Keep All Representatives Elected
PAUL. Mr. Speaker, the privately funded and privately constituted “Continuity
of Government Commission” has recently proposed that, for the first time in
our nation's history, we should allow the appointment of members of the U.S.
House of Representatives. Not only does this proposal fail to comport with the
intention of the founders of this nation, but even worse, it advocates a
solution that has been repeatedly rejected by this body.
report of this so-called “Commission” makes clear that while the Senate has,
from time to time, voted to pass constitutional amendments allowing for the
appointment of House members, this body has always jealously guarded its status
as “the people's House” by failing to pass such amendments. A brief history
review may be in order at this point. First, our Nation has been under attack
from foreign powers in the past, such as in its nascent years when the British
were constantly “coming” In our own century, we faced an attack on Pearl
Harbor as well as the very real threat of nuclear annihilation. Now, because we
have learned that our Capitol was a potential target in a terror plot, there is
an outcry from some corners regarding our vulnerability. Our government leaders
are no more vulnerable today to mass extinction than they were 20 years ago. Our
top-flight military makes us, in many ways, less vulnerable to attack and the
assassination of our leaders than we were 200 years ago.
if we were to sustain such a devastating attack, the nightmare scenario painted
in the first report of the “commission” is not only far-fetched, but also
admits of a plethora of potential solutions already existent in our current
constitutional structure. Though the report endeavors to cast doubt on the
legitimacy of those structures, it is unsuccessful. Moreover, what could be more
offensive to our republican form of government and of more questionable
legitimacy, than to have a slew of un-elected “representatives” outvote
elected people on the floor of our U.S. House?
face it: we can scare people and doom-say anytime we wish, but it would only be
in the case of a near-complete annihilation that our government would fail to
function. In such an instance there is no “system'' that will preserve our
government. On the other hand, if we surrender the right to elect people to the
U.S. House of Representatives under any circumstances, we will be on a slippery
slope away from the few remaining vestiges and most precious principles of the
government left to us by our founders.
the event that this “proposal” gets more serious and is given long-term
attention, I will place in the record more detailed statements defending the
notion of an all-elected House of Representatives, and explaining the fallacies
and illogic found in this report. For now Mr. Speaker, I simply wish to go on
record as among those who would fight to the last to preserve the principle of a
House of Representatives consisting entirely of members elected by the people.