Transitioning to a larger House

Discuss how we can hasten progress towards enlarging representation. There are two primary components to this: 1) educating others in order to gain the public support necessary; and, 2) ensuring implementation via a constitutional amendment.
Forum rules
This forum is only for discussion related to hastening progress towards enlarging representation. Unrelated discussion threads will be moved or deleted.

Transitioning to a larger House

Postby JEQuidam » Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:53 pm

Pseudolus, I was trying to move that last thread but I accidently deleted it. I'm sorry! It just so happens that I didn't lose my reply to your last posting that I was working on (below). Of course, feel free to re-post any of your points. Again, my apologies. (I'm still on a learning curve with this forum.)

Pseudolus wrote: ...jumping immediately from 435 to 6000 doesn't make sense
I understand your concerns and respect your views, but I'm optimistic that we can make such a transition relatively quickly.

You ask how they will "successfully debate and negotiate bills once there are so many representatives". You may not be aware of this, but that debate and negotiation currently takes place in committee rooms, back rooms, hallways and elsewhere. There is no longer a deliberative process of the larger body (and if you don't believe me, I can recommend several books for you to read).

In a much larger federal House, legislation will be proposed out of committee – just as it is today. And 6,000 Representatives can vote up or down on such legislation - just as they do today. If tens of millions of California's voters can vote on propositions (sort of like an ad hoc national assembly), so can a few thousand Representatives. And, as explained in the pamphlet, there is no reason they have to be in DC to cast their vote. So it will be necessary to change a few rules, but that happens when the status quo is overthrown.

I realize that some will want to discuss transition concepts. That is a fair topic but, at this time, I'm just not very interested in it.

Pseudolus wrote: ...and I doubt highly any House would reduce their power and effectiveness in such a dramatic way.
I do not have any hope they will be willing to increase their numbers at all, except perhaps to an inconsequential extent. This change will be forced upon them either by a victory in the court (in order to achieve one person one vote), or by an amendment proposed out of an Article V convention.
User avatar
JEQuidam    
 
Posts: 193
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:45 pm
Location: Dunwoody, Georgia
Stance: Pro-Enlargement

Re: Transitioning to a larger House

Postby Pseudolus » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:03 am

JEQuidam wrote:Pseudolus, I was trying to move that last thread but I accidently deleted it. I'm sorry! It just so happens that I didn't lose my reply to your last posting that I was working on (below). Of course, feel free to re-post any of your points. Again, my apologies. (I'm still on a learning curve with this forum.)

Mistakes happen. We'll just move forward in the conversation and I'm sure the old thoughts will eventually swing back around.

JEQuidam wrote:
Pseudolus wrote: ...jumping immediately from 435 to 6000 doesn't make sense
I understand your concerns and respect your views, but I'm optimistic that we can make such a transition relatively quickly.

Your optimism isn't going to sell such a radical plan to millions of Americans. We need clear cut answers to very real concerns.

JEQuidam wrote:You ask how they will "successfully debate and negotiate bills once there are so many representatives". You may not be aware of this, but that debate and negotiation currently takes place in committee rooms, back rooms, hallways and elsewhere. There is no longer a deliberative process of the larger body (and if you don't believe me, I can recommend several books for you to read).

So you're basically saying that if a Representative doesn't have legislative pull or clout or likability outside of the debate room, then his/her ideas will never be brought to the table since open public debate will become a thing of the past. That sounds like a really great way of ignoring ideas that might seem crazy at first glance. You know the kind of ideas I'm talking about. Crazy sounding ideas that might otherwise actually have merit. Ideas--and this sounds really crazy, I know--but ideas like: increasing the size of the House of Representatives by 1380% in a single year from 435 members to 6000.

In fact, why don't we attempt to set a great example for how the new House would work by convincing a lone Representative (someone who makes clear arguments on the House floor, but is generally personally ignored when not in that venue) to propose "Article the First" legislation; but the catch is, he must get the Article passed into law without any debate on the legislative floor. Sound effective? Not at all!

Seriously, providing opportunities for all voices at the table to be heard is key to having a healthy House. If our Founders had been forced to debate the merits of a radical idea outside the Continental Congress, the world would not have the Declaration of Independence. As the supporters of a larger House, we must either: a) figure out how to solve the inevitable growing pains of such an increase, or b) include a method for gradual growth so that the House will naturally figure out its own solutions.

JEQuidam wrote:I realize that some will want to discuss transition concepts. That is a fair topic but, at this time, I'm just not very interested in it.

Get interested in it. And fast. If ever we convince the powers that be to expand their numbers, the first question will be: to what size? Most will suggest small changes. But if someone has the political cojones to propose something as radical as a 1380% increase and someone else has the audacity to take the suggestion seriously, then the next question will be: how would that work? And when the response back is simply a symphony of crickets, then the idea will never be brought up again.

Thirty-Thousand.org must answer the complaints of its critics who claim such an increase would result in ineffectual governance where the House accomplishes nearly nothing.
Pseudolus    
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:34 am
Location: New York, NY and New Orleans, LA
Stance: Pro-Enlargement

Re: Transitioning to a larger House

Postby JEQuidam » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:57 pm

Pseudolus wrote: So you're basically saying that if a Representative doesn't have legislative pull or clout or likability outside of the debate room, then his/her ideas will never be brought to the table since open public debate will become a thing of the past.
I hope you realize that is not what I’m saying. What I asserted was that a larger House of Representatives will operate fundamentally the same way it does today: Bills will be generated by committees to be voted upon by the larger body. The larger body will determine who is on those committees.

By the way, I don’t measure the quality of a legislature by how many bills it passes. If one legislature passes ten times as many bills as another, I don't perceive the more profligate legislature as the superior one. As Melancton Smith said in 1788: “It was rare that the people were oppressed by a government’s not doing; and little danger to liberty could flow from that source.” Related quotes:
“There is good news from Washington today. The Congress is deadlocked and can’t act.” ― Will Rogers
“No matter how bad something is, Congress can make it worse.” – Congressman Thaddeus McCotter

I like to ask people: when was the last time you went out and celebrated a law passed by Congress?

Forgive me my “optimism”, but I have faith that a federal House comprised of several thousand of my fellow citizens will effectively manage to pass that legislation which is truly essential to the continued viability and success of our Republic.

Pseudolus wrote: Thirty-Thousand.org must answer the complaints of its critics who claim such an increase would result in ineffectual governance where the House accomplishes nearly nothing.
Some of those arguments have been made, but they do need to be bolstered and better assembled. Here's an example of one such argument: “Freedom and Legislative District Sizes”.

Jeffrey, I really appreciate your enthusiasm for representational enlargement and encourage you to further investigate this area of inquiry (i.e., the considerations related to a rapidly growing legislative body). That would certainly be a helpful endeavor.
User avatar
JEQuidam    
 
Posts: 193
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:45 pm
Location: Dunwoody, Georgia
Stance: Pro-Enlargement

Re: Transitioning to a larger House

Postby Pseudolus » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:43 pm

    JEQuidam wrote:
    Pseudolus wrote: So you're basically saying that if a Representative doesn't have legislative pull or clout or likability outside of the debate room, then his/her ideas will never be brought to the table since open public debate will become a thing of the past.
    I hope you realize that is not what I’m saying. What I asserted was that a larger House of Representatives will operate fundamentally the same way it does today: Bills will be generated by committees to be voted upon by the larger body. The larger body will determine who is on those committees.
    I do realize that's not what you're saying; but I'm suggesting it is a very real outcome, especially as time progresses.
    JEQuidam wrote:By the way, I don’t measure the quality of a legislature by how many bills it passes.
    Agreed.
    JEQuidam wrote:Forgive me my “optimism”, but I have faith that a federal House comprised of several thousand of my fellow citizens will effectively manage to pass that legislation which is truly essential to the continued viability and success of our Republic.
    I appreciate your optimism and may even be persuaded to agree with you on everything, but at the same time our critics will claim they can't be expected to believe on blind faith alone that such a large body can be effective. And I'm inclined to agree with that argument as well.
Perhaps, when proposing a modern day version of Article the First, we should consider Dunbar's Number* rather than setting the size of a Congressional district to a rather arbitrary x number of thousands. Perhaps, too, Dunbar's Number may be useful in suggesting how the large House should be organized and function once they exist.

Also, I think it's probably vastly important to consider the Allen Curve** when suggesting that legislators can work effectively when separated by vast distances.

