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Roll Call

 

The Battle of Hastings

By Amy Keller
May 24, 2001

Despite the chaos that can ensue when 435 individuals with divergent viewpoints get together, at least one Member of the House, Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), would like to see the chamber expand its membership. The five-term Congressman recently sent around a letter to his colleagues, urging them to support his bill, H.R. 506, which would create a commission to study the size of the House of Representatives and the method by which Members of Congress are chosen. Hastings notes that in the past 90 years the U.S. population has more than tripled, but the size of the House of Representatives has remained the same. The House grew rapidly in the second half of the 19th century, but the last permanent increase in the chamber came in 1912, after the admission of New Mexico and Arizona, when it swelled to 435 Members (when Alaska and Hawaii were admitted in 1959, the House briefly boosted that number to 437, but it reverted to 435 after the 1960 census).

"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," Hastings wrote.

 

 
 
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