PROPOSED AMENDMENT : DISASSEMBLING THE REPRESENTATIVES
Section 1 The office and duties of Representative, described in Article 1, Section 2, shall be modified to permit their fulfillment by persons who remain within the several congressional districts. Except for ceremonial purposes, no House or other assembly of Representatives will exist.
Section 2 Representatives will serve as communications links between the Public and the Government of the United States. To that end, the ratio of population to Representatives shall not exceed one hundred thousand. And, an office well equipped with communicating devices shall be maintained in each congressional district.
Section 3 The legislative powers of Representatives shall include the power of a majority of all Representatives to enact proposals submitted to them by either a majority of the Senate or the President of the United States. In case either the Senate or the President has not approved the measure so enacted, it shall be forwarded to that branch for action. If the Senate or the President should reject the measure, it will, again, be voted upon by the Representatives, a majority of whom may, by their affirmative votes, make it law.
The President of the United States and two-thirds of Senators shall have the power to enact legislation which may take effect after 60 days. If, within those 60 days, thirty percent of Representatives demand to vote upon them, such measures shall not take effect unless approved by a majority of Representatives.
Representatives may propose, and a petition by thirty percent of Representatives may initiate action upon, legislation.
Section 4 To facilitate the above processes, an Office of Representation shall be established at the seat of the Government. The Office of Representation shall receive and dispense information between the Representatives and other branches of the Government. Such information shall include all votes and petitions of the Representatives, and all legislative or other business of Senate and President to which the assent of the Representatives may be necessary. Additional communications and information, supporting and opposing the above, may be gathered and dispensed through this channel.
The Office of Representation shall be headed by an eleven-member Representation Board, of whom two each shall be selected and serve at the pleasure of the President and the Senate. Seven shall be selected by lot from among Representatives who have completed at least one term in that office; their service shall be for brief overlapping terms.
The Representation Board shall select and advise a Director of Representation, subject to confirmation by a majority of Representatives. The Director may be suspended from his duties and a temporary replacement may be designated, by a majority of the Board. Removal of the Director will become effective upon the approval of a replacement by a majority of Representatives.
Section 5 The elections of Representatives shall take place prior to the elections of President, Vice President, and Senators. Qualifications as candidates in the general elections for President and Vice President, or for Senator, shall be established by securing the signature of at least twenty percent of Representatives, in the United States or in particular states, on petitions of candidacy. For this purpose, Representatives may support only one candidate per office per election.
Section 6 Except as noted above, it is not the intent of this Amendment to alter the office, powers, or manner of choosing Representatives. Detailed procedures for initiating tax measures, bringing impeachment charges, and for exercising other powers of the Representatives may be provided by law. The apportionment of Representatives shall be determined as provided in Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3, of the Constitution of the United States, amended. Additional provisions for the organization and disciplining of Representatives are to be initiated by that branch alone.
Section 7 Amendment 17 shall be altered to provide that the Senate of the United States shall be composed of three Senators for each state.
Section 8 The provision of Article II, Section 2, Paragraph 2 regarding presidential appointments “by and with the advise and consent of the Senate” shall be altered to allow that, in cases where the Senate fails to either confirm or reject within sixty days of the submission, a commission may be issued at the discretion of the President alone.
DISASSEMBLE THE HOUSE
By Ivan W. Parkins
One concern of those who drafted the Constitution of the United States was that representatives should not have such small constituencies that the office would fail to attract able candidates. Even so, Chairman of the Convention, George Washington, called for a minimum constituency of 30,000 instead of the already approved 40,000. This was his only suggestion regarding details of the Constitution and it was adopted.
THE FEDERALIST, No. 51 states that “dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government.” No. 52 adds “… it is particularly
essential that ..” the representative “… have an immediate dependence on and an intimate sympathy with the people.”
Now, with the congressional districts having average populations of about 690,000, and with only 524,160 minutes in a year, we face a very different situation. All Representatives, whatever their origins, become members of the upper class by virtue of their salaries and perks alone. The long sessions and increasing details of their involvement in nearly all matters of government, keep their minds and bodies within the confines of the “Beltway” most of the time. National journalists, pollsters, lobbyists, and congressional staff members, along with legislative “earmarks,” get them reelected. Meanwhile, it is literally impossible for them to allot one minute of their time per year to each constituent.
Our representatives should be much more numerous; they should spend most of their working time in their districts; and they should have infrequent, but authoritative votes on major public issues. In order to add that to the Constitution, I suggest the following:
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On the Inside