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number
**http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen_curve
Pseudolus    
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:34 am
Location: New York, NY and New Orleans, LA
Stance: Pro-Enlargement

Re: Transitioning to a larger House

Postby JEQuidam » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:15 pm

Pseudolus wrote: I appreciate your optimism and may even be persuaded to agree with you on everything, but at the same time our critics will claim they can't be expected to believe on blind faith alone that such a large body can be effective.
You are correct that some people will require more tangible arguments in support of our contention that a much larger legislative body can function properly. However, at the same time, we should demand that critics substantiate their assertions; that is, provide evidence that 435 legislators is a superior solution to 436, 450, 4500, or 6000. Opponents of representational enlargement will rely more on fearmongering than data.

You ask about determining the number of Representatives (therefore the number of congressional districts) by evaluating what might be suggested by theoretical social group concepts such as Dunbar's Number ("a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships") and the Allen Curve (the "drop of frequency of communication between engineers as the distance between them increases").

First, though these theoretical concepts make sense at a conceptual level, I am doubtful of their ability to produce reliable solutions in practice, especially in regards to something as profound as the quality of our governance.

Second, I believe that your question, as posited, takes a legislature-centric view instead of a constituency-centric view, thereby inverting the chain of command and subverting the purpose of republican government. (I realize that you did not do that intentionally.) What I'm saying is that our focus should be on the "social relationships" and "frequency of communication" between a Representative and his or her masters (the citizens) as well as among those citizens. I am concerned about the distance between the constituents and their Representative. I am concerned about the dearth of real social relationships between the citizens and the Representative. I believe that the success of our republic will depend on the efficacy of that body – the body of citizens comprising each legislative district – rather than the legislative body. I am not concerned about maintaining a country club environment for the Congressmen. I don't give a wit whether or not it is convenient for them to play golf together and attend one another's Christmas parties.*

Again, consider the analogy of tens of millions of Californians voting up or down on propositions. They accomplish this despite the lack of "social relationships" among all those voters. I believe this analogy to be quite valid even if it is imperfect.

We need to ensure that the Representative is beholden only to his or her constituents, and is easily lobbied by us as well (rather than by external and foreign special interests). That is the true foundation of our republic – to do otherwise is like building the Capitol Building on a swamp instead of upon rock.

* With respect to conducting "the business of Congress", we could still expect some percentage of Representatives to serve on the various committees for the purpose of developing legislation, conducting investigations, and the other various committee duties. For the sake of illustration, let's suppose that of 6,000 Reps, 10% serve on various committees. It is likely that those committee members would still travel to DC to conduct their business. However, I would be perfectly happy if the remaining 90% remained home and read the proposed legislation and then voted in such a way that faithfully represents his or her constituents. That is really all I want my Representative to do, other than providing necessary constituent services. (And no staff! They can answer their own damn phone!)
User avatar
JEQuidam    
 
Posts: 193
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:45 pm
Location: Dunwoody, Georgia
Stance: Pro-Enlargement

Re: Transitioning to a larger House

Postby Pseudolus » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:44 am

JEQuidam wrote:I believe that your question, as posited, takes a legislature-centric view instead of a constituency-centric view, thereby inverting the chain of command and subverting the purpose of republican government. (I realize that you did not do that intentionally.) What I'm saying is that our focus should be on the "social relationships" and "frequency of communication" between a Representative and his or her masters (the citizens) as well as among those citizens. I am concerned about the distance between the constituents and their Representative. I am concerned about the dearth of real social relationships between the citizens and the Representative. I believe that the success of our republic will depend on the efficacy of that body – the body of citizens comprising each legislative district – rather than the legislative body.

Yes, I had these same concerns when applied to suggesting how the legislature should operate. However, when applied to congressional district sizes, I actually thought it might bolster our arguments in favor of small districts. And that maybe using Dunbar's Number and the Allen Curve we could further substantiate our claim that no less than one Representative for every 50,000 (just as an example) is fundamentally appropriate to whom we are as social creatures. This is why I think looking at science such as that, rather than Article the First alone, will help us decide specifically which number is best and why that number is better than, say, 30,000 or 75,000 or 150,000 or 40,000 or 250,000 or any of the other numbers one might suggest.

