. The chief opponent of the amendment, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) [official profile] sponsored the so-called "doomsday bill." AP has more.

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