Congress
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    Congress Congress Presentation Transcript

    •  
      • Article I of the Constitution deals with Congress (Despite what Joe Biden says)
      • By far the longest Article
        • This suggests that the founders intended Congress to be the most powerful of the three branches of government
      • Section One: Bicameral legislature
      • Section Two: Length of terms for House members and qualifications for service
      • Section Three: Selection of Senators, length of terms
      • Section Four: Congressional election process
      • Section Seven: How a bill becomes a law
      • Section Eight: Powers of the legislative branch
    • Bicameral = From www.lshm.net
      • Constitutional Requirements
      Senate Must be 30 years old US citizen for 9 years State Resident House Must be 25 years old US citizen for 7 years State Resident
      • Senate – 26 members from 13 states
      • House – 65 members
      • No committees
      • 100 Senators
      • 435 Representatives (capped in 1912)
      • ~670,000 residents per district
      • Can this Congress accurately represent the will of the people?
      • 1 st Congress – 144 bills considered
      • Today – 6000-9000 bills per Congress
        • 3-5% passed into law
        • Allowances
        • -Representatives- ~$750k per year for staff
        • -Senators – based on population
        • Hours in session has gone from 800 to 1600
      • Congressional membership is largely dominated by:
      • Educated
      • White
      • Protestant
      • Men
    •  
    •  
      • Can a body this different from society as a whole truly be representative of the interests of all groups?
      • Does diversity matter?
    • The assigning by Congress of congressional seats after each census. State legislatures reapportion state legislative districts The redrawing of congressional and other legislative district lines following the census, to accommodate population shifts and keep districts as equal as possible in population Reapportionment Redistricting
      • “ Representatives…shall be apportioned among the several states…according to their respective Numbers”
      • Orders an “actual enumeration” (census) every ten years
      • Constitution does not specify the size of the House of Representatives
      • Current size of House membership set in 1912
        • Districts had about 200,000 people
      • Today, each Representative represents 670,000 people
      • The Constitution does not specifically require that all districts be of the same size
    • The U.S. Supreme Court originally declared issues of apportionment to be a “political thicket” that the courts should stay out of
      • Baker v. Carr (1961)
      • “ One person, one vote”
      • Tennessee’s districts were dated (1901)
      • Memphis was 10x some other districts
      • Felt they were underrepresented
      • Wesberry v. Sanders (1964)
      • - districts should have roughly equal population
      • - The Senate faces this same legitimacy problem
      • Each state has 2 Senators
      • Rhode Island = California
      • A bill can be stopped with Senators representing only 19% of the U.S. population
    •  
      • In almost all states, the process of redistricting must be undertaken every ten years to reflect
          • changes in the state’s overall population relative the the rest of the country
          • population shifts within the state
    • Gerrymandering The drawing of legislative districts for partisan advantage
    •  
      • Packing
      • Lumping opposition voters in one area
      • -Memphis
      • Cracking
      • Splitting up groups of voters so they lack a majority in any district
      • -Texas’ “Wars”
    • Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay worked with state legislative leaders to redraw districts every five years, bettering the Republican’s chances in upcoming elections
    • Affirmative Racial Gerrymandering Drawing district boundary lines to maximize minority representation
    •  
      • Iowa uses a complex computer system administered by a non-partisan commission to draw geographically compact and equal districts
    • From www.legis.state.ia.us
      • Only Constitutional requirements deal with age, length of citizenship, and residency
      • Informal Requirements
      From www.wpclipart.com , rifuture.org, www.flashreport.org , projectlogic.blogspot.com
    • From www.flagandbanner.com Political parties matter in multiple ways: - Only candidates from the two major parties can win most elections - If one party is dominant in a district, it is difficult to win from even the other major party
    • The recent Congressional elections show the importance of timing. Some incumbents lost reelection in relatively safe districts because of popular dissatisfaction.
    • From www.tull.no Running against a well-know and powerful opponent often generates an unfair fight.