So the science works in both directions in different ways:
    1) on the organization end, it favors small districts,
    2) on the operation end, it suggests methods for maintaining effectiveness once that large body is assembled.
For example, perhaps when applied to the legislative process it would mean that the Representatives would:
    a) remain home for most of the year with their constituents,
    b) negotiate regionally for part of the year so that they can hear and debate various sides of a legislative issue,
    c) after some regional debate, seasonally elect amongst themselves a smaller body who can best present and represent their various viewpoints on issue-specific legislation to others in D.C.,
    d) more debate within the smaller temporary body in D.C. while the majority of Representatives would remain home* with their constituents,
    e) regional-elected body returns back to regional assembly for the presentation of views and compromises suggested at the national assembly, followed by more regional debate,
    f) Yea or Nay votes by all Representatives across the country on legislation.
      *Those Representatives at home during the time of national assembly would still be following all proceedings in D.C., would still be in communication with their seasonal issue-specific regional-elects, and would still be advising their regional-elects and/or negotiating with other Reps from across the nation.
If that, for example was the way the House was organized then perhaps a Representative's yearly calendar would look somewhat like this:
    a total of 4-8 months within their home districts,
    a total of 4-6 months at their regional assembly,
    a total of 0-4 months at the national assembly.
Does any of this make sense or am I rambling?
Pseudolus    
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:34 am
Location: New York, NY and New Orleans, LA
Stance: Pro-Enlargement

Re: Transitioning to a larger House

Postby HouseSizeWonk » Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:11 pm

I, for one, find a 6000-seat chamber unwise, and I think arguing for it hurts everybody who believes House expansion is necessary, because it makes people who support it look like goldbugs or something -- fringe types.

The best thing they could do (IMO) would be very simple, and would be less arbitrary than the 435 cap. Just require that the House be the size necessary to entitle the smallest State to a seat. For example, in 2000 the total apportionment population was 281,424,177. Wyoming was the smallest state, with 495,304. With a total population of 281,424,177, a chamber of 568 seats gives you an "ideal" district size of 495,465 -- very close.

This seems more productive to me. Whatever the theorized benefits of a chamber of 6000 seats, a chamber of 568 seats is much more achievable, for a lot of reasons, and would do a lot of good. Why make the perfect the enemy of the good, especially when a lot of people aren't sold on the "perfect" being so perfect?
HouseSizeWonk    
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 11:25 am

Re: Transitioning to a larger House

Postby JEQuidam » Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:56 am

Pseudolus wrote: Does any of this make sense or am I rambling?
It makes sense. From my point of view, you are trying to begin the process of framing a discussion over how we should transition to a larger House, and how that larger House should be implemented operationally. Hopefully, in time, you and others will be able to further advance this line of inquiry.

I have no doubt that if a substantially larger House is mandated – either through a court order or a constitutional amendment – intelligent and experienced people will formulate a practical plan for accomplishing that objective. Achieving that is well within the capabilities of American ingenuity and technology.

Given my limited time, my focus must remain on getting more people to understand why it is essential that we increase the number of federal Representatives and, therefore, the number of single-member congressional districts. Unless more people support the cause of representational enlargement, a discussion of its implementation will be moot.

I do understand your point, which is that questions will be raised regarding how this enlargement will be implemented and how a larger House will operate. It is important to address these questions in order to help overcome those objections and thereby enlist additional support for the cause. That is a valid point. In that regard, it would be far more beneficial to demonstrate that these problems are solvable (as multiple solutions are available) rather than attempting to architect a detailed solution. Therefore, the more solutions that are proposed for consideration, the better.
User avatar
JEQuidam    
 
Posts: 193
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:45 pm
Location: Dunwoody, Georgia
Stance: Pro-Enlargement

Re: Transitioning to a larger House

Postby Pseudolus » Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:12 am

JEQuidam wrote:Given my limited time, my focus must remain on getting more people to understand why it is essential that we increase the number of federal Representatives and, therefore, the number of single-member congressional districts. Unless more people support the cause of representational enlargement, a discussion of its implementation will be moot.
Agreed. Plus, you're really good at it. [Despite the fact that Adam (HouseSizeWonk) still doesn't fully get it.]
All those various pamphlets add up to gold!
JEQuidam wrote:It would be far more beneficial to demonstrate that these problems [of enlargement implementation and operation] are solvable (as multiple solutions are available) rather than attempting to architect a detailed solution. Therefore, the more solutions that are proposed for consideration, the better.
So very true. That's a healthier way for me to look at it. And will help when drafting Amendment language, since the more flexible details can be handled elsewhere rather than in the Amendment itself.
Pseudolus    
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:34 am
Location: New York, NY and New Orleans, LA
Stance: Pro-Enlargement

Re: Transitioning to a larger House

Postby JEQuidam » Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:36 am

HouseSizeWonk wrote:I, for one, find a 6000-seat chamber unwise, and I think arguing for it hurts everybody who believes House expansion is necessary...
Adam, there are several different points I want to make in reply.

