Battle of Hastings
May 24, 2001
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).
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,"