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Poll: Should the US Increase the Size of the House of Representatives
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Should the US Increase the Size of the House of Representatives

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Old 07-19-2021, 12:02 AM
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Default It's Time to Increase the Size of the House of Representatives

To be honest, I don't really know...

The point about representatives actually representing too many "per" is valid...But it would break a "tradition" that's been around almost 100 years...

I did NOT enter any calculations if this would increase or decrease either party's numbers...That should be irrelevant to the discussion...

It's Time to Increase the Size of the House of Representatives

Quote:
As the U.S. Census Bureau releases data for redistricting next month, the initial state population tallies cost several states representation within the U.S. House of Representatives. The initial apportionment of the 435 seats based upon population led to reduced members for California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. However, it would be incorrect to say that these states lost representation due to a shrinking population; with the exception of Illinois and West Virginia, each of these states grew in population size. Rather, the decision by Congress to artificially cap the House at 435 members created a zero-sum environment where states only gain representation if they grow at a greater rate than their fellow states. The cap at 435 members itself is less a choice than a historical accident from the 1920s, and flies in the face of legislative chamber size in nearly every other industrialized representative-democracy in the world. America should follow the rest of the world and finally allow the House to grow with the nation’s population, thereby solving a long engrained obstacle to effective representation.

There is nothing sacred about the number 435 in regards to representation. The Constitution and ensuing amendments never established a hard ceiling on the size of the House. Article 1, Section 2 sets a starting ratio of one representative for every 30,000 people within a state, with at least one representative per state. Applying this original ratio to the modern day, the size of the House would be 10,000 members, which is clearly too large. But the Constitution does allow Congress to change the ratio of members to state populations following each census via reapportionment acts.

Our current cap arose from a historical accident of procrastination and gridlocked politics, which led to a hasty and ruinous compromise. Up until 1920, the House and Senate successfully passed a new apportionment act, without fail, every decade. In 1920, rural states frustrated with the increased pivot in representation towards urban areas — in combination with House members already attempting to minimize the number of seats added following every Census — led to gridlock on the issue. The gridlock froze representation in place at 435 members, as allocated in 1911, leading to great population discrepancies between and within states.

The failure to reapportion also led to the repeal of regulations on how to draw districts, which included that districts be compact, contiguous, and as equally populous as possible. While the tension between rural and urban representatives did not diminish over the 1920s, pressure to reapportion eventually led Congress to pass the Reapportionment Act of 1929. Progressives encouraged representatives to remove politics from the equation in apportionment under the new law, which automated the process by which the national government allocated representation to states, and capped the House at 435 members. The 1929 law also failed to reintroduce federal regulations on how to draw districts, leading to some of the greatest disparities in population equality and oddly shaped districts in U.S. history, which finally forced the Supreme Court to enter into the politics of redistricting around 30 years later.

Understanding the Apportionment Act of 1929 makes evident that there is no mathematical or well-founded politically principled reason for 435 members; it was largely an accident. Due to the freeze at 435 members, the average House district now represents over 760,000 people, which is set to increase to over 800,000 by 2030. Worse yet, House members effectively represent more constituents than every other major Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development country in the world. Pakistan ranks second to the U.S. at just under 600,000 people per district, and most other countries, such as the U.K., have well under 200,000 people. What distinguishes the U.S. relative to other OECD countries is that the size of its lower legislative chamber shares more similarities with competitive oligarchical/authoritarian nations such as Russia, China, Brazil and Pakistan, than actual representative democracies, such as Canada, the Netherlands, and Germany.
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Old 07-19-2021, 06:28 AM
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Default Re: It's Time to Increase the Size of the House of Representatives

Thanks for posting this. I've long felt that the house should grow in size with the population growth. However, there does need to be some limit on it's size. Obviously, 10,000 members would be completely unworkable, but to cap it at 435 appears to be ridiculous as well. As it stands, in most districts that rep is so isolated from the constituents that we are nothing more than a statistic to them.
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Old 07-19-2021, 06:44 AM
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Default Re: It's Time to Increase the Size of the House of Representatives

