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A Look At Senior House Members

January 11, 2012

Earlier today we talked about the proposed rule change that will alter the makeup of two of the most power committees in the House- Appropriations and Ways and Means. Instead of calling for the Speaker to appoint six members from the five old Congressional districts based on seniority, they would now use the new Congressional districts, still with six members each. The Speaker’s at large appointments would now increase from three to nine under the proposed rules. The total number of members would remain at 33 each, with no one serving on both.

I know a seniority list is going around the capitol, but without that benefit I have a rough look at that list, based on Congressional districts using all members elected in 2007 or before. Again, this isn’t exact and you have many members whose districts cross Congressional districts. For this, I tried to use the member’s hometown as the basis for the district that they were put in.

As has been talked about, the old rules would favor Democrats simply because many of them have been around for a very long time with the combination of safe, majority black districts along with ancestral Democrats still around.

Here is my seniority list based on Congressional districts

And, if we go down to six members from each district, twelve total for the two committees, here is the party breakdown based solely on seniority, using my list which may or may not be exact:

CD 1: 7 R/ 5 D
CD 2: 11 D/ 1 R
CD 3: 8 D/ 4 R
CD 4: 7 R/ 5 D

By mount count, that is 19 Republicans and 29 Democrats among those 48 members. The Speaker would be able to work with these numbers to even them out as best as he can for the GOP, and most of the at large appointments would likely to have to be Republicans at this point so they can maintain their majority.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. stogtvCharie Stogner permalink
    January 11, 2012 12:45 pm

    We need to do away with the seniority system and stop the practice of letting individual members of the legislature amass so much personal power. Let’s return government to the people and elect those willing to serve the public rather than their personal ambition.

    Remember it is those that are already had have been members that got us in the mess we’re in to begin with. Let new blood get us out.

  2. George permalink
    January 11, 2012 2:49 pm

    “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Animal Farm, Geo Orwell

  3. Bill Billingsley permalink
    January 11, 2012 7:36 pm

    I agree with Charlie, as I usually do. Seniority rules are fine when determining parking and seating in the chamber, but the Speaker has to be able to retain his party’s majority on these important committees. He has the votes to do it – eliminate this silly rule for Appropriations and Ways and Means.

  4. Dude permalink
    January 12, 2012 7:58 am

    One could argue that the entire concept of seniority is one of the largest contributors to the existence of career politicians. At all levels of legislatures. Instead of the citizen legislators our founders originally envisioned. It is what it is and there would have to be something in its place, but a thought.

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