First, anyone who supports increasing the number of Representatives - whether to 436, 568, 5,680 or 10,000 - is working toward the same goal: To overcome a century of inertia that has made the status quo of 435 Representatives into an inviolable sacrosanct principle for the political class and the Special Interests who finance them. We need to break the stranglehold held by the oligarchy of 435 in order to catalyze a national debate on how many Representatives we, the people, should have in our federal legislature.

Second, those who seek a modest increase in the number of Representatives should be grateful for any "fringe types" who advocate for 6,000 or more Representatives. Believe me: If it were not for TTO advocating 6,000 Representatives, then you would be the "fringe type" for suggesting a heretical increase to 568. Today's Congress would consider itself magnanimous in the extreme if they granted only one additional Representative to the citizenry.

Third, your reference to a "6000-seat chamber" is misleading. TTO does advocate for one Representative for every 50,000 citizens (hence the 6,000 number). However, we do not advocate a "6000-seat chamber". I encourage you to download and read "Taking Back Our Republic". This point is addressed in section 10 of that pamphlet, and elsewhere on the TTO website. This clarification is essential to helping people envision that this solution can be implemented by thinking outside the box (substitute "chamber" for "box").

Fourth, and as you well know, I fervently support the principle of "one person, one vote". As explained in Section 9 of the above-referenced pamphlet, a modest increase in the number of Representatives (such as to 568) would not eliminate the significant disparity in congressional district sizes nationwide. There is no defense for allowing that egregious violation of one person one vote to continue. In their transcendent wisdom, our nation's founders provided a brilliant solution to this problem which was intended to be the very first amendment in our Bill of Rights. It is in their proposal, Article the first, that we find that the Founders intended the maximum congressional district size to be 50,000. This is explained in section 3 of the pamphlet referenced above.
User avatar
JEQuidam    
 
Posts: 193
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:45 pm
Location: Dunwoody, Georgia
Stance: Pro-Enlargement

Re: Transitioning to a larger House

Postby JEQuidam » Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:53 pm

Pseudolus wrote:
JEQuidam wrote:It would be far more beneficial to demonstrate that these problems [of enlargement implementation and operation] are solvable (as multiple solutions are available) rather than attempting to architect a detailed solution. Therefore, the more solutions that are proposed for consideration, the better.
So very true. That's a healthier way for me to look at it. And will help when drafting Amendment language, since the more flexible details can be handled elsewhere rather than in the Amendment itself.
You are correct that "the more flexible details can be handled elsewhere rather than in the Amendment itself".

My position is still that we need only ratify "Article the first" as it was originally proposed on August 24, 1789 (i.e., the non-defective version). I am concerned about weighting it with so much additional language that it sinks even more deeply into the recesses of history.

However, I realize that increasing the number of Representatives overnight would be a substantial challenge. Compelled by your persistence on this point, I'll suggest some additional concepts that could be incorporated into the amendment.

Section 1 (of the proposed amendment) should contain the exact language from the original version of "Article the first".

Section 2 would provide a timetable for implementation. The timetable could prescribe that the number of federal Representatives be increased by a minimum of 500 every two election cycles until the representational ratio specified in Section 1 is achieved, with the first augmentation going into effect as of the third election cycle after the date of ratification. For example, if this amendment were ratified in 2016, that would be during the 114th Congress. The number of Representatives would remain at 435 for the 114th, 115th and 116th Congresses. The first reapportionment would be implemented for the elections to be held in November of 2020 (for the 117th Congress). Then, the 117th and 118th congresses would have the same number of Representatives (e.g., 935). The next increase would be implemented prior to the elections in November of 2024, to be reflected in the 119th and 120th Congresses, and so forth. This restoration process could be deemed complete once the number of Representatives is within 500 of the required representational ratio (as per Section I) relative to the population estimate at that time. Thereafter, the only subsequent reapportionments would occur after each decennial population census (i.e., we return to the method prescribed by the Constitution).

Section 3 could authorize the interdecennial reapportionments to be derived from population estimates to be provided by the US Census Bureau (USCB). That is, it will not be necessary to conduct any additional population censuses beyond that already required by the Constitution. Instead, the USCB will be authorized to use available data along with established statistical methods to derive defensible population estimates for the states.

