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  • 1. Unit 4 – Legislative Branch - Congress
  • 2. 1. Congress (legislative)
          • As a whole:
            • Coin Money
            • Declare War
            • Provide for navy and army
            • Regulate commerce.
            • No ex post facto laws or Bills of attainder
          • House of Representatives
            • Money bills must be introduced here.
            • Based on population
            • CA has most
            • PA has 19
            • Each state has at least 1
            • 435 members
            • Elected every two years.
            • Districts are large = only upper class could run for office.
  • 3. c. Senate
            • Upper house – 100 members
            • Elected by state legislatures until 17 amendment in 1913
            • Six year terms – detached from people
            • Only 1/3 of Senate up for election at a time – continuous body
            • Advice and consent to the President.
  • 4. E. Congressional Members
      • About $160,000 a year plus pension
      • Offices capital & in district, plus personnel.
      • Travel allowances and franking privileges.
      • Often requires 10 to 14 hour days, lots of time away from the family, and lots of pressure from different people to “do the right thing.”
  • 5. The Representatives and Senators
  • 6. Senator Bob Casey Jr. Senator Arlen Specter Congressmen Glenn GT Thompson
  • 7. 2. Structure
    • House of Representatives
      • 435 members
      • Speaker of House keeps order.
      • Nancy Pelosi is elected by majority.
    • Senate
      • 100 members
      • Vice President is President of Senate and casts tie breaking votes.
      • President Pro Tempore takes over occasionally – is senior member of the majority party. Senator William Byrd – 1952
  • 8. 3. Party Organization
    • Each party elects a leader to plan what topics they will discuss.
      • Majority leader in charge of majority party
      • Minority leader in charge of minority party
    • Each party elects a whip to keep party members in line. Second in command.
    • Conference leader in charge of elections – third I n charge.
    • The party with the most people is called the majority and with the least is called the minority.
    • The majority leader decides what issues they will vote on and how to set up committees. In House, Speaker has final say.
  • 9. 4. Business
    • Each house has a manual or rule book.
      • House rules are long and complex to size
      • Senate book is shorter and there is more individuality.
    • The parliamentarian makes sure the rules are followed.
    • Most members do not know all of the rules.
    • Bills are developed on behalf of constituents, lobbyists, party, or president.
    • Bills become laws and have to be passed by both houses.
    • Joint resolutions are shorter and become law, usually for the constitution.
    • Other resolutions do not become law – they are just declarations.
  • 10. 5. Committees
    • Lead by a chairperson – senior member of majority party.
    • Ranking member is the minority member with most seniority.
    • All committees are structured so the majority party holds more of the seats.
    • They decide what bills to review, when to meet, and what hearings to hold.
    • Each committee focuses on a specific topic like the military or science.
    • Most bills “die” in committee.
    • Many bills are referred to subcommittee.
  • 11. h. Policy
        • Standing committees: Permanent committee.
        • Joint committees: few exist. Made of both houses.
        • Conference committees: create identical bills.
        • Select committees: temporary and for something special.
  • 12. i. Assignments
        • Re-election and importance of committee are key.
        • Freshmen members let party leadership know their interests.
        • Support of the party leadership is key
        • Seniority is a big factor.
        • Importance to party electorate is significant.
  • 13. j. Structure of Committees
        • Chair is the best position.
        • Chosen by seniority system unless there is conflict with leadership.
        • Positions and committee assignments can change and are sometimes limited in term.
  • 14. k. Caucus
      • Group of members that share something in common.
      • Place pressure on members to vote a certain way on bills that are important to them.
      • Better than lobbyists.
  • 15. l. Employees
      • In each members’ office is a personal staff and Chief of Staff.
      • Staff of each committee track paperwork, schedule and hearings.
      • Agencies: CRS, GAO, CBO research special areas like the budget, auditing, etc.
  • 16. 6. History of the Congress 1789-1850
    • Meets first time in NYC in 1789.
    • Waited for new members to travel.
    • Hires clerks, sets up procedure.
    • NW territory established.
    • New states admitted (Vermont first).
    • Dominated domestic policy.
    • 1802 – Judiciary Act passed that shapes other branch.
    • 1812 – Declaration of War passed against Britain when asked for by President Madison.
    • Federalists oppose it and the party dies due to “lack of patriotism.”
    • 1820 – Missouri Compromise
      • Missouri became a slave state.
      • Maine becomes a free state.
      • The 36 – 30 line divides the nation between slave and free.
      • Slaveholder John Calhoun is against the bill, Henry Clay supports it.
  • 17.
    • 1824 – Speaker Henry Clay helps Congress choose John Q. Adams to be president, this angers A. Jackson.
    • Jackson becomes president and fights Congress to be the strongest branch.
    • Congress attempts to override vetoes of president.
    • Whig controlled Congress leans nationalist.
    • 1834 – Jackson is censured by Congress.
    • Slavery is most divisive issue and is sectional.
    • 1836 – Gag rule is placed so no one can talk about slavery.
    • Compromise of 1850 passed.
      • Sick Henry Clay designs it, Daniel Webster speaks on his behalf.
      • California becomes free state
      • Popular sovereignty allowed in Utah and New Mexico.
      • Texas paid for lost land.
      • Slave trade abolished in DC.
      • Fugitive Slave Act forces Northerners to help capture slaves.
  • 18. 7. Civil War and Reconstruction
    • 1856 – Kansas-Nebraska Act is presented by Sen. Stephen Douglas in hopes of winning presidency.
    • 1856 – Rep. Preston Brooks beats Sen. Charles Sumner with cane for insulting the South.
    • Both rewarded as heroes of their sections.
    • 1861 – Congressman who do not show up are kicked out.
    • Post war –
      • Congress passes the Tenure of Office Act.
      • Johnson violates when he fires the Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.
      • President Johnson is impeached by House, but not removed by Senate.
    • Radical Republicans in Congress run the nation and reconstruct the South.
      • Charles Sumner of the Senate and Representative Thaddeus Stevens lead.
      • They want equality for blacks.
    • Reconstruction ends when Congressional investigation gives presidency to Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. He promises to pull troops out.
  • 19. 8. Twentieth Century Congress
    • Congress is disturbed by overreach of president from TR to Wilson.
    • Isolationist Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge leads charge against League of Nations leading up to 1920.
    • Wilson and White House are weakened.
    • New Deal Democrats take charge of Congress, support FDR from 1930-1945.
    • Congress is weakened.
    • House Un-American Activities Committee and Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations look for Communists.
    • Nixon gains fame in House, but McCarthy is eventually censured.
    • McCarthy went too far and accused the Army of being communist.
    • Pork barrel spending skyrockets, especially with transportation bill in the 1950’s after the first Interstate Highway system was developed.
    • House investigates Watergate scandal, leads to Nixon’s investigation in the 1970’s.
  • 20. 9. Reagan Era
    • Senate investigates Iran-Contra scandal, where guns were traded for people.
    • Senate rejects Robert Bork for Supreme Court.
    • Republicans take back Congress in 1994.
    • Newt Gingrich (R) and Bob Dole (R) declare a “Contract with America.”
      • Balance the budget
      • Lower taxes
      • Have term limits
      • Equal to executive branch
    • Whitewater Investigation in House spreads to Monica Lewinsky affair.
    • Americans are upset over $10 million spent.
    • Republicans lose seats steadily for years.
  • 21. 10. How a Bill becomes a Law
    • Congressman creates a bill.
    • Goes to subcommittee.
    • Reviewed, then killed or moved to floor.
    • Goes to committee.
    • Repeat Step C.
    • Floor Debate occurs – decided by Majority Leaders.
      • House is limited to five minute speeches.
      • Senate may speak indefinitely (filibuster of 1957 over Civil Rights lasted over 24 hours).
    • May go to conference committee so bills are identical in both houses.
    • Repeat Step F
    • President can…
      • Signs into law.
      • Veto – Dies or goes back to Step F.
      • Pocket Veto – ignore it and it becomes law.
  • 22. Congressional Elections
    • Who Wins Elections?
      • Incumbent: Those already holding office.
    Figure 12.1
  • 23. Congressional Elections
    • The Advantages of Incumbents
      • Advertising:
        • The goal is to be visible to your voters.
        • Frequent trips home & newsletters are used.
      • Credit Claiming:
        • Service to individuals in their district.
        • Casework: specifically helping constituents get what they think they have a right to.
        • Pork Barrel: federal projects, grants, etc. made available in a congressional district or state.
  • 24. Congressional Elections
    • The Advantages of Incumbents
      • Position Taking:
        • Portray themselves as hard working, dedicated individuals.
        • Occasionally take a partisan stand on an issue.
      • Weak Opponents:
        • Most opponents are inexperienced in politics.
        • Most opponents are unorganized and underfunded.
      • Campaign Spending:
        • Challengers need to raise large sums to defeat an incumbent.
        • PACs give most of their money to incumbents.
        • Does PAC money “buy” votes in Congress?
  • 25. Congressional Elections
    • The Role of Party Identification
      • Most members represent the majority party in their district.
    • Defeating Incumbents
      • Some incumbents face problems after a scandal or other complication in office.
      • They may face redistricting.
      • They may become a victim of a major political tidal wave.
  • 26. Congressional Elections
    • Open Seats
      • Greater likelihood of competition.
    • Stability and Change
      • Incumbents provide stability in Congress.
      • Change in Congress occurs less frequently through elections.
      • Are term limits an answer?
  • 27. Understanding Congress
    • Congress and the Scope of Government
      • The more policies Congress works on, the more ways they can serve their constituencies.
      • The more programs that get created, the bigger government gets.
      • Everybody wants government programs cut, just not their programs.
  • 28. Questions
    • Who are bills made for and why?
      • Page 116
      • Skip to Bill Referral on page 118.
    • What ways can a bill be referred and what is the difference?
    • What can a committee do with a bill?
    • Why doesn’t a bill go straight from committee to the floor?
    • Who is involved in calling a bill to the floor?
    • What is the difference between debate in the House and Senate?
    • How do amendments impact the bill process?
    • How does a conference committee work to resolve differences and who sits on the committee?