Congress Chapter 11


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Congress Chapter 11

  1. 1. Congress – Chapter 11 AP U.S. Government & Politics Mr. S. Kolesar, 3/2008
  2. 2. The Ultimate Power Broker? <ul><li>“ First Branch” of American gov’t </li></ul><ul><li>Power of the purse </li></ul><ul><li>Can pass a law over exec. veto </li></ul><ul><li>Can expand or contract the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court </li></ul>
  3. 3. Congress v. Parliament <ul><li>Candidates elected through primaries, little party influence </li></ul><ul><li>Less powerful – people select the executive </li></ul><ul><li>Free to express views and vote as they wish </li></ul><ul><li>Principal daily work = representation & action (mostly in committees) </li></ul><ul><li>Membership & loyalty through national party organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Majority party controls gov’t, i.e. – selects prime minister etc… </li></ul><ul><li>All party members vote together – won’t get re-nominated if you don’t </li></ul><ul><li>Principal daily work = debate </li></ul>
  4. 4. Congress v. Parliament <ul><li>Independent </li></ul><ul><li>Decent salary, up to 22 staffers, “franking privilege”, large office budgets </li></ul><ul><li>More concerned with own constituencies and careers </li></ul><ul><li>Decentralized institution </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of independence </li></ul><ul><li>Poorly paid, tiny staff, tiny budgets </li></ul><ul><li>More concerned with party activities </li></ul><ul><li>Centralized institution </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Evolution of Congress <ul><li>Founders created a bicameral (two-house) legislature </li></ul><ul><li>Balance between large & small states </li></ul><ul><li>HOR elected directly by the people </li></ul><ul><li>Senate chosen by the state legislatures </li></ul><ul><li>Adjusted by Constitutional Amendment </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Senators were elected by state legislatures. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1913, the 17 th Amendment led to the direct election of Senators (1913) </li></ul><ul><li>Increased voters’ power and reduced corruption in Senate </li></ul>17th AMENDMENT
  7. 7. Evolution of Congress <ul><li>Periods of strong central leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Current trend towards decentralizing decision-making and enhancing the power of the individual member </li></ul><ul><li>Ex. HOR all-powerful speaker or ? </li></ul><ul><li>HOR size creates issues in balancing power </li></ul>
  8. 8. Evolution of Congress <ul><li>The Senate size avoids some of the HOR issues </li></ul><ul><li>Easier to balance interests </li></ul><ul><li>Fixed size per state, not effected by the census </li></ul><ul><li>Filibuster – prolonged speech, or series of speeches designed to delay action is a part of the history of unlimited debate in the Senate </li></ul>
  9. 9. House History: Six Phases <ul><li>The Powerful House - 1st 3 administrations </li></ul><ul><li>The Divided House – 1830’s through Reconstruction, divisive issue of slavery produced no true majorities or leadership in the House </li></ul><ul><li>The Speaker Rules - 1880’s to 1910 </li></ul><ul><li>The House Revolts – 1910-1960’s, the speaker loses power to committees </li></ul><ul><li>The Members Rule – 1960’s to 1990’s, committee chairs lost power (not on seniority), individuals gained positions and power </li></ul><ul><li>The Leadership Returns – 1990’s to ? – Increased power back to the speaker, reduction in # of committees </li></ul>
  10. 10. differences Major Differences Between the House and Senate <ul><li>Larger body 435 members </li></ul><ul><li>Based on Population </li></ul><ul><li>Shorter term = 2 years </li></ul><ul><li>Smaller constituencies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>elected from districts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Younger membership </li></ul><ul><li>Less prestige </li></ul><ul><li>Lower visibility in news media </li></ul><ul><li>Congressmen or Representatives </li></ul><ul><li>At least 1 rep. per state </li></ul><ul><li>Elected by popular vote </li></ul><ul><li>Called the “lower house” </li></ul><ul><li>$174,000— 27 th Amendment </li></ul><ul><li>Smaller body 100 members </li></ul><ul><li>Equal Representation </li></ul><ul><li>Longer term 6 years - continuous body </li></ul><ul><li>Larger constituencies -elected from entire state </li></ul><ul><li>Older membership </li></ul><ul><li>More prestige </li></ul><ul><li>Higher visibility in news </li></ul><ul><li>Called Senators </li></ul><ul><li>2 Senators per state </li></ul><ul><li>Chosen by state congresses until 17 th Amendment ---popular vote </li></ul><ul><li>Called the “upper house” </li></ul><ul><li>$174,000--- 27 th Amendment </li></ul>House of Representatives Senate