Section 4 would explicitly authorize Congress to implement representational enlargement in whatever manner it deems most effective, subject only to meeting the prescribed ratio and timetable. This would ensure that Congress is empowered to implement a different collaborative structure as appropriate, such as enabling Representatives to vote and work from their home districts over a secured Congress-net that has been designed for that purpose.

Section 5 could freeze the House of Representatives' aggregate staffing budget (though adjusted for inflation) for a specified duration. This duration could terminate four years after the Congress is deemed to be in compliance as per Section 2 (above). The point of this is to wean the Representatives off of their personal staffs. For the salary they are being paid, the Representatives can reply to e-mails and answer their own phones, especially if they have only 50,000 constituents (instead of 700,000+). Once the legislative body is large enough to be truly representative, they will no longer feel entitled to be re-elected so will not be inclined to indulge the luxury of personal staffs at the taxpayer's expense.

Section 6 could specify that the basis for apportioning representation to the states should be the total number of citizens residing in each state (rather than the total number of inhabitants). It could also require the inclusion of U.S. citizens who are living abroad (e.g., military and government personnel, missionaries, etc.). Granted, this last section is not necessitated by representational enlargement, but this would be a good opportunity to bring closure to these related issues.

Additional language may be required to confirm that the size of the Electoral College (for a presidential election), will be determined by the number of Representatives authorized for the concurrent election (plus the number of Senators and 3 for DC).

OK. That's it. I really didn't know I was going to write all that. I thought my response would only be the first two or three sentences above, but then one thing led to the next. Evidently my muse has no regard for the chores I had planned for today. But I'm glad that has been written as it provides a framework which can be further developed as time permits.
User avatar
JEQuidam    
 
Posts: 193
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:45 pm
Location: Dunwoody, Georgia
Stance: Pro-Enlargement

Re: Transitioning to a larger House

Postby Pseudolus » Sat Jul 31, 2010 11:04 am

JEQuidam wrote:Compelled by your persistence on this point, I'll suggest some additional concepts that could be incorporated into the amendment.

See, whereas, now you've persuaded me that all we need in the Amendment is the original Madisonian language of "Article the First". Though, I still do question why the number 50,000 was chosen versus 40,000 or 60,000 or any other random number. What is the significance of 50,000?

We also might want to include language granting representation based on citizenship populations, rather than inhabitant populations; but I'm still considering the effects of this addition.
Pseudolus    
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:34 am
Location: New York, NY and New Orleans, LA
Stance: Pro-Enlargement

Re: Transitioning to a larger House

Postby JEQuidam » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:54 am

Pseudolus wrote:Though, I still do question why the number 50,000 was chosen versus 40,000 or 60,000 or any other random number. What is the significance of 50,000?
Actually, the language of the Senate's version was a little simpler and they proposed a district size of exactly 60,000 (once the total population reached a certain level). The two versions then went to joint committee, and the result was this defective bastardization that was contrary to what had been proposed by both the House and the Senate! For more information, read section 3 of "Taking Back Our Republic" and, for a lot more information, read the pdf report referenced in footnote 1 on page 7 of that report.

By the way, a minimum district size of 30,000 was considered HUGE back in 1789. In order to appreciate why, read "The Naming of Thirty-Thousand.org"; in particular, study the chart on that page.

Pseudolus wrote:We also might want to include language granting representation based on citizenship populations, rather than inhabitant populations...
I assume you're referring to what I suggested in Section 6 (above).
User avatar
JEQuidam    
 
Posts: 193
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:45 pm
Location: Dunwoody, Georgia
Stance: Pro-Enlargement

Re: Transitioning to a larger House

Postby Pseudolus » Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:05 pm

JEQuidam wrote:
Pseudolus wrote:Though, I still do question why the number 50,000 was chosen versus 40,000 or 60,000 or any other random number. What is the significance of 50,000?
Actually, the language of the Senate's version was a little simpler and they proposed a district size of exactly 60,000 (once the total population reached a certain level)."
Yes, but why 60,000 and why 50,000? I feel like in today's day of societal research and psychological understanding, we should be able to come up with a number that is based on something scientifically concrete rather than arbitrarily small. And that scientifically-arrived-at number might help bolster our case for increased representation, especially when paired with historical evidence from the Framers warning of overly large Congressional districts.
Does 50,000 work significantly better than 60,000 or vice-versa? If so, why? Is there another number that would work even better than both of them?

