I was just reading that Representative Gifford is going to be heading to a rehab facility in Texas at some point in the future. I got curious as to what congressional rules would apply to her seat because of her absence. Answer, there are no rules requiring that a vacancy be declared. The only comparable situation is Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.). After having brain surgery four years ago, he missed nine months' worth of votes before returning.
This means that a sitting congress person who is incapacitated for an extended period of time will simply remain seated, although not present. Obviously declaring a vacancy and therefore forcing a special election could be rewarding an assasination attempt. However what about the people who voted for her or specifically the Democrat voter. Shouldn't they be represented? If a seat isn't temporarily filled couldn't the absence of her vote hurt the caucus? Your thoughts?
http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q … iVxIFmUdew
That is a disturbingly, interesting fact. It is conceivable that legislation could be passed or defeated simply by removing enough of the opposition from the floor. I agree that it's a disturbing scenario to consider.
For those on the right, please notice that I did not make any accusations about the repubs or tea partiers. I did not make any reference to Sarah Palin, and no mention was made of Glenn Beck and the Faux News Network. At no point did I suggest that a plan like this was a perfect fit for the mentally unstable who enjoy a cup of tea now and then.
It is something to consider. Some say that Ronald Reagan was medicaly unfit during his last term. In the case of the President we have a Vice President. However there is no direct replacement for Congress. Example: Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) made comments on the house floor that he was afraid the U.S. Territory of Guam is going to "tip over and capsize" due to overpopulation. Those comments are disturbing. How could a sitting congressman think such a thing? Well if you dig deeper you find that this man has some medical issues.
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