  11. 11. EXCLUSIVE POWERS OF THE HOUSE <ul><li>Powers only given to the House of Representatives. </li></ul><ul><li>Bring charges of impeachment. </li></ul><ul><li>Elects President if there is no majority in the Electoral College. </li></ul><ul><li>Elects its own officers. </li></ul><ul><li>Judges the qualifications and disciplines its membership. </li></ul><ul><li>Expel or censure members of the House. </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>The Constitution directs Congress to </li></ul><ul><li>Apportion or distribute the seats among the states in the HOR based on their POPULATIONS . </li></ul><ul><li>Every state is required to have one representative in the HOR. </li></ul><ul><li>Congress has changed the number of seats in the HOR as the nation has grown. </li></ul><ul><li>65 Seats in 1789 to 1793 </li></ul><ul><li>Increased to 106 from 1794 to 1800 </li></ul><ul><li>142 seats from 1801 to 1810 </li></ul><ul><li>186 seats from 1811 to 1820 </li></ul><ul><li>By 1912, 435 seats </li></ul>APPORTIONMENT
  13. 13. <ul><li>Article 1 of the Constitution directs Congress to </li></ul><ul><li>Reapportion or redistribute the seats in the HOR after each decennial census …. </li></ul><ul><li>Reapportionment Act of 1929 </li></ul><ul><li>Permanent size of the House is 435 members </li></ul><ul><li>Census Bureau conducts a decennial census and reapportions the seats each state should have. </li></ul><ul><li>Submitted to the President , sends it to Congress </li></ul><ul><li>Both Houses have 60 days to approve it….. </li></ul><ul><li>If neither rejects the plan, it becomes effective. </li></ul>REAPPORTIONMENT
  14. 14. CO 9 (8+ 1) MT 3 GA 15 (13+2) <ul><li>Total Representatives = 535 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Senate = 2 per state = 100 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>House of Representatives = 435 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Parenthesis show + or – changes </li></ul>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)
  16. 16. Who is in Congress? <ul><li>Typical member = middle-aged, white male protestant lawyer </li></ul><ul><li>See chart on page 289 </li></ul><ul><li>Trend = growth towards diversity (women, Hispanics, African-Americans), more in the HOR than the Senate, but still underrepresented as %’s of total population. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Who is in Congress? <ul><li>Incumbency </li></ul><ul><li>Professional politicians </li></ul><ul><li>No term limits – 1995 HOR approved constitutional amendment – died in the Senate </li></ul><ul><li>Approximate 90% rate of incumbent re-election rate </li></ul>
  18. 18. Who is in Congress? <ul><li>Marginal districts – winner gets less than 55% of the vote </li></ul><ul><li>Safe Districts – winner gets more than 55% of the vote </li></ul><ul><li>HOR trend = more towards safe districts </li></ul><ul><li>Why? Familiar name, party, franking, re-districting </li></ul>
  19. 19. Who is in Congress? <ul><li>Party </li></ul><ul><li>1933-1998 – 33 Congresses (a new Congress convenes every 2 years) </li></ul><ul><li>Democrats controlled both houses in 25, and at least 1 house in 28 </li></ul>
  20. 20. Who is in Congress? <ul><li>Why? Redistricting by Democratically controlled state leg., incumbency privileges, better, more-experienced candidates </li></ul><ul><li>1990’s changes </li></ul><ul><li>Why? Mess in D.C., scandals, corruption, anti-professional politician attitude, redistricting, etc… </li></ul>
  21. 21. Do Members Represent Their Voters? (& the three theories) <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>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… </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>
  22. 22. The Organization of Congress The Senate <ul><li>Senate </li></ul><ul><li>Majority party chooses the president pro tempore (requirement by Constitution for a presiding officer in absence of the V.P.) </li></ul>President Pro Tempore Robert C. Byrd Democrat, West Virginia
  23. 23. The Organization of Congress The Senate <ul><li>Majority Leader </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Schedule business </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Right to be recognized 1 st in any floor debate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Serve additional needs of senators </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Minority leader </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Serve the needs of the party </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mitch McConnell (Kentucky) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Whip </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Party leader who makes certain that party members are present & vote the way of the party </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Richard Durbin (Illinois) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>Majority Leader Harry Reid Democrat, Nevada
  24. 24. The Organization of Congress The Senate <ul><li>Policy committees – chosen by both parties help schedule Senate biz </li></ul><ul><li>Dems – Steering Comm. </li></ul><ul><li>Repubs. – Committee on Committees </li></ul><ul><li>Both assign senators to standing committees </li></ul><ul><li>Huge for BOTH individual senators & their constituents </li></ul>