Also could the Apportionment Amendment language be as simple as:
    There shall be a minimum of two Representatives for every State and no less than one Representative for every [blank] Citizens enumerated by each State.
Pseudolus    
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:34 am
Location: New York, NY and New Orleans, LA
Stance: Pro-Enlargement

Re: Transitioning to a larger House

Postby JEQuidam » Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:32 am

Pseudolus wrote: Yes, but why 60,000 and why 50,000?
And why a minimum district size of 30,000? A specific number had to be established, and the wise men then assembled agreed upon one. Could it have been 29,999 or 31,500? Of course. I believe that the essential thing is the order of magnitude appropriate to ensure a representative republic.

Few people realize that James Madison, in proposing his list of amendments for the Constitution, had proposed changing that 30,000 to the maximum district size, and establishing a minimum district size that is even smaller. This is explained in "The Minimum and Maximum Size of the U. S. House of Representatives" which can be downloaded from this page. I encourage people to read that report in order to better understand the intent of our nation's founders. In any case, they perceived the solution to lie somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 people per Representative. Not 100,000 or 700,000 or, as we have today, an unlimited size.

The point is, prior to the advent of any modern technologies (such as the train or the telegraph) they expected the number of Representatives to reach 400 within 50 years and 600 within a hundred years (after the Constitution was ratified). We have only 435 today. And we have technology today (that was unimaginable even 100 years ago) which would enable most of our Representatives to work collaboratively, and vote, from their home districts.

Pseudolus wrote: Does 50,000 work significantly better than 60,000 or vice-versa? If so, why? Is there another number that would work even better than both of them?
I think it is possible to sometimes be blinded by science, and to allow the perfect (if there is one) to be the enemy of the good. The Founders were wise and I think us not wiser than they.

Is 50,000 better than 60,000? Yes, in the sense that the resulting districts are more in compliance with one person, one vote, a principle in which I firmly believe.

Pseudolus wrote: Also could the Apportionment Amendment language be as simple as:
    There shall be a minimum of two Representatives for every State and no less than one Representative for every [blank] Citizens enumerated by each State.
Yes, that would work as well.

Madison's initial proposal also contained blanks, as in "__________". This has always been a nettlesome question, which is one of the reasons it is so poorly understood even 220 years later. However, the difficulty of the problem is absolutely no excuse for continuing to neglect it, especially when the need for the Founders' solution is more urgent now than ever.
User avatar
JEQuidam    
 
Posts: 193
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:45 pm
Location: Dunwoody, Georgia
Stance: Pro-Enlargement

Re: Transitioning to a larger House

Postby Pseudolus » Sun Aug 08, 2010 1:17 pm

You've persuaded me on the 50,000 number (and I also changed "each" to "the"). Let the language of the proposed Apportionment Amendment be:

    There shall be a minimum of two Representatives for every State and no less than one Representative for every 50,000 Citizens enumerated by the States.
That seems so simple and clear, no future generations will ever be able to misunderstand it. Any objections or concerns?
Pseudolus    
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:34 am
Location: New York, NY and New Orleans, LA
Stance: Pro-Enlargement

Re: Transitioning to a larger House

Postby mattmatt1392 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:12 pm

I see that one of the major concerns is whether effective debate can occur in a larger House. Here's a thought...

Suppose that we're looking at a House of 6000 members, and suppose that, as has been proposed by someone else, five (I'm just using made-up numbers--there's nothing magical about this number) new federal cities were created in other parts of the country that together would house the legislative branch (and maybe the executive and judicial, too). With six federal cities (D.C. plus five new ones), 1000 representatives would convene at each.

This would already provide a smaller forum than 6000 to debate bills, but each of the 6 chambers would be further subdivided into committees of 100-200 for the purpose of debate. This would not replace the current committee system but rather provide an intermediate step between the committees and the full-House debate and vote (which could still occur relatively easily with videoconferencing technology).