      • Incumbency Advantage
      • Name Recognition
      • Franking Privilege
      • Administrative Staff
      • Constituent service
      • PACs, Interest Groups and Lobbyists
      • Media Access
      • Average House term reached 3 years in 1900
      • National government once weak
      • Pay was bad
      • D.C. was a swamp
      • Many quit on the job
      • In short, ambitious folks found happiness elsewhere
      • US Congress viewed as World’s most “professional legislature”
      • Prestige, pay, benefits are much better
      • High chance for re-election
      • Congress respected, yet hated
      • Twain: “There is no distinctively American criminal class except Congress”
      • “ The opposite of progress is Congress”
      • RealClearPolitics (October 2008):
        • 17% approve of Congress
        • 26% approve of Bush
        • On par with used car salesmen in perceived ethics
        • But people overwhelmingly support their own representatives
      • Congressional members criticize the institution, claim they are different
      • Franking Privilege
        • Members can mail newsletters, updates, surveys, other self-promotions on Congress’ budget
      • Pork Barrel
      • Constituent Service
      • Franking Privilege
        • Members can mail newsletters, updates, surveys, other self-promotions on Congress’ budget
      • Pork Barrel
        • “ bringing home the bacon”
        • Get federal funds for a local project
      • Constituent Service
    •  
    •  
      • Franking Privilege
      • Pork Barrel
        • “ bringing home the bacon”
        • Get federal funds for a local project
      • Constituent Service
        • Have the staff to respond to constituent’s needs
      • Lobby dollars provide incumbents with massive resources
      • Lobbyists will not “waste” money on challengers
      • Free advertising for incumbents
      • Laws have attempted to force equal coverage
      • Familiarity is a major boost in elections
        • Actors, athletes have faired well
      • Early on there were no true “leaders” in Congress
      • During this period all members were more or less equal
      • House of Representatives
      • Speaker of the House
      • Majority Leader
      • Majority Whip
      • Minority Leader
      • Minority Whip
      • Senate
      • President of the Senate
      • President Pro Tempore
      • Majority Leader
      • Majority Whip
      • Minority Leader
      • Minority Whip
      • First to speak on legislation
      • Gives permission to speak
        • Time limits on speaking
      • Assigns the Rules Committee
      • Assigns bills and time limits to committees
      • Often considered the second strongest man in Washington
      • House of Representatives
      • Speaker of the House
      • Majority Leader
      • Majority Whip
      • Minority Leader
      • Minority Whip
      • Senate
      • President of the Senate
      • President Pro Tempore
      • Majority Leader
      • Majority Whip
      • Minority Leader
      • Minority Whip
      • Members can become policy experts
      • More issues can be considered
      • Legislators can be on committees relevant to constituents
      • Members of Congress are assigned to one or more permanent committees
      • These committees – known as standing committees – are where the bulk of Congressional work takes place
      • 1946: Legislative Preauthorization Act
        • Every piece of legislation introduced for consideration must first be referred to a committee
      • 1970s: House adopted process of multiple referrals
      Referral and Jurisdiction
    • Standing Committees
    • Standing Committees Subcommittees
      • Ninety percent of all measures get tabled in committee
      • Measures not tabled are given a hearing, occasionally with witnesses/experts
      Hearings
      • In this stage, the actual language of the bill is forged
      • Prime sponsor: member responsible for crafting the language
      Markup
      • Report : summarizes bill’s provisions and the rationale behind it
      • Rules Report : stipulates whether a bill is open, closed, modified or subject to the time-structured rule
      Reports and Rules Report
    • Standing Committees Subcommittees Select Committees
      • Select committees may conduct investigations or hold hearings, such as the investigations relating to the firing of several U.S. Attorneys, Iran-Contra, Watergate, etc.
      Bureaucratic Oversight and Investigations
    • Standing Committees Subcommittees Select Committees Rules Committees
    • Standing Committees Subcommittees Select Committees Rules Committees Joint Committees
    • Standing Committees Subcommittees Select Committees Rules Committees Joint Committees Conference Committees
    • How a Bill becomes a Law
      • The Process:
        • Bill Introduction
      • Any member of Congress can introduce a bill.
      • Individuals and groups outside of Congress also influence this process.
      From www.aramnaharaim.org , www.hposoft.com , www.dcgiftshop.com
      • The lawmaker that introduces a bill
        • Not necessarily the person that wrote it
        • Can include co-sponsors
      • Tax bills MUST begin in the House
      • House – bill dropped in the hopper
      • Senate – the Sponsor is recognized by the presiding officer and announces the bill
      • The Process:
        • Bill Introduction
        • Committee Process
          • Bill is referred to the appropriate committee
          • Up to 90% of bills die here
          • If approved, is sent to a subcommittee
      • Hearings are scheduled
      • “ Witnesses” generally supportive of the Subcommittee chair
      • Markup
      • Report to the full committee
      • The Process:
        • Bill Introduction
        • Committee Process
        • Floor Action
      • Filibuster
        • A tactic by whereby a minority of Senators prevent a bill from coming to a vote by holding floor, talking until other senators give in and bill is withdrawn from consideration
      • Cloture
        • A 3/5 vote that limits debate on a bill to 30 hours
      • Change the Senate Rules
      • Can be changed with a simple majority
      • Speaker decides what to hear
      • Suspension of the Rules
      • -requires 2/3 vote
      • Controversial bills go to the Rules Committee first
      • The Process:
        • Bill Introduction
        • Committee Process
        • Floor Action
        • Conference Committee
      • Members of each party from the House and Senate meet to iron out differences between the two versions of a bill
      • The Process:
        • Bill Introduction
        • Committee Process
        • Floor Action
        • Conference Committee
        • Presidential Decision
      • Sign the bill into law
      • Veto
    • President Bush used the veto power very little compared with other modern presidents. Presidential Decision
      • Bush – 12 (none in first term)
      • Clinton - 37
      • George H.W. Bush - 44
      • Ronald Reagan – 78
      • Clinton also utilized the line item veto
      • Sign the bill into law
      • Veto
      • Take no Action
      • -bill comes into law after 10 days
      • Pocket Veto
      • -if Congress adjourns before this 10 days ends, the bill is dead; process restarts
      • Enumerated Powers
      • Congressional power specifically granted in Article I of the Constitution
      Implied Powers Powers not specified by the Constitution. Implied as an extension of enumerated powers
      • Examples of enumerated powers:
        • Lay and collect taxes
        • Borrow money
        • Coin money
        • Regulate interstate commerce
        • Declare war
        • Raise an army and navy
        • Create inferior courts
    • The Congress shall have power …To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof. Necessary and Proper Clause Article I, Section 8
      • The necessary and proper clause is also called the elastic clause
      • United Government
      • One political party controls the presidency and Congress
      Divided Government One political party controls the presidency and the other controls at least one house of Congress