  25. 25. The Organization of Congress The Senate <ul><li>Party control helps determine what issues get to the floor for a vote </li></ul><ul><li>Party leadership also helps set the ideological and regional balance of the committee members </li></ul>
  26. 26. The Organization of Congress The House <ul><li>Party structure similar to that of the Senate </li></ul><ul><li>Leadership is more powerful due to rules due to size (435) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Debate restricted </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strict scheduling of business </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Speaker elected by majority party </li></ul><ul><li>Current – Dem. Nancy Pelosi </li></ul>
  27. 27. The Organization of Congress The House <ul><li>Duties of the speaker </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Presides over all house meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decides who is recognized to speak on the floor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rules on relevance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decides (generally) the committees to which new bills shall be assigned </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Influences what bills will be voted on </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appoints members of special/select committees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nominate the majority-party members of the rules Committee </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informal – patronage jobs, office space, etc… </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. The Organization of Congress The House <ul><li>Majority Leader </li></ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Minority Leader </li></ul><ul><li>Whips </li></ul><ul><li>See chart on page 300 (Wilson) for Party Leadership Structure of Congress </li></ul><ul><li>See diagram on page 301 for the layout of the U.S. Congress </li></ul>
  29. 29. Party Unity <ul><li>Party polarization – a vote in which a majority of voting Democrats oppose a majority of voting Republicans </li></ul><ul><li>Seemingly the norm in the House & Senate </li></ul><ul><li>Ex Clinton’s impeachment </li></ul><ul><li>Partisanship </li></ul>
  30. 30. Caucuses <ul><li>Caucus – an association of members of Congress created to advocate a political ideology or a regional or economic interest. </li></ul><ul><li>Members benefits: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gaining information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I.D. as a “leader” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Showing concern over the issues </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. Caucuses <ul><li>6 Types of caucuses </li></ul><ul><li>Intraparty – members share a similar ideology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ex. Dem Study Group </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Personal Interest – form around a common interest on an issue </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ex. Human Rights </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Constituency Concerns, National – established to represent certain groups </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Vietnam Veterans </li></ul></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Caucuses <ul><li>6 Types of caucuses </li></ul><ul><li>Constituency Concerns, Regional – to represent regional concerns </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ex. Sunbelt Council </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Constituency Concerns, state/district – to represent states/districts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ex. Suburban </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Constituency Concerns, industry – to represent certain segments of biz </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ex. Steel </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. The Committee System <ul><li>“ Most important” organizational feature of the House and the Senate </li></ul><ul><li>Chairmanship, power, number & jurisdiction are all key components of (sub)committees </li></ul><ul><li>3 Types of committees </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1. Standing – permanent bodies with specific legislative responsibilities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. Select – groups appointed for a limited purpose, usually lasting a few Congresses. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3. Joint – both representatives & senators serve </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ex. Conference comm. – to resolve differences in the Senate & House versions of the same piece of legislation before passage. </li></ul></ul>