Thus for a typical bill, the process would look something like this:
  • A bill is proposed and sent to appropriate committee(s) or subcommittee(s).
  • The committee considers the bill and, if approved, sends draft language to the 6 chambers.
  • The chambers divide into their committees which each consider the bill, amending it as they see fit (or rejecting it entirely).
  • Each chamber reconvenes to harmonize the various committee versions (using, if necessary, a conference committee made up of a delegation from each of the chamber's committees) and then vote to approve or reject the harmonized version (just voting whether to send the bill to the full House, not whether to actually approve it--the actual vote occurs later as it does currently).
  • Then, all 6 chambers convene another conference committee to harmonize each of the six chamber versions into a House version.
  • Finally, the chambers convene by videoconferencing for final full-House debate and a vote.
As a safeguard against a shutdown of internet communications or for cases when all of Congress really must convene together, one of the six assembly buildings could be built to seat something like 10,000 (6000 representatives with lots of room to grow plus 100 Senators plus Cabinet, Supreme Court, etc. plus dignitaries plus, plus, plus)
mattmatt1392    
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:37 am
Stance: Pro-Enlargement

Re: Transitioning to a larger House

Postby TheTrucker » Sat Apr 23, 2011 1:44 pm

There is nothing wrong with the way the House is currently organized. The increase in the number of votes on all bills and the true representation of the people due to smaller electoral districts is all that is needed. The current committee structure is elected by the entire membership as it should be. The expansion of representation will serve to do away with the power of the current duopoly of Democrats and Republicans and that is all that is really necessary. The result of massive expansion of the voting membership of the House is to create a more representative government. Read Federalist 10 for the reasons behind this.

Madison's concept of government is rooted in his Federalist 10 writing. The smaller districts will be much more united in their views, but the only "bills" that can become law are the bills that truly pronounce the common good of all the districts of the nation. We must remember that Madison did not have to fight Faux Noise and the corporate media. There was no way to broadcast total lies as being the truth and have these lies inserted into the minds of the masses. Any time that you empower a group or individual be popular vote you invite corruption. Popular elections were frowned upon for the Senate and the Presidency for that very reason even when newspapers were the only communication.

Imagine what it would be like to vote for YOUR representative on the basis of issues as opposed to party. You may not feel that you are electing a power broker but that isn't what the job entails anyway. All true representatives would have a web site where they tell you how they are going to vote and why, and explain way the voted as they did on previous bills. Faux Noise and MSNBC would be out of business. You get the real NEWS through your representative and the media is there to PREVENT lying as opposed to indulging in it.

The 17th Amendment is a travesty of the "progressive" movement. It is simply too easy to buy a senator in an underpopulated state. The cows and the pigs don't contribute campaign funds for the mass media sales pitch. If I was shopping for a vote in the Senate I'd pick Montana. Seems to be a red state problem. And now the Chinese can participate as well. Nice going "progressive idiots".
TheTrucker    
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:30 pm
Location: Port Orchard, Wa.
Stance: Pro-Enlargement

Re: Transitioning to a larger House

Postby NevadaEric » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:57 am

Here's an amendment I wrote yesterday. Of course how does it get attention? I'm working with occupy groups in Nevada to enlighten them about this. Try your local groups or join their forums and post a link to this site.

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION - National Capitols
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Whereas,
with the recent and long overdue increases in representation, the assemblage
of representatives requires a new solution by way of disbursing assemblage
to several areas throughout the Nation; and

Whereas,
since the administration of the Federal government is known, it would be better
served by new buildings built in the several States; and

Whereas,
Representatives and Senators shall normally be in their districts, but they shall
assemble when required; and

Whereas,
the ability of communications is much improved now, it shall then bring together
these decentralized Capitols when required:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate and Assembly of the
State of Nevada assembled, That the following article is proposed to Congress
to be adopted as a proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States,
which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution
when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within
seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:

"Article-
Sec. 1 Twelve Areas shall be designated in which new Capitols shall be built for
the same uses as the original Capitol in Washington DC.

Sec. 2 The land on which the new Capitols are built shall remain, or revert to
and become, the property of the State in which designated.

Sec. 3 Each Area shall have a Congress Assembled, when required consisting of
the same elements as the original Congress Assembled in Washington DC.

Sec. 4 These new Capitols shall have no greater, nor lesser status, stature,
abilities, or means otherwise different than any of the other Capitols
including the original Capitol in Washington DC.

Sec. 5 To provide external security for these new Capitols, each state shall provide,
from their National Guard Units, the requisite number of required troops. Being
from several States, these external security troops shall be under the rotating
control of the Governors of the States in the area of which the Capitol is.

Sec. 6 The external security troops shall remain solely under the control of the current
acting Governor in control while performing their external security role.

Sec. 7 Internal security shall be solely the discretion of the Federal government.
"
NevadaEric    
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:17 am
Stance: Pro-Enlargement


Return to Strategy: how do we induce change?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron