House of Representatives? Hardly.
May 21, 2001

The following “Dear Colleague” letter was sent by the office of Rep. Alcee Hastings to other Members of the U.S. House of Representatatives.

Dear Colleague:

     In the past 90 years, the U.S. has become the second most underrepresented democracy in the entire world, but the size of the House of Representatives has remained the same.  In the past 90 years, U.S. population has more than tripled, but the size of the House of Representatives has remained the same.  In the past 90 years, four states have joined the Union, but the size of the House of Representatives has remained the same.  In fact, in the past 90 years, Congress has addressed permanently increasing the size of the House of Representatives only once.
British House of Commons

659 Members 

1 Member per 90,288 people

Canadian House of Commons

301 Members

1 Member per 103,924 people

South Africa National Assembly

400 Members

1 Member per 108,553 people
German Bundestag

669 Members

1 Member per 123,752 people
Austrailia House of Representatives

148 Members

1 Member per 129,521 people
Japan Shugi-in

500 Members

1 Member per 253,100 people
Russia State Duma

450 Members

1 Member per 324,447 people
Nigeria House of Representatives

360 Members

1 Member per 342,605 people
Brazil Camara dos Deputados

513 Members

1 Member per 467,190 people
U.S. House of Representatives

435 Members

1 Member per 645,632 people
Indian Lok Sabha

552 Members

1 Member per 1,836,963 people

     While the U.S. claims the title “Leader of the Free World,” after India, it is the least representative democracy in the world!  If you don’t believe me, just look at how the U.S. House of Representatives compares to other democratic country’s representative bodies:

     The effect that an increase in the size of the House of Representatives will have on the American political system is obvious.  Increasing the size of the House will result in a reduced amount of campaign spending, smaller Congressional districts, more personal interaction between Members of Congress and their constituents, and most importantly, better representation for the American people.

     On February 23, 2001, I introduced H.R. 506, a resolution to create a commission to study the size of the House of Representatives and the method by which representatives are chosen.  I invite you to become a cosponsor of this essential piece of legislation aimed at putting the power back into the hands of the people.  If you would like to become a cosponsor or have any questions, please contact me or David Goldenberg on my staff at 5-1313.


Alcee L. Hastings
Member of Congress

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