  34. 34. The Committee System <ul><li>Majority party typically takes the majority of committee seats, & name the chairman. </li></ul><ul><li>Ratios of members are (usually) similar to that in Congress </li></ul>
  35. 35. The Committee System <ul><li>Standing committees are the most important – only ones that can (typically) propose legislation by reporting a bill to the floor. </li></ul><ul><li>House members usually serve on 2 standing committees & 4 subcommittees </li></ul><ul><li>Limited to one if you serve on an “exclusive” committee (Appropriations, Rules, Ways & Means) </li></ul><ul><li>Senators usually serve on two major and 1 minor committee & 7 subcommittees </li></ul>
  36. 36. The Committee System <ul><li>Chairs are typically picked by seniority </li></ul><ul><li>Committee rules for the House & Senate are on pages 306 & 307 (Wilson) </li></ul><ul><li>Goals were to increase power of individual members at the expense of party leaders </li></ul><ul><li>Pros v. Cons ????? </li></ul>
  37. 37. The Organization of Congress Staffs an Specialized Offices <ul><li>1998 – Average Rep. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>17 assistants </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Average Senator </li></ul><ul><ul><li>40+ assistants </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Huge personal staffs + committee & research staffs = huge bureaucracy </li></ul>
  38. 38. The Organization of Congress Staffs an Specialized Offices <ul><li>Tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Constituent Requests </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Answering mail </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sending out newsletters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meeting w/ voters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Devising proposals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Negotiating agreements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organizing hearings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Drafting reports </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meeting with lobbyists </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. The Organization of Congress Staffs an Specialized Offices <ul><li>In district or D.C.? </li></ul><ul><li>Legislators have offices in BOTH </li></ul><ul><li>Loyal to their “boss” </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing relied upon by their “bosses” </li></ul><ul><li>Results in staff to staff relations </li></ul><ul><li>Results in depersonalization of Congress </li></ul>
  40. 40. The Organization of Congress Staffs an Specialized Offices <ul><li>Staff Agencies </li></ul><ul><li>Work for Congress as a whole </li></ul><ul><li>Examples – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>General accounting Office (GAO) – 5,000 employees, head appointed by President </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Congressional Research Service (CRS) – 900 employees, politically neutral </li></ul></ul>
  41. 41. How a Bill Becomes a Law <ul><li>USG_How_A_Bill_Becomes_A_Law.ppt </li></ul><ul><li>Or See pages 312-313 (Wilson) </li></ul>
  42. 42. Miscellaneous Facts About – How a bill Becomes a Law <ul><li>“ All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House” </li></ul><ul><li>Most bills die in committee </li></ul><ul><li>A bill may be examined by several committees at one time – multiple-referral </li></ul><ul><li>Speaker of the House may send the bill to a 2 nd committee, or parts to separate committees – sequential referral </li></ul><ul><li>House uses several calendars for consideration of bills while the Senate uses only one. </li></ul>
  43. 43. Misc.Facts About – How a Bill Becomes a Law <ul><li>A bill on a calendar does not assure action </li></ul><ul><li>House – (Powerful) Rules Committee governs this process </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Closed rule – sets time limits on debate & forbids amendment except by sponsoring committee </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open rule – permits amendments from the floor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Restrictive rule – permits some amendments but not others </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bypassing the Rules committee </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A member moves that rules be suspended 2/3 vote to approve </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discharge petition is filed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Calendar Wednesday” procedure </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bills stalled in committee can be “discharged” to the full floor </li></ul><ul><ul><li>House – discharge petition – 218 members sign to get the bill out of committee then the house vote on that petition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Senate – a member can move for discharge, and the Senate votes on the motion </li></ul></ul>
