It’s time to expand the House of Representatives

For most of American history, the size of the House was adjusted upward every 10 years. The initial 65-member House prescribed in the Constitution was expanded to 105 members after the 1790 Census, to 142 members after the 1800 Census, and so on through the 19th century. Following the 13th census, in 1910, Congress enlarged the House to 435 members — and there it has remained, even as the number of Americans has more than tripled, from 92 million to 308 million. Ever since, the apportionment process has been able to allot new House seats to the fastest-growing states only by taking them away from states growing more slowly. One result is that many states have more voters, but fewer US representatives.

Another result, equally troubling, is that voters in some states have considerably more electoral clout than voters in others…

But few members of Congress will voluntarily dilute their own power by voting to expand the House; only significant grassroots pressure (or a constitutional amendment) will ever force them to act. Until they do, the inequities caused by having a “people’s house’’ fixed at 435 members will only grow worse.

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