Don't fix what ain't broke.
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Old 07-19-2021, 06:57 AM
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Default Re: It's Time to Increase the Size of the House of Representatives

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Originally Posted by GetAClue View Post
Thanks for posting this. I've long felt that the house should grow in size with the population growth. However, there does need to be some limit on it's size. Obviously, 10,000 members would be completely unworkable, but to cap it at 435 appears to be ridiculous as well. As it stands, in most districts that rep is so isolated from the constituents that we are nothing more than a statistic to them.

435 appears to be unworkable.
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Old 07-19-2021, 07:15 AM
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Default Re: It's Time to Increase the Size of the House of Representatives

I'm sure if it looks to benefit Democrats the politicians on that side will want it increased the same as Republicans if it is determined they will get the windfall.
I'm with redd in that I don't know.
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Old 07-19-2021, 08:20 AM
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Default Re: It's Time to Increase the Size of the House of Representatives

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Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
Don't fix what ain't broke.
What he said!!!

However, Congress is broken. I just don't think sending more monkeys to the fray is a solution.

Definition of a Congress,,,,,?
A cluster of monkeys. Look it up.
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Old 07-19-2021, 08:56 AM
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Default Re: It's Time to Increase the Size of the House of Representatives

Choosing population as the dynamic for this House packing scheme reveals this proposals partisan nature. Urban areas with their dense populations will ride roughshod over rural flyover country.

When they choose to obey it the Constitution requires spend bills originate in the House. With a House bloated by population size what chance do rural projects like border security have against urban priorities like CRT indoctrination? None. But wait, packing the House means packing the electoral college as each state's delegation is determined by the number of representatives plus 2 for Senate seats giving urban states a stranglehold on the Presidency as well.

One political party has proposed packing the SCOTUS and the Senate as well as determining the Presidency by popular vote. Expanding the House based on population is just another method of obtaining the latter. It's no surprise the same political party that dominates the urban population centers now wants to pack the House, purely nonpartisan in motivation of course.
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Old 07-19-2021, 12:54 PM
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Default Re: It's Time to Increase the Size of the House of Representatives

I’d expand the Senate first. Add 50 new Senators and allocate them to the largest states. The days where people in Wyoming and Texas deserve equal representation in the Senate are long over.
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Old 07-19-2021, 01:39 PM
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Default Re: It's Time to Increase the Size of the House of Representatives

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Originally Posted by Constant_Slothrop View Post
I’d expand the Senate first. Add 50 new Senators and allocate them to the largest states. The days where people in Wyoming and Texas deserve equal representation in the Senate are long over.
Do you have any idea how the Senate works? And why?
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Old 07-19-2021, 02:47 PM
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Default Re: It's Time to Increase the Size of the House of Representatives

for one point of context
In 1800 the population of the nation was less than
6 million people.
In 1900 the population of the nation was less than
20 million

in contrast, 2020 New York City had over 8 million people.

To say that the Federal Gov't is LESS than representative of it's people than the framers imagined it might be is a huge understatement.

I'm not sure that enlarging the House would make much difference.
My own persoanl RADICAL thought is that we REDUCE the powers of the Federal Gov't and Revert most of the powers back to the states. And let the State and local legislators work out the Lion share of legislative issues. Rather than pretending that 600x people visiting D.C. can make rules for the whole nation of 300+ million living as far a field as Alaska, Hawaii, Peurto Rico and even Guam. Let regional meetings deal with things like water issues.
Let the Feds deal with Boarder issues, foreign policy/trade, and the NEEDED monopoly busting and illegal interstate crimes... and make sure the military is funded.
I suspect there's more they could do but why?
so they can represent the wall St and big pharma and big oil and the military industrial complex? that's all they seem to do now.
it's revealed every 4 years who the U.S. Reps and Senate REALLY represent. and it ain't the people typing notes on this website.
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