Alcee Hastings Wants a Commission to Look at Reforming the House, Including Adding More Members

A Florida congressman is championing a proposal that could lead to major reforms in the U.S. House, including cracking down on gerrymandering and expanding the number of members.

This week, U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., introduced the “Congress Commission Act” which would create the Congressional Commission to Strengthen Representative Democracy.

“The commission would be mandated to analyze the current size of the House of Representatives, examine alternatives to the current method by which members are elected, and study the impacts of gerrymandering on representation in the people’s House,” the congressman‘s office noted.

“As a representative to almost 810,000 constituents, I value the importance of fostering a more representative body. It has been almost 110 years since the House of Representatives has increased its ranks even though the United States’ population has more than tripled in size,” said Hastings. “We must examine how this institution is constructed today, so that we can make the necessary changes for a more equitable tomorrow. It is not only within the power of Congress to improve itself, but its our responsibility to do so. Such an effort will result in a Congress that better reflects the constituencies, states, and nation we serve.”

Under the bill, the commission “will analyze the current size of the membership of the House of Representatives, considering the requirements for the institution to carry out its responsibilities in an effective manner as our republic faces growing domestic and international challenges” and “examine the methods of voting for House members and the use of gerrymandering in the creation of single-member districts and their impacts on congressional representation.” The bill would have the commission report to Congress and the president on its findings.

Hastings rounded up four cosponsors including U.S. Rep. Shelia Lee Jackson, D-Texas, and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass. The bill was sent to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee this week. So far, there is no companion measure in the U.S. Senate.


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