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Congress pwpt Presentation Transcript

  • 1. CongressChapter 12
  • 2. The Constitution and the Legislative Branch of the Government• Article I describes structure of Congress – Bicameral legislature • Divided into two houses • Each state sends two Senators regardless of population. • Number of representatives each state sends to the House is determined by state population.
  • 3. The Constitution and the Legislative Branch of the Government• Constitution sets out requirements for membership in the House and Senate – House – 25 years of age; reside in U.S. at least 7 years; serve 2 year terms • Directly elected, thus more responsible to the people – Senate – 30 years of age; reside in U.S. at least 9 years; serve 6 year terms ; originally chosen by state legislators, until 17th Amendment (1913) – Congressional members must be legal residents of their states.
  • 4. The Representatives and Senators• The Job – Salary of $158,100 with retirement benefits – Office space in D.C. and at home and staff to fill it. – 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. The Representatives and Senators
  • 7. Congressional Elections• Who Wins Elections? – Incumbent: Those already holding office. Figure 12.1
  • 8. 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.
  • 9. 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?
  • 10. 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.
  • 11. 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?
  • 12. How Congress is Organized to Make PolicyAmerican Bicameralism –Bicameral: Legislature divided into two houses.• The House • The Senate – 435 members, 2 year – 100 members, 6 year terms of office. terms of office. – Initiates all revenue – Gives “advice & bills, more influential consent”, more on budget. influential on foreign – House Rules affairs. Committee – Unlimited debates. – Limited debates. (filibuster) From Table 12.3
  • 13. How Congress is Organized to Make PolicyCongressional Leadership The House  The Senate – Lead by Speaker of the – Formerly lead by Vice House - elected by President. House members. – Really lead by – Presides over House. Majority Leader- – Major role in chosen by party committee assignments members. and legislation. – Assisted by whips. – Assisted by majority – Must work with leader and whips. Minority leader.
  • 14. The House of Representatives• Speaker – Presides over House – Official spokesperson for the House – Second in line of presidential succession (Others?) – House liaison with president – Great political influence within the chamber • Henry Clay, first powerful speaker (1810) • Joe Cannon (1903-1910), was so powerful, that a revolt emerged to reduce powers of the speakership. • Newt Gingrich (1995) • Nancy Pelosi – first woman speaker • John Boehner – current speaker
  • 15. Other House Leaders• Majority Leader (Eric Cantor, R-VA) – Elected leader of the party controlling the most seats in the House or the Senate – Second in authority to the Speaker—in the Senate, is the most powerful member• Minority Leader (Nancy Pelosi, D-CA) – Elected leader of the party with the second highest number of elected representatives in the House of Representatives or the Senate• Whips (Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, Steny Hoyer, D-MD)• Party caucus or conference – A formal gathering of all party members
  • 16. Party Structure in the House - Summary• Speaker of the House is leader of majority party and presides over House• Majority leader and minority leader: leaders on the floor• Party whips keep leaders informed and round up votes• Committee assignments and legislative schedule are set by each party
  • 17. The Senate• The Constitution specifies the vice president (Joe Biden) as the presiding officer of the Senate. – He votes only in case of a tie.• Official chair of the Senate is the president pro tempore (pro tem), currently Daniel Inouye (D- Hawaii) Primarily honorific – Generally goes to the most senior senator of the majority party – Actual presiding duties rotate among junior members of the chamber – True leader is the majority leader, but not as powerful as Speaker is in the House
  • 18. Party Structure in the Senate• President pro tempore presides; this is the member with most seniority in majority party (a largely honorific office)• Leaders are the majority leader (Harry Reid, D-NV) and the minority leader (Mitch McConnell, R-KY), elected by their respective party members
  • 19. Mitch McConnell a turtle?
  • 20. Party Structure in the Senate• Party whips: keep leaders informed, round up votes, count noses (Jon Kyl, R-AZ, Dick Durbin, D-IL)• Each party has a policy committee: schedules Senate business, prioritizes bills• Committee assignments are handled by a group of Senators, each for their own party
  • 21. The Senate• Senate rules give tremendous power to individual senators. – Offering any kind of amendment even if not germane – Filibuster (What was the change in 1975?)• Because Senate is smaller in size organization and formal rules have not played the same role as in the House.
  • 22. How Congress is Organized to Make Policy• The Committees and Subcommittees – Four types of committees: • Standing committees: subject matter committees handle different policy areas. • Joint committees: few policy areas- made up of House & Senate members. • Conference committees: resolve differences in House and Senate bills. • Select committees: created for a specific purpose.
