Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Enlarging Congress to Make Government Smaller?

I was amused to read Jonah Goldberg over at NRO talk about expanding the size of Congress. While I had not read his nor George Will's previous musings on the issue, I've wondered before if enlarging Congress would be a good way to make government smaller. Here is how it could work: The federal government does so much that Congress relegates a great deal of its legislative duties to the bureaucrat-filled Executive branch. It has gotten so bad that the former Speaker of the House said that we have to pass a bill to find out what is in it. How can the people get back control from these progressive-expert bureaucrats? Make Congress bigger. Make the legislative branch big enough to compete with the Executive branch. Make it so we have enough legislators that they can become the experts in the issues. Then you can scale back on the number -- or at least stop the constant expansion -- of experts in the Executive branch. And at least then we could vote out someone who makes a bad decision, something we cannot do when a federal agency makes one. 

In 1789, Congress sent 12 amendments to the original Constitution to the states to be ratified. By 1791, the 3rd through 12th amendments were ratified by the states, and they became the Bill of Rights. The second amendment that Congress sent had to do with Congressional pay, and it was not ratified until 1992, becoming the 27th Amendment. The first amendment that Congress sent had to do with the number of representatives, which given the population of the United States now, would call for one representative for every 50,000 people. That amendment has never been ratified. While that would give us a U.S. House of Representatives with 6,140 members in it, maybe Jonah will want to start a movement to ratify the original first amendment.
Categories > Congress

Discussions - 1 Comment

I am starting to think that we have 4 branches of government. 1-Legistlative 2-Executive 3- Judicial and 4) Administrative Agencies which combine the three powers. Still making the legistlative branch bigger probably wouldn't really cut down on the Administrative agencies, and even if it did might not make for greater efficiency.

The people aren't nearly educated enough to select experts, plus it can be argued that while in theory the legistlative branch answers to the people. It doesn't exactly do this in practice.

The administrative agencies answer to K street, to lawyers, and to concerned citizens groups. They answer to congress and courts and the executive branch.

The administrative state exists under the APA, but the states also have administrative agencies.

You say; "And at least then we could vote out someone who makes a bad decision, something we cannot do when a federal agency makes one."

Voting someone out of office never brings clarity or specificity to the reason they were tossed out, meanwhile comment is available for fine tunning "mistakes" of federal agencies. Granted the courts apply something like rational basis which is more or less a rubber stamp unless the regulation/rule/ajudication was "arbitrary and capricious".

In some sense the rulemaking procedures of the Administrative branch of government are more open to influence than the legistlative branch.

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