Monday, 9 March 2009
How many members are there in the House of Representatives?
Public Law 62-5 passed in 1911 limits the membership of the House to 435. Yet more than that number participate in the activities (in committee and on the floor)of the House. There are a number of "delegates" from places like the District of Columbia; the US Virgin Islands; and American Somoa. Puerto Rico is represented by a "Resident Commissioner". These may not vote in the whole House, but can vote in their committees.
The long running campaign for DC to have a representative rather a delegate has hit another road block last week - when the legislation was pulled from the floor. Experts argue that even if such legislation passes both Houses and is signed by the President, the Supreme Court will strike it down as unconstitutional.
CRS has published a short paper on the rights of the "non-members" at