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Introduction of the Congress Commission Act

Floor Speech

Date: Oct. 16, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. HASTINGS. Madam Speaker, I rise today to discuss the importance of establishing a Congressional Commission to Strengthen Representative Democracy. My legislation, the Congress Commission Act, would establish such a commission to analyze the current size of the House of Representatives, examine alternatives to the current method by which Members are elected, and study the harmful effects gerrymandering continues to have on our democracy.

Today, a Member of Congress represents an average of over 740,000 constituents, well over 10 times the number of constituents envisioned by the First Congress. The United States presents itself as the world's leading representative democracy. And yet, the House's weighty representative ratio makes the United States an outlier among the 35 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, most of them highly developed, democratic states.

It has been nearly 110 years since the House of Representatives has increased its ranks even though the United States' population has more than tripled in size. It is time we examine how this institution is constructed, so we can make the necessary changes for a more equitable tomorrow. It is not only within the power of Congress to improve itself, but it has a responsibility to do so. Such an effort as embodied in my proposed Congressional Commission to Strengthen Representative Democracy will result in a Congress that better reflects the constituencies, states, and nation we serve.

Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this critically important legislation, so that we can better serve the American people.

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