Matthew Cossolotto, a former aide to House Speaker Jim Wright and Congressman Leon Panetta (now head of the CIA), knows about politics. So, when he says the US House of Representatives should expand to a larger number of Reps from its current 435, it pays to listen.
The framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights intended that the total population of Congressional districts never exceed 50,000 to 60,000. Currently, however, the average population size of the districts is nearly 700,000. Are we being adequately represented according to the wishes of the Founding Fathers? Matthew says, “no.” Each member of Congress cannot represent 700,000 well. It’s harder to connect with citizens to make the citizens feel represented.
Increasing the size of Congress would improve access to Representatives, improve connections between the Representative and voters s/he serves, minimize the need for lobbyists and reduce overwhelming the Representatives, according to Matthew.
He lives by the motto, “If the House won’t raise the ceiling, the voters should raise the roof.”
One of the more interesting factoids to come out of our conversation was that the number of Representatives was capped at 435—an arbitrary number—by statute in 1928. Strict Constitutionalists believe any ceiling placed on the number of Representatives should be a Constitutional Amendment, not a statute.
Here the entire interview below: