Langevin Seeks Continuity of Congressional Business in Event of Attack or Natural Disaster

Mar 1, 2002
(Washington, D.C.)–As the President and his administration press forward with a Continuity of Operations Plan, a measure to ensure the continuity of government should a disaster occur in our nation’s capital, Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) again pushed for his own plan for continuity of congressional business.  House Administration Chairman Bob Ney (R-OH) has assured Langevin that hearings will be held on the issue.

 Langevin has drafted legislation entitled the “Ensuring Congressional Security and Continuity Act” which calls for the investigation of alternatives to conducting Congressional business in and around the United States Capitol.

 “While the United States must take every threat seriously, we cannot allow terrorism or even natural disasters to prevent the effective operation of the nation’s highest lawmaking body,” said Congressman Langevin.  “We have learned many lessons as a result of the recent attacks on our nation.  To ensure that our citizens did not lose their lives in vain, we must take the necessary steps to prepare for future threats and ensure that government can continue to conduct its business.”

"We need to prepare ourselves to face additional catastrophes in whatever form they come," said House Administration Chairman Congressman Bob Ney.  "But despite any emergency, we know the people's business must never cease.  The work of Congress will continue."

 Specifically, the legislation would authorize a comprehensive study on the feasibility of implementing a secure off-site voting and communication system for Members of Congress if events force the legislative branch of government to meet without being at a single location.  The Ensuring Congressional Security and Continuity Act also requires an assessment of how Congress can ensure business continuity in circumstances where members and their staffs cannot access their offices in Washington, D.C.

 “We must not allow aggression against our nation to prevent Congress from serving the people of the United States,” added Langevin.  “We must prepare for what was once the unimaginable and take the proper steps to ensure that Congress will function regardless of any unforeseen circumstance.”

 To further his efforts and understanding on this topic, Congressman Langevin hosted a members-only briefing on November 14th with his colleague Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA) on what could be done to ensure government continues to function in times of national crisis.