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Unit 4 general


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  • 1. Unit 4 – Legislative Branch – Congress What are the different parts and terms of Congress?
  • 3. Congress (legislative)
          • Coin Money, Declare War, Provide for army/navy, tax, borrow.
          • Commerce Power
          • Censures own members.
          • Uses oversight function to check executive branch.
          • Makes the law.
          • In charge of naturalizing new citizens.
  • 4. House of Representatives
            • Appropriation bills must be introduced here.
            • Population, number of members reapportioned every 10 yrs.
            • Elected every two years.
            • Districts are large = only upper class could run for office.
            • Gets to impeach
  • 5. Senate
            • Elected by state legislatures
            • Six year terms
            • Only 1/3 of Senate up for election at a time
            • Advice and consent to the President.
  • 6. Senator Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA) Senator Pat Toomey (D-PA) Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) Your Congressmen
  • 7. Structure
    • House of Representatives
      • 435 members
      • Speaker of House keeps order.
      • John Boehner (R-OH) is elected by majority.
    • Senate
      • 100 members
      • Vice President is Pres. of Senate and casts tie breaking votes – Joe Biden
      • President Pro Tempore takes over occasionally – sr. member of majority party. Senator Inouye
      • Majority Leader holds real power – Harry Reid (D-NV)
  • 8. Floor Leaders
    • Parties elect leaders to plan topics they will push.
    • “ Whips” = deputies that enforce partisanship
    • People divide into party caucuses
    • Party with the most people = majority & least = minority.
    • Majority leader decides issues they will vote on and how to set up committees.
  • 9. Business
    • Each house has a rule book.
    • Bills are developed on behalf of constituents , lobbyists, party, or president.
    • Bills are placed on a calendar for passage.
    • Bills become laws and have to be passed by both houses.
    • Resolutions
      • laws for the constitution.
      • Or declarations.
  • 10. Committees
    • Led by a chairperson – senior member of majority party.
    • 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.
  • 11. How a Bill becomes a Law
    • Congressman creates bill.
    • Goes to subcommittee.
    • Reviewed, then killed or moved.
    • Goes to committee.
    • Repeat Step C.
    • Floor Debate occurs – decided by Majority Leaders.
      • House is limited to 1 hour per party.
      • Senate may speak indefinitely (filibuster).
    • May go to conference committee so bills are identical in both houses.
    • Repeat Step F
    • President can…
      • Signs into law.
      • Law without signature – ignores bill while in session.
      • Veto – Dies or goes back to Step F.
      • Pocket Veto – ignore it out of session - dies.
  • 13. History of the Congress 1789-1850
    • Meets first time in NYC in 1789.
    • Hires clerks, sets up procedure.
    • 1802 – Judiciary Act shapes courts.
    • 1812 – Declaration of War passed against Britain.
    • 1820 – Missouri Compromise – by Henry Clay
      • Missouri -slave state.
      • Maine -free state.
      • The 36 – 30 line divides the nation between slave and free.
      • Slaveholder John Calhoun, abolitionist Daniel Webster supports.
  • 14.
    • 1824 – Speaker Henry Clay helps Congress choose John Q. Adams to be president over Jackson.
    • Jackson becomes president next & fights Congress to be strongest branch.
    • 1834 – Jackson is censured by Congress.
    • 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.
  • 15. Civil War and Reconstruction
    • 1856 – Kansas-Nebraska Act (popular sovereignty) presented by Sen. Stephen Douglas in hopes of winning presidency.
    • 1856 – Rep. Preston Brooks beats Sen. Charles Sumner with cane for insulting the South.
    • 1861 – Congressman who do not show up -kicked out.
    • Post war –Johnson is impeached by House, not removed by Senate.
    • Radical Republicans run the nation and reconstruct the South.
  • 16. Twentieth Century Congress
    • Isolationists led charge against League of Nations.
    • New Deal Democrats took charge of Congress, support FDR.
    • Un-American Activities Committees investigate Communists.
      • Nixon gains fame in House, but McCarthy is eventually censured .
    • Pork barrel spending skyrockets, especially w/ transportation bill in the 1950’s.
    • House investigates Watergate scandal, leads to investigation of Nixon.
  • 17. Reagan Era
    • Senate investigates Iran-Contra scandal, where guns were traded for people.
    • Republicans take back Congress in 1994.
    • Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and Bob Dole (R-KS) declare a “Contract with America.”
      • Balance the budget
      • Lower taxes
      • Term limits
      • Equal to executive branch
    • House impeaches over Monica Lewinsky affair perjury.
    • Republicans lose seats steadily for years. Pass Patriot Act and Iraqi War Resolution.
    • Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) first woman Speaker.
    • Current Speaker is John Boehner (R-OH).
  • 19. Problems
    • Can stall important legislation.
    • Lobbyists use cash contributions to campaigns and trips, to “convince” Congressmen to vote their way.
    • Congressmen use pork barrel projects or earmarks to get constituents to vote for them.
    • Projects are sometimes wasteful and benefit only a small group of people.
    • Unrestricted spending has led to a large debt.
    • Gerrymandering may occur.
    • Incumbents, people already in office, have many resources and are very likely to win re-election.
    • Two houses (one in DC, @ home)
    • Lots of travel, little time for family or relaxation
    • Can claim eminent domain .
  • 20. Interpretation
    • Some powers are actually expressed.
    • Others are implied or inherent , which are debatable.
    • Loose and strict constructionists have always argued about the meaning of the Constitution.
  • 21. Benefits
    • Keep in touch with constituents .
    • Franking privilege .
    • Broad powers are given by the Necessary and Proper Clause.
    • $174,000 salary