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March 22nd, 2009 by Temple City Tribune
Congressman David Dreier (R-San Dimas, CA), House Rules Committee Ranking Republican, was joined today by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) in introducing a constitutional amendment that calls for the direct election of all U.S. Senators, including those filling out-of-cycle vacancies. The amendment has also been introduced in the Senate by Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI), John McCain (R-AZ), and Mark Begich (D-AK). Original co-sponsors in the House are House Judiciary Committee Ranking Republican Lamar Smith (R-TX), House Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee Ranking Republican Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Congressman Pedro R. Pierluisi (D-PR).
“Recent events surrounding open seats in the United States Senate have made clear the system of governor-appointed replacements is antiquated and runs contrary to the spirit of transparency the American people deserve and expect,” Dreier said. “While good people may be appointed to these offices, the process is not always above reproach. We should remove the potential for a tainted process once and for all and put the choice where it belongs, in the hands of the American people.”
He continued, “I thank Senator Feingold for bringing this amendment forward, and my House colleagues for their willingness to work together in a bipartisan way on this critical issue. Working together, we can bring full circle the work of the reformers who authored the seventeenth amendment a century ago.”
The constitutional amendment does not dictate the terms by which elections must be held, simply stating that any member of the U.S. Senate must be elected by the people of their state. The decisions about how elections should be conducted are left to the state.