The Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929: yes or no?

The new apportionment numbers for the House of Representatives was just announced. So let’s talk about a related issue; the size of the House of Representatives.

It originally grew as the population grew. We started with fifty-nine Congressmen. The numbers rose up to four hundred and thirty-five and then that number was fixed by law in 1929. It was based on the population figures from the 1910 census.

The population according to 1910 census was 92,228,496. The population in 1929 was about 121,770,000. The population according to the 2020 census was 331,449,281.

Each member of the House represented approximately 60,000 people in 1790, 282,000 people in 1930, and 762,000 people in 2020.

So is the existing cap still a good idea? Should we repeal the law and expand the size of the House of Representatives?

My personal opinion is yes, we should expand the total size.

One suggestion I’ve seen is the Wyoming Rule. This says that we take the least populous state (which is currently Wyoming) and use its population as the standard for establishing the size of a congressional district. Then apply that standard to the other states.

With Wyoming having a population of 572,381, that number would be the standard. Every state would be entitled to a Representative in the House for every 572,381 people it has (rounded off to the nearest whole number).

Sounds like it could work.

How many Congress members would that make? Can the current building handle them?

This seems to come down to which is more unwieldy having a large number of people represented by a single rep or having a large number or reps trying to enact legislation.

I think some of the problems with the electoral college will be minimized by increasing the number of reps and I don’t think our legislative problems would get worse with more reps. Where is the line? I’d say the Wyoming rule would be a minimum but I’d prefer to see something closer to 1 rep per 100k citizens.

Five hundred and forty-seven under the 2010 census. I haven’t seen figures for the 2020 census.

Thanks. :+1:

How many seats in the building?

I don’t know. But I guess if that becomes the deciding issue, we can make a quick run to Walmart and buy some folding chairs.

:smile::grin: :laughing: :sweat_smile: :rofl:

I’d agree IF some sort of proportional EV selection for each state existed. Otherwise it’s more of the same.

The problem with that figure is it would give us 3,314 Representatives in the House (based on the 2020 census). I feel that would be an unwieldy number.

Yup, I’d prefer some kind of scheme similar to Nebraska and Maine

331,449,281 so under the Wyoming Rule (est. 2020 population 580,000) approximately 571.

Maybe. I think individual reps would actually be reachable by their constituents so they would vote in their interests more often. I think finding a compromise would be easier since it would be much harder to gerrymander a district.

That’s a good start still suffers from the past-the-post issues we see in House Representation… For a state like mine with almost 1/3 non-R or D voters a true proportional distribution of EVs more accurately represents the voters’ choices.

We have 435 representatives in the House so that means that we have 435 places with military contractors, making it impossible to cut a military program because it affects some rep. Maybe cutting the country up into 3314 sections would give us some protection against that. Otherwise, no body of 435 members actually gives all of them a function.

And it encourages hyperpartisanism in a modern world where people move to live closer to people who think like them. All in all, a terrible idea.

I know what you mean, but I think we need to be precise when we can.

Right now, what do we have? Is it 535 Congressmen; 100 senators and 435 representatives. That equals 535 Congressmen, or Members of Congress (not sure about that capitalization.)

I don’t know about others, but when I hear 435 Congressmen I say to myself, “Nuh-uh. 535.”

Others may not hear it that way, but here’s me picking nits.

I believe the convention is that Congressmen (and Congresswomen but I was referring to 1789 so they were all men) refers to members of the House of Representatives and members of the Senate are referred to as Senators. cite

We don’t need more assholes sucking on the government teet.

Keep the number at 435.

If anything, we should cull that number down a bit.

It might be better with proportional EVs for every state (but only if it’s every state; it doesn’t work out so well for only some states to be proportional), but even without that, expanding the House would still decrease some of the problems with the electoral college. The biggest (though not only, of course) problem with the electoral college is that it’s based, in part, on the Senate, and so inherits the problems with the Senate. Increasing the size of the House would act to overwhelm the senatorial influence.

A similar problem arises because states are all guaranteed at least one representative, even if the state is much smaller than the nationwide average House district. Expanding the House helps with that, too: If the House were big enough that even the smallest state got, say, five Representatives, then the “at least one” rule wouldn’t even come into effect.

Why does everyone need an assigned desk? The British House of Commons by design is not big enough to accommodate all members at once. That’s because it’s very rare that all members are there at the same time, and Churchill’s point that when everyone is there, it’s because there’s a major event happening, and the crowded House helps to keep that issue front and centre.