Rep. Alcee Hasting's Congress Commission Act

The "Congress Commission Act" is a bill that will be sponsored by Representative Alcee Hastings (D–FL), that would create a commission to analyze both the size of Congress and the method by which representatives are elected. The bill was originally introduced in the 105th Congress as HR 187 and has been re-introduced in each Congress since that time. See Rep. Hastings' 2001 letter to fellow members of the U.S. House, regarding the size of the body.


111th CONGRESS (2009-2010)
1st Session
H. R. 3972

To establish a commission to make recommendations on the appropriate size of membership of the House of Representatives and the method by which Members are elected.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Mr. HASTINGS of Florida (for himself, Ms. BORDALLO, Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA, Mrs. CHRISTENSEN, Ms. NORTON, and Mr. SABLAN) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.  A BILL To establish a commission to make recommendations on the appropriate size of membership of the House of Representatives and the method by which Members are elected. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ‘Congress 2014 Commission Act’.

 

SEC. 2. ESTABLISHMENT.

There is established a commission to be known as the ‘Congress 2014 Commission’ (hereafter in this Act referred to as the ‘Commission’).

 

SEC. 3. DUTIES OF COMMISSION.

The Commission shall--

(1) analyze the current size of the membership of the House of Representatives considering the requirement for the institution to carry out its responsibilities in an effective manner under the challenges of the new century;

(2) examine alternatives to the current method by which Representatives are elected (including cumulative voting and proportional representation) to determine if such alternatives would make the House of Representatives a more representative body;

(3) provide consideration to the continuing dissolution of adherence to the platforms and candidates of the Nation’s two major political parties as well as to the reduction in electoral participation by the citizenry;

(4) consider whether alternative methods of electing House Members might include more citizens in the electoral process;

(5) examine methods of providing greater representation in the House of Representatives for the people of the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands;

(6) to the extent necessary, formulate proposals for changes in the size of the membership of, and the method of electing Representatives to, the House of Representatives; and

(7) not later than the end of the One Hundred Twelfth Congress, submit to the President and the Congress a report of the work of the Commission, together with a draft of legislation (including technical and conforming provisions) to implement the proposals referred to in paragraph (6).

 

SEC. 4. MEMBERSHIP.

(a) Number and Appointment- The Commission shall be composed of 17 members as follows:

(1) 3 members appointed by the President.

(2) 10 members appointed by the House of Representatives, of whom 5 shall be appointed by the Speaker and 5 shall be appointed by the minority leader.

(3) 4 members appointed by the Senate, of whom 2 shall be appointed by the majority leader and 2 shall be appointed by the minority leader.

(b) Qualifications- In making appointments under this section, the appointing authorities shall make a special effort to appoint individuals who are particularly qualified to perform the functions of the Commission, by reason of either practical experience or academic expertise in politics or government.

(c) Terms and Vacancies- Each member shall be appointed for the life of the Commission. A vacancy in the Commission shall be filled in the manner in which the original appointment was made.

(d) Pay and Travel- Each member of the Commission, other than a full-time officer or employee of the United States--

(1) shall be paid the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay payable for level V of the Executive Schedule for each day (including travel time) during which the member is engaged in the actual performance of duties vested in the Commission; and

(2) shall receive travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in accordance with applicable provisions under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code.

(e) Quorum- Nine members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number may hold hearings.

(f) Chairman- The Chairman of the Commission shall be elected by the members.

(g) Meetings- The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairman or a majority of its members.

 

SEC. 5. STAFF.

(a) In General- With the approval of the Commission, the Chairman may appoint and fix the pay of not more than six individuals for the staff of the Commission. Such individuals may be appointed without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, and may be paid without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of that title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates, except that an individual so appointed may not receive pay in excess of the maximum annual rate of basic pay payable for grade GS-15 of the General Schedule under section 5332 of title 5, United States Code.

(b) Experts and Consultants- With the approval of the Commission, the Chairman may procure temporary and intermittent services in the manner prescribed in section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code, but at rates for individuals not to exceed the daily equivalent of the maximum annual rate of basic pay payable for grade GS-15 of the General Schedule under section 5332 of title 5, United States Code.

(c) Staff of Federal Agencies- Upon request of the Commission, the head of any Federal department or agency may detail, on a reimbursable basis, any of the personnel of that department or agency to the Commission to assist it in carrying out its duties under this Act.

 

SEC. 6. POWERS OF COMMISSION.

(a) Hearings- The Commission may, for the purpose of carrying out this Act, hold hearings, sit and act at times and places, take testimony, and receive evidence as the Commission considers appropriate.

(b) Members and Agents- Any member or agent of the Commission may, if authorized by the Commission, take any action which the Commission is authorized to take by this section.

(c) Mails- The Commission may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as departments and agencies of the United States.

(d) Administrative Support Services- Upon the request of the Commission, the Administrator of General Services shall provide to the Commission, on a reimbursable basis, the administrative support services necessary for the Commission to carry out its responsibilities under this Act.

 

SEC. 7. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act $5,000,000, to remain available until expended.

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SEC. 8. TERMINATION

The Commission shall cease to exist on the last day of the month in which its report is submitted under section 3.