  44. 44. Misc.Facts About – How a Bill Becomes a Law <ul><li>Senate </li></ul><ul><li>Bills may be considered at any time in any order by Senate majority </li></ul><ul><li>Majority leader sets the calendar with consultation from the minority leader. </li></ul><ul><li>Senate floor Debate </li></ul><ul><li>No limits on debate </li></ul><ul><li>Amendments can be offered at any time </li></ul><ul><li>Amendments do not have to be relevant to the bill </li></ul><ul><li>Cloture rule – to end or limit debate (to end a filibuster) – 16 senators petition 3/5 th ’s of Senators must vote for it. </li></ul><ul><li>Limits debate to 1 hour per senator </li></ul><ul><li>Double tracking allows the senate to set aside the filibustered bill and work on other issues “to keep the process going” </li></ul>
  45. 45. Misc.Facts About – How a Bill Becomes a Law <ul><li>House </li></ul><ul><li>Quorum – minimum number of members who must be present to conduct business = 100 members </li></ul><ul><li>Committee of the Whole – whoever happens to be on the floor. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can not pass a bill, but recommends it in its final form to the House for action . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Amendments are allowed, but must be germane to the purpose of the bill – no riders allowed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bills usually passed in this form though </li></ul></ul>
  46. 46. Methods of Voting <ul><li>House </li></ul><ul><li>Voice vote – shout yea or nay </li></ul><ul><li>Division vote – members stand and are counted </li></ul><ul><li>Teller vote – pass between two tellers, one yea, one nay, and names may be recorded </li></ul><ul><li>Roll-call vote – answer yea or nay to your name. Electronically recorded. </li></ul>
  47. 47. Conference Committees <ul><li>To reconcile a bill passed in the House & Senate in different forms </li></ul><ul><li>3-15 members from each house, picked by chairman of standing committees </li></ul><ul><li>Legislation is often substantially rewritten </li></ul>
  48. 48. Conference Committees <ul><li>Report from the committee is sent back to both houses for immediate review </li></ul><ul><li>It can be accepted or rejected, but not amended </li></ul><ul><li>Majority – accepted </li></ul><ul><li>Alternative – no bill at all for that session of congress </li></ul>
  49. 49. Reducing Power & Perks <ul><li>Pork-barrel legislation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bills that give tangible benefits to constituents in hopes of winning their votes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Franking privilege </li></ul><ul><li>Earmarks </li></ul><ul><li>See chart on page 322 (Wilson) for rules on congressional ethics </li></ul>
  50. 50. COMPENSATION <ul><li>Senators and representatives are paid a salary of $174,000 a year. </li></ul><ul><li>Certain members, Speaker of the House and the Senate’s president pro tem , are paid more. </li></ul><ul><li>Constitution says that Congress fixes its own “ compensation .” </li></ul><ul><li>Check and balance: President’s veto and fear of voter backlash against a pay increase. </li></ul><ul><li>27th Amendment: Congress can give itself a pay raise but takes affect after the next congressional elections. </li></ul>
  51. 51. BENEFITS <ul><li>Fringe Benefits “Perks” a benefit awarded to Congressmen because of their public service. </li></ul><ul><li>suite of offices </li></ul><ul><li>expense accounts </li></ul><ul><li>money to set up office in home district </li></ul><ul><li>phone & computer & broadcast services </li></ul>
  52. 52. 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
  53. 53. BENEFITS <ul><li>Fringe Benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Low-cost health care </li></ul><ul><li>Low-cost life insurance </li></ul><ul><li>Generous pension plan </li></ul><ul><li>Free research service at Library of Congress </li></ul><ul><li>Low-cost meals at special dining rooms </li></ul>
  54. 54. LEGISLATIVE IMMUNITY <ul><li>Members of Congress are immune (protected) from arrest for noncriminal offenses while engaged in congressional business. </li></ul><ul><li>More importantly, the Speech and Debate Clause (Article I, Section 6, Clause 1) protects representatives and senators from suits arising from their official conduct. </li></ul>
  55. 55. <ul><li>Freedom From Arrest </li></ul><ul><li>Constitution grants </li></ul><ul><li>Freedom from arrest while traveling to and from legislative sessions. </li></ul><ul><li>This includes minor traffic violations , jury duty , and civil suits (not serious crimes). </li></ul>LEGISLATIVE IMMUNITY
  56. 56. <ul><li>Freedom of expression </li></ul><ul><li>“ protected speech” </li></ul><ul><li>Congressmen cannot be prosecuted or sued for libel or slander for speeches made in committees or on the floor of Congress </li></ul><ul><li>Or for what is printed in the Congressional Record . </li></ul>! &*X#X!! LEGISLATIVE IMMUNITY
  57. 57. <ul><li>Penalties for Misconduct </li></ul><ul><li>Censure : officially declaring disapproval of a member </li></ul><ul><li>Expulsion : removing a member from Senate and HOR. </li></ul>Privileges and Penalties