Grassroots Commentary

The U.S. House of Representatives: The People's House, Part II

The Founder’s Intent, What it was, What it is Now & What it Should Be.

Duane V. Grassell · Sep. 10, 2015

What It Should Be

If the constitutionally mandated 30,000:1 ratio is applied today in accordance with the 2010 census, this is what the apportionment of Congressional seats by state would look like.

If this concept were put into practice, would we really want a House with over 10,000 representatives? With a change like this, there will advantages and disadvantages. I will focus on the advantages and leave any readers of this article to bring up the disadvantages.

The first advantage, as Madison wrote, is the representative will be closer to the people who elect them and more answerable for their votes in session assuming the community keeps itself informed. Second, this should drive money out of politics, at least where House races are concerned. There will be no need to buy massive air time for political ads on local television since the electorate would be a small community with close proximity to the candidates. Many of these districts will be outside big city television stations requiring the candidates to be more visible and speak their positions directly to the electorate in a public forum. Third, the House should have a higher ratio of Republicans and hopefully more conservatives or Constitutionalists who have concern for our essential freedoms. If you don’t believe me, check out a red/blue map divided by county for every two year election cycle going back to 2000. The majority of Democrats would come from urban centers but they would have few far left liberals elected from outside the cities. Also, the majority of districts will be outside large metropolitan areas. Fourth, the minor parties would have a better chance of electing candidates to some seats. In districts made up of 30,000 possible voters, Libertarians, and yes, Socialists can be elected under their party banner rather than having to join one of the two major parties. Finally, and probably most important, the House would have more of an opportunity to engage in government oversight investigations. Our federal government, in its present state, has grown into a gargantuan animal that 435 House members and 100 Senators and their staffs cannot possibly learn every aspect of. Hopefully, numerous investigative committees can be formed to find corruption, offices and policies that violate the civil rights of citizens, or perform duplicate, unnecessary or unconstitutional services that a conservative majority described above would hopefully defund or eliminate altogether.

The one disadvantage I will address is the expense of a 10,000+ member House. Presently, House members are paid $170,000 each and pay millions to their staffs. My only solution is to reduce House pay and limit the size of staffs. With the larger number of members in the House a coordinated staff should be developed to serve many members of the House rather than just one. The only real staffing a House member should need for themselves is for communication to constituents.

Epilogue:

In this article I wrote for the needed restructuring of the House to better represent the people of this nation and in my previous post, “The Federal Judiciary and Accountability” which called for oversight of judges and justices when they stray form their Constitutional limits was a clarion call for the need to return to our Constitutional form of a limited government that protected our God given rights to essential freedoms.. However, I do not live under a delusion that these grand changes can take place under the present Congress. Since the 2010 Census, the village I live in shifted to a swing district that is currently represented by moderate Republican. After every election since 1994, I have written to my representative and the Speaker of the House on the need to expand the membership of the House. I have received no response from any of these office holders except from my current representative in 2014. In a letter he signed, but I believe was written by a staffer, I was informed that this would take a Constitutional amendment. In a response, I wrote to him of what the Constitution states and the 1911 law that unconstitutionally limited the House to 435 which could be repealed by a majority vote. I received no response to my rebuttal which led me to believe my current representative and members of his staff are either ignorant of the Constitution and the law limiting House size, are incompetent in understanding the law and the Constitution they swear to protect, or are hesitant to expand the size of the House because it would make their position in the House less powerful. It is my belief that we need to politically replace almost all 535 members of Congress through the ballot box. The Tea Party helped with a good start in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, but I still do not see a movement within Congress who are willing to defend our Constitution from its domestic enemies. I believe that those in the political class who will not defend one specific element of the Constitution, will also fold at defending other parts of it. This is when we need to replace the ones we send to represent us by continuing a search in our communities to find the one person who will defend our Constitution and form a coalition of like-minded individuals in Congress who will say no to those who wish to alter our Constitutional protections. We are now, and continue to be, one bad law away from losing our God given freedoms.

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