Introduction of the Restoring Equal and Accountable Legislators in the House Act

Floor Speech

Date: Jan. 30, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, today I introduced the Restoring Equal and Accountable Legislators in the House (REAL House) Act. This legislation would expand the number of members of the U.S. House of Representatives to restore the chamber's direct link to the public and foster greater diversity among Representatives and the Electoral College.

Members of the House of Representatives are their constituent's most direct connection to the federal government and its resources and services. The COVlD-19 pandemic underscored the importance of the proactive and local constituent services unique to House members. However, the number of constituents living in a single congressional district has dramatically increased since the number of House members was arbitrarily capped in 1929. Current district sizes threaten the direct constituent connection on which the House was founded. Simply, congressional districts are too large.

Today, there are 435 voting members of the House of Representatives, a cap from when the U.S. population was only 122 million people. With the current U.S. population of 328 million people and the same number of representatives, the size of congressional districts has nearly tripled. The average congressional district now includes 800,000 constituents.

If Congress fails to act, by 2050 each member of Congress is on track to represent more than 1 million people.

This growing imbalance makes it more difficult for members to be responsive to the will of the people, and voters are more likely to sit out elections when their voice and input are not fully represented in government.

The artificial cap also has a more insidious effect: an unrepresentative Electoral College. In the Electoral College system, each state gets a certain number of electors based on its total number of representatives in Congress. As the disparity between the largest and smallest states widens, the votes of those in larger states matter less and less.

The REAL House Act will help our government better reflect our districts and constituent needs. To restore the House's direct link to the public and to foster greater diversity among Members and the Electoral College, we must increase the number of Representatives.

I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to enact this legislation and finally overcome the arbitrary cap of 435 voting members of this chamber.