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I'm coming around on the idea of increasing the size of the house, article inside.


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I had been skeptical because previously any argument I saw seemed to be more of an argument for increased gridlock rather than a genuine fix for problems but this article is compelling, especially the last paragraph.

 

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/democracy-rigged-debate-over-senate-representation-ignores-more-plausible-reform-ncna920286

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I was just thinking about this very topic last night.  I think this would be one of the easiest reforms we could make; one that doesn't require an amendment to accomplish.  I would go further than what the article advocates for though.  Instead of 1 representative for every 500,000 residents, it should be 1 for every 200,000 residents.  Yes, this would vastly increase the size of the house to the point where they wouldn't be able to physically fit in the House chamber in the Capitol building, but so what?  We are nearly in the 3 decade of the 21st century.  We have the technology to let each congressperson conduct their duties from the home offices in their districts.  The only reason they should have to go to Washington is to be sworn in, or other special functions.  

 

Benefits I see:

  • A more representative house
  • Each rep is literally closer to their constituents 
  • A more fair Electoral College
  • Increases the chances of third party candidates gaining traction at the federal level
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53 minutes ago, mclumber1 said:

I was just thinking about this very topic last night.  I think this would be one of the easiest reforms we could make; one that doesn't require an amendment to accomplish.  I would go further than what the article advocates for though.  Instead of 1 representative for every 500,000 residents, it should be 1 for every 200,000 residents.  Yes, this would vastly increase the size of the house to the point where they wouldn't be able to physically fit in the House chamber in the Capitol building, but so what?  We are nearly in the 3 decade of the 21st century.  We have the technology to let each congressperson conduct their duties from the home offices in their districts.  The only reason they should have to go to Washington is to be sworn in, or other special functions.  

 

Benefits I see:

  • A more representative house
  • Each rep is literally closer to their constituents 
  • A more fair Electoral College
  • Increases the chances of third party candidates gaining traction at the federal level

They just need to show up for voting.

 

speeches on the house floor are already regulated to keep the flow of business going. The only real issue is committees and their chambers. But expanding a couple dozen rooms (or moving them into adjacent buildings) is not that big a deal, and congressional office buildings would need to be built to accommodate the extra Congress critters and staff.

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5 minutes ago, b_m_b_m_b_m said:

They just need to show up for voting.

 

speeches on the house floor are already regulated to keep the flow of business going. The only real issue is committees and their chambers. But expanding a couple dozen rooms (or moving them into adjacent buildings) is not that big a deal, and congressional office buildings would need to be built to accommodate the extra Congress critters and staff.

 

I'd be fine with most "debate" and even committees being delegated to the Senate, honestly.  If/when a House Committee needs to meet, I don't think you even need them in the same room.  I've been able to have great, productive meetings via video conferencing for years and my work.  As long as there is an agenda and the chairperson can adequately control his/her committee members and those who are testifying, I don't think there would be an impediment. 

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That can work in business, but to congress persons who have an agenda and want to get on the news (even doubly so now that the field would be more crowded) this would give the chairperson more power than they already have. Given the makeup of the house that should be fine. They'd probably want to be present though if for nothing more than appearances.

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I like the idea of the House being a check on the Senate.  Right now, it sort of works the other way, with crazy legislation from the House being voted down by the Senate.  But if we have more reps who are more representative and responsive to their constituents, unpopular bills might have a harder time being passed by Congress as a whole. 

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