Congress  Chapter 11
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Congress  Chapter 11 Congress Chapter 11 Presentation Transcript

  • Congress – Chapter 11 AP U.S. Government & Politics Mr. S. Kolesar, 3/2008
  • The Ultimate Power Broker?
    • “ First Branch” of American gov’t
    • Power of the purse
    • Can pass a law over exec. veto
    • Can expand or contract the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
  • Congress v. Parliament
    • Candidates elected through primaries, little party influence
    • Less powerful – people select the executive
    • Free to express views and vote as they wish
    • Principal daily work = representation & action (mostly in committees)
    • Membership & loyalty through national party organizations
    • Majority party controls gov’t, i.e. – selects prime minister etc…
    • All party members vote together – won’t get re-nominated if you don’t
    • Principal daily work = debate
  • Congress v. Parliament
    • Independent
    • Decent salary, up to 22 staffers, “franking privilege”, large office budgets
    • More concerned with own constituencies and careers
    • Decentralized institution
    • Lack of independence
    • Poorly paid, tiny staff, tiny budgets
    • More concerned with party activities
    • Centralized institution
  • The Evolution of Congress
    • Founders created a bicameral (two-house) legislature
    • Balance between large & small states
    • HOR elected directly by the people
    • Senate chosen by the state legislatures
    • Adjusted by Constitutional Amendment
    • Senators were elected by state legislatures.
    • In 1913, the 17 th Amendment led to the direct election of Senators (1913)
    • Increased voters’ power and reduced corruption in Senate
    17th AMENDMENT
  • Evolution of Congress
    • Periods of strong central leadership
    • Current trend towards decentralizing decision-making and enhancing the power of the individual member
    • Ex. HOR all-powerful speaker or ?
    • HOR size creates issues in balancing power
  • Evolution of Congress
    • The Senate size avoids some of the HOR issues
    • Easier to balance interests
    • Fixed size per state, not effected by the census
    • Filibuster – prolonged speech, or series of speeches designed to delay action is a part of the history of unlimited debate in the Senate
  • House History: Six Phases
    • The Powerful House - 1st 3 administrations
    • The Divided House – 1830’s through Reconstruction, divisive issue of slavery produced no true majorities or leadership in the House
    • The Speaker Rules - 1880’s to 1910
    • The House Revolts – 1910-1960’s, the speaker loses power to committees
    • The Members Rule – 1960’s to 1990’s, committee chairs lost power (not on seniority), individuals gained positions and power
    • The Leadership Returns – 1990’s to ? – Increased power back to the speaker, reduction in # of committees
  • differences Major Differences Between the House and Senate
    • Larger body 435 members
    • Based on Population
    • Shorter term = 2 years
    • Smaller constituencies
      • elected from districts
    • Younger membership
    • Less prestige
    • Lower visibility in news media
    • Congressmen or Representatives
    • At least 1 rep. per state
    • Elected by popular vote
    • Called the “lower house”
    • $174,000— 27 th Amendment
    • Smaller body 100 members
    • Equal Representation
    • Longer term 6 years - continuous body
    • Larger constituencies -elected from entire state
    • Older membership
    • More prestige
    • Higher visibility in news
    • Called Senators
    • 2 Senators per state
    • Chosen by state congresses until 17 th Amendment ---popular vote
    • Called the “upper house”
    • $174,000--- 27 th Amendment
    House of Representatives Senate
    • Powers only given to the House of Representatives.
    • Bring charges of impeachment.
    • Elects President if there is no majority in the Electoral College.
    • Elects its own officers.
    • Judges the qualifications and disciplines its membership.
    • Expel or censure members of the House.
    • The Constitution directs Congress to
    • Apportion or distribute the seats among the states in the HOR based on their POPULATIONS .
    • Every state is required to have one representative in the HOR.
    • Congress has changed the number of seats in the HOR as the nation has grown.
    • 65 Seats in 1789 to 1793
    • Increased to 106 from 1794 to 1800
    • 142 seats from 1801 to 1810
    • 186 seats from 1811 to 1820
    • By 1912, 435 seats
    • Article 1 of the Constitution directs Congress to
    • Reapportion or redistribute the seats in the HOR after each decennial census ….
    • Reapportionment Act of 1929
    • Permanent size of the House is 435 members
    • Census Bureau conducts a decennial census and reapportions the seats each state should have.
