Rural Bias in the Senate

Robret Waldmann

Gang of 6 senators who correspond to 6.5 representatives.

The US senate has an extreme rural bias. It has outdone itself by allowing Max Baucus to empower a bipartisan group of 6 senators to redesign health care reform. The states represented by the 6 senators (Iowa, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wyoming) have a total of 13 representatives so the committee consists of half of the senators from states with 13 representatives and corresponds to 6.5 representatives, that is, less than 1.5% of the house and roughly 1.5% of the population.

The 6 are a tad embarrassed by this and say they have tried to take urban concerns into account (that’s Democracy at its best — people counting on the consideration of people they didn’t elect). According to Washington rules it is much more important that the bill have bipartisan support than that it have input from people elected by a significant fraction of the population.

Given that priority, it’s not all that surprising that they have come up with the worst financing idea ever.