The senate is scheduled to vote today on whether to debate the bill to make two new seats in the House of Representatives and give them to give Utah and D.C. My opinion on this can be found in an editorial at National Review Online (no, I didn’t write it, but it expresses the same position I hold). The one new thing I learned from that article was that the bill does not specify that Utah gets the second seat, but that it would go to “the state that stands next in line to receive a seat through the normal process of apportionment.” (currently Utah) I guess I did know that, but I did not realize the wording.
When I wrote about this issue in July I made much the same argument as NRO and stated that Utah had nothing to gain by pushing for a new representative with so little time before the next census. Representative Chris Cannon (R-Ut) points out that we do have something to gain – money. Sending a new representative earlier gives earlier seniority and allows for more pork money to be sent home from Washington. Unfortunately sending pork money home is exactly the way to buy votes for re-election.
I’m sure this sounds un-American of me but if the purpose of a representative is to send more pork home then we should reduce the size of the house to 250 or less rather than increase its size by 2. What we need in this country is not more money being passed around after filtering through the capitol. This only ties us to greater dependence on the federal government and gives more power to what was supposed to be a relatively weak central governing body.
UPDATE: The bill failed. But Senator Hatch promises to keep pushing for it until we pass his flag burning amendment. If we got him a recording contract in Nashville would he retire from the Senate?