    • Submitted to the President , sends it to Congress
    • Both Houses have 60 days to approve it…..
    • If neither rejects the plan, it becomes effective.
  • CO 9 (8+ 1) MT 3 GA 15 (13+2)
    • Total Representatives = 535
      • Senate = 2 per state = 100
      • House of Representatives = 435
    • Parenthesis show + or – changes
    NV 5 (4+ 1) CA 55 (53+ 2) TX 34 (32+ 2) OK 7 (8-1) AZ 10 (8+2) WI 10 (11-1) WI FL FL 27 (25+2) MS MS 6 (7-1) NY 31 (33-2) NY PA IL 21 (22-1) CT 7(8-1) MI 17 (18-1) MI IN 11 (12-1) OH 20 (21-1) NC 15(14+1)
  • Who is in Congress?
    • Typical member = middle-aged, white male protestant lawyer
    • See chart on page 289
    • Trend = growth towards diversity (women, Hispanics, African-Americans), more in the HOR than the Senate, but still underrepresented as %’s of total population.
  • Who is in Congress?
    • Incumbency
    • Professional politicians
    • No term limits – 1995 HOR approved constitutional amendment – died in the Senate
    • Approximate 90% rate of incumbent re-election rate
  • Who is in Congress?
    • Marginal districts – winner gets less than 55% of the vote
    • Safe Districts – winner gets more than 55% of the vote
    • HOR trend = more towards safe districts
    • Why? Familiar name, party, franking, re-districting
  • Who is in Congress?
    • Party
    • 1933-1998 – 33 Congresses (a new Congress convenes every 2 years)
    • Democrats controlled both houses in 25, and at least 1 house in 28
  • Who is in Congress?
    • Why? Redistricting by Democratically controlled state leg., incumbency privileges, better, more-experienced candidates
    • 1990’s changes
    • Why? Mess in D.C., scandals, corruption, anti-professional politician attitude, redistricting, etc…
  • Do Members Represent Their Voters? (& the three theories)
    • Representational View – members want to get reelected and vote to please constituents. Big on hot issues, (civil rights, social welfare, gun control, abortion). Constituents often split on key issues.
    • Organizational View – Not essential to please constituents, as most do not know how their rep has voted, but important to please fellow members of Congress. Typically party-line voting, or through info from committees, etc…
    • Attitudinal View – So many conflicting views that they cancel each other out. Reps then vote on the basis of their own beliefs. Liberal v. Conservative, Democrats are more ideologically divided.
  • The Organization of Congress The Senate
    • Senate
    • Majority party chooses the president pro tempore (requirement by Constitution for a presiding officer in absence of the V.P.)
    President Pro Tempore Robert C. Byrd Democrat, West Virginia
  • The Organization of Congress The Senate
    • Majority Leader
      • Schedule business
      • Right to be recognized 1 st in any floor debate
      • Serve additional needs of senators
    • Minority leader
      • Serve the needs of the party
      • Mitch McConnell (Kentucky)
    • Whip
      • Party leader who makes certain that party members are present & vote the way of the party
      • Richard Durbin (Illinois)
    Majority Leader Harry Reid Democrat, Nevada
  • The Organization of Congress The Senate
    • Policy committees – chosen by both parties help schedule Senate biz
    • Dems – Steering Comm.
    • Repubs. – Committee on Committees
    • Both assign senators to standing committees
    • Huge for BOTH individual senators & their constituents
  • The Organization of Congress The Senate
    • Party control helps determine what issues get to the floor for a vote
    • Party leadership also helps set the ideological and regional balance of the committee members
  • The Organization of Congress The House
    • Party structure similar to that of the Senate
    • Leadership is more powerful due to rules due to size (435)
      • Debate restricted
      • Strict scheduling of business
    • Speaker elected by majority party
    • Current – Dem. Nancy Pelosi
  • The Organization of Congress The House
    • Duties of the speaker
      • Presides over all house meetings
      • Decides who is recognized to speak on the floor
      • Rules on relevance
      • Decides (generally) the committees to which new bills shall be assigned
      • Influences what bills will be voted on
      • Appoints members of special/select committees
      • Nominate the majority-party members of the rules Committee
      • Informal – patronage jobs, office space, etc…
  • The Organization of Congress The House
    • Majority Leader
      • The Majority Leader is the second-ranking official in the United States House of Representatives.  Congre-ssman Steny Hoyer, who represents Maryland's Fifth Congressional District, was elected House Majority Leader by the Democratic Caucus on November 16, 2006.
