|GOP Loses House Seat to DEA|
The already slim Republican majority in the House will be at least temporarily reduced by one vote today, when Arkansas Republican Rep. Asa Hutchinson is sworn in as head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
The Senate confirmed President Bush's nomination of Hutchison to head the DEA on August 1.
Once Hutchison leaves the House, and until he is replaced in a special election, the GOP majority in the House will stand at 221-209, with 2 Independents and three seats vacant.
A special election to fill former Rep. Hutchinson's Arkansas 3rd Congressional District seat has been set for Nov. 20, 2001. [Proclamation of Special Election]
Representing Arkansas' 3rd Congressional District, Hutchinson, now 50, was serving his third term in the House. As a member of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, Hutchinson served as House trial manager during the Senate impeachment trial of former President Clinton. He will also be vacating his seats on the Select Intelligence and Ethics and Transportation and Infrastructure committees.
With Hutchinson's departure, three vacancies now exist in the House. The other two vacant seats are:
South Carolina - 2nd District - became vacant on August 17, 2001, due to the death of Rep. Floyd D. Spence. Announcement of a special election to replace Rep. Spence is pending.
Massachusetts - 9th District - became vacant on May 28, 2001, due to the death of Rep. John J. Moakley. Seat to be filled by a special election to be held on Oct. 16, 2001. [Special Election Calendar - Mass. Elections Division]
With the political party division so close in both chambers, President Bush has avoided removing Republicans from the House to fill appointed positions within his administration.
Democrats now control the Senate by a slim 50-49 majority, with former Republican Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont now serving as the Senate's only Independent.
While vacancies in the Senate can be filled immediately by the governor of the former Senator's state, the Constitution requires that Representatives be replaced by election.
"When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies." -- Article I, Section 2, Clause 4 of the U.S. Constitution
What happens while a congressional seat goes vacant? Are the people left un-represented? Find out by reading Filling Congressional Vacancies.
Congressional Balance of Power
Current vacancies in both House and Senate can always be found here.
Federalist Papers, 52-56 On the Legislative Branch
Want to learn what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they created the House and Senate?