  • 23. How Congress is Organized to Make Policy• The Committees and Subcommittees – The Committees at Work: Legislation and Oversight • Committees work on the 11,000 bills every session. • Some hold hearings and “mark up” meetings. • Oversight involves hearings and other methods of checking the actions of the executive branch. • As the size of government grows, oversight grows too.
  • 24. How Congress is Organized to Make Policy• The Committees and Subcommittees – Getting on a Committee • Members want committee assignments that will help them get reelected, gain influence, and make policy. • New members express their committee preferences to the party leaders. • Support of the party is important in getting on the right committee. • Parties try to grant committee preferences.
  • 25. How Congress is Organized to Make Policy• The Committees and Subcommittees – Getting Ahead on the Committee: Chairs and the Seniority System. • The chair is the most important position for controlling legislation. • Chairs were once chosen strictly by the seniority system. • Now seniority is a general rule, and members may choose the chair of their committee.
  • 26. How Congress is Organized to Make Policy• Caucuses: The Informal Organization of Congress – Caucus: A group of members of Congress sharing some interest or characteristic. – Caucuses pressure for committee meetings and hearings and for votes on bills. – Caucuses can be more effective than lobbyists.
  • 27. Congressional Caucuses• Caucus: an association of members of Congress created to advocate a political ideology or a regional or economic interest• Intra-party caucuses: members share a similar ideology• Personal interest caucuses: members share an interest in an issue• Constituency caucuses: established to represent groups, regions or both
  • 28. Congressional Caucuses
  • 29. How Congress is Organized to Make Policy• Congressional Staff – Personal staff: Work for the member. Mainly providing constituent service, but help with legislation too. – Committee staff: organize hearings, research & write legislation, target of lobbyists. – Staff Agencies: CRS, GAO, CBO provide specific information to Congress.
  • 30. The Growth in Staffs of Membersand Committees in Congress, 1930- 2000
  • 31. Constitutional (Formal) Powers of Congress• The authority to make laws is • Other shared powers shared by both chambers of – Declare war Congress. – Raise an army and navy – Coin money – No bill (a proposed law) – Regulate commerce can become a law without – Establish the federal courts and their the consent of both jurisdiction houses. – Establish rules of immigration and naturalization – Each chamber also has – Make laws necessary and proper to special, exclusive powers carrying out the powers previously listed as well. • Special powers – House – origin of revenue bills, impeachment, (but Senate tries) – Senate – treaties (2/3 vote), presidential appointments
  • 32. Table 7.1
  • 33. Three types of legislative actionDistributive LegislationRedistributive LegislationRegulatory Legislation
  • 34. The Congressional Process• Legislation: – Bill: A proposed law. – Anyone can draft a bill, but only members of Congress can introduce them. – More rules in the House than in the Senate. – Party leaders play a vital role in steering bills through both houses, but less in the Senate. – Countless influences on the legislative process.
  • 35. The Congressional Process• How a Bill Becomes a Law (Figure 12.2)
  • 36. The Congressional Process• Presidents and Congress: Partners and Protagonists – Presidents have many resources to influence Congress (often called the “Chief Legislator”). – In order to “win” in Congress, the president must win several battles in each house. – Presidential leadership of Congress is at the margins and is most effective as a facilitator.
  • 37. The Congressional Process• Party, Constituency, and Ideology – Party Influence: Party leaders cannot force party members to vote a particular way, but many do vote along party lines. – Constituency versus Ideology: Most constituents are uninformed about their member. It is difficult for constituents to influence their member, but on controversial issues members can not ignore constituents.
  • 38. The Congressional Process• Lobbyists and Interest Groups – There are several thousand lobbyists trying to influence Congress - the bigger the issue, the more lobbyists will be working on it. – Lobbyists can be ignored, shunned and even regulated by Congress. – Ultimately, it is a combination of lobbyists and others that influence members of Congress.
  • 39. Understanding Congress• Congress and Democracy – Leadership and committee assignments are not representative. – Congress does try to respond to what the people want, but some argue it could do a better job. – Members of Congress are responsive to the people, if the people make clear what they want.
  • 40. Understanding Congress• Congress and Democracy – Representation versus Effectiveness • Congress is responsive to so many interests that policy is uncoordinated, fragmented, and decentralized. • Congress is so representative that it is incapable of taking decisive action to deal with difficult problems. • Defenders argue because Congress is decentralized, there is no oligarchy to prevent comprehensive action.
  • 41. 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.