    • Minority Leader
    • Whips
    • See chart on page 300 (Wilson) for Party Leadership Structure of Congress
    • See diagram on page 301 for the layout of the U.S. Congress
  • Party Unity
    • Party polarization – a vote in which a majority of voting Democrats oppose a majority of voting Republicans
    • Seemingly the norm in the House & Senate
    • Ex Clinton’s impeachment
    • Partisanship
  • Caucuses
    • Caucus – an association of members of Congress created to advocate a political ideology or a regional or economic interest.
    • Members benefits:
      • Gaining information
      • I.D. as a “leader”
      • Showing concern over the issues
  • Caucuses
    • 6 Types of caucuses
    • Intraparty – members share a similar ideology
      • Ex. Dem Study Group
    • Personal Interest – form around a common interest on an issue
      • Ex. Human Rights
    • Constituency Concerns, National – established to represent certain groups
        • Vietnam Veterans
  • Caucuses
    • 6 Types of caucuses
    • Constituency Concerns, Regional – to represent regional concerns
      • Ex. Sunbelt Council
    • Constituency Concerns, state/district – to represent states/districts
      • Ex. Suburban
    • Constituency Concerns, industry – to represent certain segments of biz
      • Ex. Steel
  • The Committee System
    • “ Most important” organizational feature of the House and the Senate
    • Chairmanship, power, number & jurisdiction are all key components of (sub)committees
    • 3 Types of committees
      • 1. Standing – permanent bodies with specific legislative responsibilities
      • 2. Select – groups appointed for a limited purpose, usually lasting a few Congresses.
      • 3. Joint – both representatives & senators serve
      • Ex. Conference comm. – to resolve differences in the Senate & House versions of the same piece of legislation before passage.
  • The Committee System
    • Majority party typically takes the majority of committee seats, & name the chairman.
    • Ratios of members are (usually) similar to that in Congress
  • The Committee System
    • Standing committees are the most important – only ones that can (typically) propose legislation by reporting a bill to the floor.
    • House members usually serve on 2 standing committees & 4 subcommittees
    • Limited to one if you serve on an “exclusive” committee (Appropriations, Rules, Ways & Means)
    • Senators usually serve on two major and 1 minor committee & 7 subcommittees
  • The Committee System
    • Chairs are typically picked by seniority
    • Committee rules for the House & Senate are on pages 306 & 307 (Wilson)
    • Goals were to increase power of individual members at the expense of party leaders
    • Pros v. Cons ?????
  • The Organization of Congress Staffs an Specialized Offices
    • 1998 – Average Rep.
      • 17 assistants
    • Average Senator
      • 40+ assistants
    • Huge personal staffs + committee & research staffs = huge bureaucracy
  • The Organization of Congress Staffs an Specialized Offices
    • Tasks
    • Constituent Requests
      • Answering mail
      • Sending out newsletters
      • Meeting w/ voters
      • Devising proposals
      • Negotiating agreements
      • Organizing hearings
      • Drafting reports
      • Meeting with lobbyists
  • The Organization of Congress Staffs an Specialized Offices
    • In district or D.C.?
    • Legislators have offices in BOTH
    • Loyal to their “boss”
    • Increasing relied upon by their “bosses”
    • Results in staff to staff relations
    • Results in depersonalization of Congress
  • The Organization of Congress Staffs an Specialized Offices
    • Staff Agencies
    • Work for Congress as a whole
    • Examples –
      • General accounting Office (GAO) – 5,000 employees, head appointed by President
      • Congressional Research Service (CRS) – 900 employees, politically neutral
  • How a Bill Becomes a Law
    • USG_How_A_Bill_Becomes_A_Law.ppt
    • Or See pages 312-313 (Wilson)
  • Miscellaneous Facts About – How a bill Becomes a Law
    • “ All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House”
    • Most bills die in committee
    • A bill may be examined by several committees at one time – multiple-referral
    • Speaker of the House may send the bill to a 2 nd committee, or parts to separate committees – sequential referral
    • House uses several calendars for consideration of bills while the Senate uses only one.
