We need more Representatives in The House of Representatives
I'm very new to Debate.org as well as debating in general. I figured I would give this a try.
I'm interested in having a spirited discussion of the issues associated with Congress setting it's maximum size at 435 voting representatives for a population of over 313 million people.
I will be arguing in favor of the resolution.
Let's have a civilized debate. No biting and/or comparison of opponent's mother to various wild animals, please! :)
Provide the sources for any facts introduced in the debate.
4 rounds of debate: 1st round is for introductions only.
Last round is for conclusions/summary; no new material added in the last round.
This is my Debate.org debut, so please forgive me in advance if I don't know all of the nuances of debate!
I will be arguing that not only do we not need more Representatives, I will be arguing that the current amount is ineffective and needs to be reduced.
Although my opponent has not stated so explicitly, it was discussed in the comments and I requested that we have a shared BOP so that I may make arguments in my own favor as well (as opposed to just countering his).
With that in mind, I would like to wish my opponent good luck and let the games begin!
I thank my opponent for agreeing to this online debate and look forward to our discussion about the size of the House of Representatives.
I firmly believe that we can begin to fix our problem in Congress by increasing the size of the House of Representatives. A larger House of Representatives will create a legislative body that more closely resembles the personalities and values of the American people. Additionally, more Representatives will address the problems with campaign finance issues and reduce the need for Congressmen to spend inordinate amounts of time fund raising to keep their Congressional seats. A larger House of Representatives would also create a larger Electoral College which will reduce or eliminate the variances between the popular vote and the Electoral College in Presidential elections.
The only way to fix Congress is to allow more people into the process. A larger House of Representatives puts more people into the process. For these reasons, you should vote Pro on this resolution in all categories.
More Reps would more closely resemble the makeup of the American people.
The House of Representatives was designed to represent populations. In fact, our bicameral legislation came about via the Great Compromise that created two separate houses of legislature . The House of Representatives was designed to represent the population directly and the size of the House set its size after each census until the size of the House was permanently set at 435 via the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929.
A larger House of Representatives would more closely resemble the makeup of the American people. Average Americans have become fed up with those who are sent to Congress. According to a recent poll by Fox News:
"Dissatisfaction with Congress is so high that by a two-to-one margin voters think an “everyday American” could do a better job handling the country’s problems than most members of Congress (63-31 percent)."
A Pro vote signals that you believe that government legislation should be written and voted upon by a representative group of Americans.
More Reps would fix campaign finance issues.
Congressional campaigns cost significant sums of money. According to recent data:
"All candidates for the U.S. House and Senate raised about $1.2 billion in the first year-and-a-half of the election cycle, compared with just a shade under that at the same time in 2010 and nearly $945 million in 2008. The average Senate incumbent has an advantage of about 11:1 over the average challenger. House incumbents hold a 7:1 advantage over their challengers, on average." 
Those who are in Congress must spend inordinate amounts of time fund raising for their re election campaigns instead of reading legislation or serving their constituencies. Not only does this take the sitting member of Congress away from working for their constituents, but it discourages qualified challengers from mounting a re-election campaign for inability to raise large sums of money. We end up having many members of Congress running for re election with no challengers whatsoever. When the American people do not have a choice in Congressional elections because no challenger would (or could) run, our democracy fails.
Smaller Congressional Districts would not require as much campaign money because each Representative would campaign to smaller constituencies. Smaller constituencies would also be able to hold their Congressmen accountable by either advocating for a replacement, or mounting an election campaign of their own. Outside money, commonly coming in the forms of PAC contributions, would be less likely to target individual Congressional races when more Representatives exist.
More representatives in Congress will move representation away from outside funding interests and towards the constituency who votes. A Pro vote supports this notion.
More Reps would minimize, or eliminate, the issues occurring between the popular vote & the Electoral College.
Finally, we must discuss how the size of the House of Representatives affects the size of the Electoral College used to elect the President of the United States.
The size of the Electoral College is determined by the number of members of the House & Senate, with a Congressional Amendment giving 3 Electoral votes to DC. More Reps would give all states more electors in the Electoral College; therefore, a larger Electoral College would more closely resemble the popular vote.
