Congress 2004 Commission Act (HR 506) is a bill sponsored by Representative
Alcee Hastings (D – FL), which would create a commission to analyze
both the size of Congress and the method representatives are
elected. The bill was introduced in the 105th Congress as
HR 187 and re-introduced on February 7, 2001 in the 107th
Congress. HR 506 specifically cites proportional representation and
cumulative voting as methods that should be examined.
Commentaries and more information on the U.S. House
- Matthew Cossolotto's commentary in
- Matthew Cossolotto's commentary in The Hartford Courant
- Rob Richie's letters to the
editor from the New York Times & Washington
- George F. Will column
- Robert Novak column
- Paul Jacob's "Common Sense" column
- Chart on States and U.S. House
In addition the
Center has the recent letter by
Congressman Hastings to his colleagues concerning house size.
Congress 2004 Commission Act
appears below. As with any piece of Congressional legisation,
it can be accessed on line at Thomas. Just enter "hr 506" under "Bill
Number" and be sure to search the 107th Congress.
(Introduced in the
HR 506 IH
To establish a commission to make recommendations on the
appropriate size of membership of the House of Representatives and
the method by which Representatives are elected.
IN THE HOUSE OF
February 7, 2001
Mr. HASTINGS of Florida introduced the following bill; which was
referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
To establish a
commission to make recommendations on the appropriate size of
membership of the House of Representatives and the method by which
Representatives are elected.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Congress 2004 Commission
SEC. 2. ESTABLISHMENT.
There is established a commission to be known as the `Congress
2004 Commission' (hereafter in this Act referred to as the
SEC. 3. DUTIES OF COMMISSION.
(1) analyze the current size of the membership of the House
of Representatives considering the requirement for the
institution to carry out its responsibilities in an effective
manner under the challenges of the new century;
(2) examine alternatives to the current method by which
Representatives are elected (including cumulative voting and
proportional representation) to determine if such alternatives
would make the House of Representatives a more representative
(3) provide consideration to the continuing dissolution of
adherence to the platforms and candidates of the Nation's two
major political parties as well as to the reduction in electoral
participation by the citizenry;
(4) consider whether alternative methods of electing House
Members might include more citizens in the electoral
(5) to the extent necessary, formulate proposals for changes
in the size of the membership of, and the method of electing
Representatives to, the House of Representatives; and
(6) not later than the end of the One Hundred Seventh
Congress, submit to the President and the Congress a report of
the work of the Commission, together with a draft of legislation
(including technical and conforming provisions) to implement the
proposals referred to in paragraph (5).
SEC. 4. MEMBERSHIP.
(a) NUMBER AND APPOINTMENT- The Commission shall be composed
of 15 members as follows:
(1) Two members appointed by the President.
(2) Ten members appointed by the House of Representatives,
in the manner prescribed by the House of Representatives.
(3) Three members appointed by the Senate, in the manner
prescribed by the Senate.
(b) QUALIFICATIONS- In making appointments under this section,
the appointing authorities shall make a special effort to appoint
individuals who are particularly qualified to perform the
functions of the Commission, by reason of either practical
experience or academic expertise in politics or government.
(c) TERMS AND VACANCIES- Each member shall be appointed for
the life of the Commission. A vacancy in the Commission shall be
filled in the manner in which the original appointment was
(d) PAY AND TRAVEL- Each member of the Commission, other than
a full-time officer or employee of the United States--
(1) shall be paid the daily equivalent of the annual rate of
basic pay payable for level V of the Executive Schedule for each
day (including travel time) during which the member is engaged
in the actual performance of duties vested in the Commission;
(2) shall receive travel expenses, including per diem in
lieu of subsistence, in accordance with sections 5702 and 5703
of title 5, United States Code.
(e) QUORUM- Eight members of the Commission shall constitute a
quorum, but a lesser number may hold hearings.
(f) CHAIRMAN- The Chairman of the Commission shall be elected
by the members.
(g) MEETINGS- The Commission shall meet at the call of the
Chairman or a majority of its members.
SEC. 5. STAFF.
(a) IN GENERAL- With the approval of the Commission, the
Chairman may appoint and fix the pay of not more than six
individuals for the staff of the Commission. Such individuals may
be appointed without regard to the provisions of title 5, United
States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service,
and may be paid without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and
subchapter III of chapter 53 of that title relating to
classification and General Schedule pay rates, except that an
individual so appointed may not receive pay in excess of the
maximum annual rate of basic pay payable for grade GS-15 of the
General Schedule under section 5332 of title 5, United States
(b) EXPERTS AND CONSULTANTS- With the approval of the
Commission, the Chairman may procure temporary and intermittent
services in the manner prescribed in section 3109(b) of title 5,
United States Code, but at rates for individuals not to exceed the
daily equivalent of the maximum annual rate of basic pay payable
for grade GS-15 of the General Schedule under section 5332 of
title 5, United States Code.
(c) STAFF OF FEDERAL AGENCIES- Upon request of the Commission,
the head of any Federal department or agency may detail, on a
reimbursable basis, any of the personnel of that department or
agency to the Commission to assist it in carrying out its duties
under this Act.
SEC. 6. POWERS OF COMMISSION.
(a) HEARINGS- The Commission may, for the purpose of carrying
out this Act, hold hearings, sit and act at times and places, take
testimony, and receive evidence as the Commission considers
(b) MEMBERS AND AGENTS- Any member or agent of the Commission
may, if authorized by the Commission, take any action which the
Commission is authorized to take by this section.
(c) MAILS- The Commission may use the United States mails in
the same manner and under the same conditions as departments and
agencies of the United States.
(d) ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT SERVICES- Upon the request of the
Commission, the Administrator of General Services shall provide to
the Commission, on a reimbursable basis, the administrative
support services necessary for the Commission to carry out its
responsibilities under this Act.
SEC. 7. TERMINATION.
The Commission shall cease to exist on the last day of the
month in which its report is submitted under section 3.