  • Misc.Facts About – How a Bill Becomes a Law
    • A bill on a calendar does not assure action
    • House – (Powerful) Rules Committee governs this process
      • Closed rule – sets time limits on debate & forbids amendment except by sponsoring committee
      • Open rule – permits amendments from the floor
      • Restrictive rule – permits some amendments but not others
    • Bypassing the Rules committee
      • A member moves that rules be suspended 2/3 vote to approve
      • Discharge petition is filed
      • “ Calendar Wednesday” procedure
    • Bills stalled in committee can be “discharged” to the full floor
      • House – discharge petition – 218 members sign to get the bill out of committee then the house vote on that petition
      • Senate – a member can move for discharge, and the Senate votes on the motion
  • Misc.Facts About – How a Bill Becomes a Law
    • Senate
    • Bills may be considered at any time in any order by Senate majority
    • Majority leader sets the calendar with consultation from the minority leader.
    • Senate floor Debate
    • No limits on debate
    • Amendments can be offered at any time
    • Amendments do not have to be relevant to the bill
    • Cloture rule – to end or limit debate (to end a filibuster) – 16 senators petition 3/5 th ’s of Senators must vote for it.
    • Limits debate to 1 hour per senator
    • Double tracking allows the senate to set aside the filibustered bill and work on other issues “to keep the process going”
  • Misc.Facts About – How a Bill Becomes a Law
    • House
    • Quorum – minimum number of members who must be present to conduct business = 100 members
    • Committee of the Whole – whoever happens to be on the floor.
      • Can not pass a bill, but recommends it in its final form to the House for action .
      • Amendments are allowed, but must be germane to the purpose of the bill – no riders allowed
      • Bills usually passed in this form though
  • Methods of Voting
    • House
    • Voice vote – shout yea or nay
    • Division vote – members stand and are counted
    • Teller vote – pass between two tellers, one yea, one nay, and names may be recorded
    • Roll-call vote – answer yea or nay to your name. Electronically recorded.
  • Conference Committees
    • To reconcile a bill passed in the House & Senate in different forms
    • 3-15 members from each house, picked by chairman of standing committees
    • Legislation is often substantially rewritten
  • Conference Committees
    • Report from the committee is sent back to both houses for immediate review
    • It can be accepted or rejected, but not amended
    • Majority – accepted
    • Alternative – no bill at all for that session of congress
  • Reducing Power & Perks
    • Pork-barrel legislation
      • Bills that give tangible benefits to constituents in hopes of winning their votes
    • Franking privilege
    • Earmarks
    • See chart on page 322 (Wilson) for rules on congressional ethics
    • Senators and representatives are paid a salary of $174,000 a year.
    • Certain members, Speaker of the House and the Senate’s president pro tem , are paid more.
    • Constitution says that Congress fixes its own “ compensation .”
    • Check and balance: President’s veto and fear of voter backlash against a pay increase.
    • 27th Amendment: Congress can give itself a pay raise but takes affect after the next congressional elections.
    • Fringe Benefits “Perks” a benefit awarded to Congressmen because of their public service.
    • suite of offices
    • expense accounts
    • money to set up office in home district
    • phone & computer & broadcast services
  • BENEFITS Fringe benefits -- money for travel for members of Congress and their staff to home state or district Franking privilege -- free postal service on mail to constituents
    • Fringe Benefits
    • Low-cost health care
    • Low-cost life insurance
    • Generous pension plan
    • Free research service at Library of Congress
    • Low-cost meals at special dining rooms
    • Members of Congress are immune (protected) from arrest for noncriminal offenses while engaged in congressional business.
    • More importantly, the Speech and Debate Clause (Article I, Section 6, Clause 1) protects representatives and senators from suits arising from their official conduct.
    • Freedom From Arrest
    • Constitution grants
    • Freedom from arrest while traveling to and from legislative sessions.
    • This includes minor traffic violations , jury duty , and civil suits (not serious crimes).
    • Freedom of expression
    • “ protected speech”
    • Congressmen cannot be prosecuted or sued for libel or slander for speeches made in committees or on the floor of Congress
    • Or for what is printed in the Congressional Record .
    • Penalties for Misconduct
    • Censure : officially declaring disapproval of a member
    • Expulsion : removing a member from Senate and HOR.
    Privileges and Penalties