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Feingold to offer constitutional amendment

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Feingold to offer constitutional amendment
Sen. Russell Feingold, D-WI, speaks during the meeting of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on the Crisis in Tibet on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 23, 2008. (UPI Photo/Patrick D. McDermott) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., says he will propose a constitutional amendment requiring a special election when a U.S. Senate seat becomes vacant.

In a statement released by his office Sunday, Feingold said he would propose ending the practice of governors choosing successors to U.S. senators who do not complete their terms. Feingold said the proposal was motivated by the uncertainty surrounding the naming of successors to President Barack Obama, who resigned his Illinois U.S. Senate seat, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who left her U.S. Senate seat from New York to join the Obama administration.

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"The controversies surrounding some of the recent gubernatorial appointments to vacant Senate seats make it painfully clear that such appointments are an anachronism that must end," Feingold said. "In 1913, the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution gave the citizens of this country the power to finally elect their senators. They should have the same power in the case of unexpected midterm vacancies, so that the Senate is as responsive as possible to the will of the people."

Feingold, the chairman of the Senate Constitution Subcommittee, said he would introduce a constitutional amendment this week and schedule a hearing on the matter soon.

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