If states choose to allocate their electors on a proportional or Congressional district basis, then Presidential elections will then have to develop campaign strategies for not only all states but all populations within states.
Adding seats to the House of Representatives will not only reform the House elections, but also reform the Presidential elections. This is precisely why a Pro vote to add more seats to the House of Representatives what we citizens must demand in order improve our Federal government.
In conclusion, Americans have become increasingly frustrated with the inability of Congress to get anything done. Americans have stated that average Americans can do a better job of running the country than the people we elect to Congress. Why can’t average Americans run for Congress? Simply put, an average American is not able to raise millions of dollars to mount a campaign to unseat an incumbent Congressman. In addition, Americans (as well as many on the Debate.org website) have decried a failure in the reliability of the Electoral College as it has often produced different results from the popular vote.
Just like a doctor must treat the cause of the problem and not the symptoms, we must also find out what causes an inability for average people to become Congressmen and why the Electoral College can produce significantly different results from the popular vote. The cause of both of these symptoms is a House of Representatives that has not appropriately expanded with the growing population of the US. An increase in the House of Representatives is long overdue, and we need to increase the size of the House right away.
I will disagree with your second point about fixing campaigns, I think it would make it worse. It would increase the amount of campaign funds that get thrown around because more people would have to be "influenced". It's a cynical view, for sure, but an accurate one no less.
My argument for reducing the number of representatives would be in the interest of streamlining the proceedings and increasing accountability.
The fewer people involved, the less squabbling. Something along the lines of diminishing returns.
With less people, there would be less money wasted on "insignificant" campaigns, as well as fewer people and offices to pay for. While the $174,000 yearly salary of each Congressman is insignificant, you have to include all of their offices as well, and the benefits related to that. I don't have solid numbers, but reducing the number of Congressman would be a significant amount of money wasted on their presence.
Additionally, Congressmen are typically captains of industry. Very productive members of society, or so we should believe. If these same people weren't wasting their time making no difference in Washington, they would be in their home states making actual changes.
All of this assumes that business as usual would run just as effective in Washington with less Congressman as it runs currently. It all is controlled mostly by special interests anyway, so why not let those people go back to their home states and be productive.
We have to remember what exactly Congressmen do in Washington. They pass bills. That's it. That's they're only job. Since Congress is effected most by majority public opinion and media anyway, it doesn't really matter how many of them there are. They know, just as well as everyone, that if majority public opinion is against something, it won't function. Regardless of how many Congressman there are, they still will only work in conjunction with the public interest, or at least, public consent.
So, if it doesn't matter... let's have less of them.
With that, I conclude my entire argument and again apologize to my opponent for not being able to conclude the debate. My opponent, of course is free to rebut my arguments and I'll read them when I get a chance to get back on the internet, but that won't be for over a week.
I'm saddened to read that my opponent is forfeiting this debate; however, I look forward to debating him in the future.
I believe that many of the points he raised could be easily refuted.
First, I believe that the argument about having fewer representatives in the name of efficiency is a flawed argument. The most efficient form of government would be rule by one individual (like a dictatorship); however, a dictatorship cannot faithfully represent its people. Fewer representatives in government move the power away from voters and concentrates power to an even smaller circle of individuals. I'm not a fan of moving in that direction.
Second, Con mentioned that government was controlled by special interest groups. This occurs because special interest groups can exert significant influence on a small number of individuals. Only increasing the size of the house moves power away from special interest groups, not the other way around.
As my opponent has forfeited, I'll stop at this point. I hope that everything is Ok with my opponent and look forward to debating him again.
One_Winged_Rook forfeited this round.
I'm afraid that my opponent has not made any new arguments in the prior round.
All of my prior assertions are affirmed and I await his summary rebuttal.
One_Winged_Rook forfeited this round.
|Agreed with before the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Agreed with after the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Who had better conduct:||-||-||1 point|
|Had better spelling and grammar:||-||-||1 point|
|Made more convincing arguments:||-||-||3 points|
|Used the most reliable sources:||-||-||2 points|
|Total points awarded:||5||1|