Structure of CongressUnited States United StatesHouse of Representatives Senate 25 years old 30 years old 7 years a citizen of the US 9 years a citizen of the US 2 year term 6 year term A citizen of the state A citizen of the state represented represented No term limits No term limits Original number was 65; in 1911, the size was limited to 2 Senators per state, 435. originally elected by State The 435 are reapportioned legislatures; in 1913, the among the states every 10 17th Amendment provided years after the census is taken for direct election of Senators
Constitutional PowersArticle I, Section 8: (Enumerated Powers) Lay and collect taxes, duties, imports and excises Borrow money Regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the states Establish rules for naturalization and bankruptcy Coin money Fix the standard of weights and measures Establish a post office and post roads Issue patents and copyrights Create courts Define and punish piracies Declare war Raise and support an army and navy Provide for a militia Exercise exclusive legislative powers over the District of Columbia and other federal facilities
Constitutional Powers – Elastic Clause Elastic Clause – Necessary and Proper Clause – allowed government 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.” McCulloch v. Maryland – creation of the National Bank using the Elastic Clause and Commerce Clause
Exclusive Powers of the HouseExclusive Powers given to the House Revenue Bills – must originate in the House. Although still around today, it has become blurred over the years. Often budget bills are considered simultaneously in both houses and tax policy has become a major initiative of the president. Impeachment Power – the authority to charge the president, vice president, and other “civil officers” with “high crimes and misdemeanors”
Exclusive Powers of the SenateExclusive Powers given to the Senate Major Presidential Appointments – must be confirmed by the Senate. The Senate offers “advice and consent” to the president by a majority vote regarding the appointments of federal judges, ambassadors, and Cabinet positions. Treaties with other nations – entered into by the president must be approved by a 2/3 vote of the Senate.
Evolutionary Powers Based of the Elastic Clause Oversight of the Budget – Congress reviews and restricts the annual budge prepared by the executive branch. When a law is passed setting up a government program, Congress must pass an authorization bill that states the maximum amount of money available. When the nations budget is set, only Congress can set the appropriations – the actual amount available in a fiscal year – for each program that is authorized. Investigation – Congress may investigate both issues that warrant study and wrong doings by public officials. (Examples: Watergate and Clinton-Lewinksy Hearings)
Congressional LeadershipCurrent US House of Representatives Speaker of the House – John Boehner (R - OH) Majority Leader – Eric Cantor (R - VA) Minority Leader – Nancy Pelosi (D - CA) Majority Whip – Kevin McCarthy (R - CA) Minority Whip – Steny Hoyer (D - MD)Current US Senate President of the Senate - Joe Biden (D)(VP) Majority Leader – Harry Reid (D - NV) Minority Leader – Mitch McConnell (R - KY) President Pro Tempore – Daniel Inouye (D - HA) Majority Whip – Dick Durbin (D - IL) Minority Whip – Jon Kyl (R - AZ)*Usually the same party holds both houses, occasionally there is a split Examples: 1983-1985, 2001, 2010-?
The Speaker of the House Most important leadership position in the House Position is provided for in the constitution, “the House shall choose their Speaker and other Officers” Today the majority party does the choosing Around the turn of the century, the speaker was all-powerful – a revolt by membership in 1910 gave some of the Speaker‟s powers to committees, but today‟s speaker still: Recognizing members who wish to speak Ruling on questions of parliamentary procedure Appointing members to select and conference committees Directing business on the floor Exercising political and behind-the-scenes influence Appointing members of the committees who appoint members to standing committees Exercising substantial control over which bills get assigned to which committees
House Leadership Majority Leader / Minority Leader / WhipsMajority Leader Often a stepping stone the Speaker‟s position Responsible for scheduling bills and rounding up votes for bills the party favorsMinority Leader Spokesperson for the minority party, and usually steps in the position of Speaker when and if his or her party gains a majority in the House.Party Whips Serve as go-betweens for the members and the leadership. They inform members when important bills will come up for a vote, do head-counts and pressure members to support the leadership.
Senate Leadership President of the Senate – Vice President of the US, can vote only in case of a tie and seldom attends Senate sessions. President Pro Tempore – elected from majority party, largely ceremonial position – official chair of the Senate, but since it has no real powers, the job of presiding over the Senate is usually given to a junior senator Majority Leader – most influential person in the senate. Has the right to be the first Senator heard on the floor Determines the Senate‟s agenda and usually helps assign committees Minority Leader – has as much power as the majority party is willing to allow Whips – same as the House
For tomorrow… Committee Structure Vocabulary test on Wednesday Test will be on Friday
Committees and Subcommittees Most of the real work goes on committees/subcommittees Bills are considered in committees and they investigate problems and oversee the executive branch. More than 11,000 bills are introduced in the House and Senate over the two-year life span of a Congress. (112th) Each bill is submitted to a committee, the majority of bills are pigeonholed (forgotten); most bills die on committee About 3000 staff assist the various committees conducting research, administrative and clerical work The bills that survive the subcommittee phase are then marked up (changed or rewritten) and returned to the full committee where they may be altered further. If the committee approves the bill, it will be sent first to the Rules Committee in the House, and then to the floor. The bill is sent directly to the floor in the Senate.
Types of Committees Standing Committee (most important) – handle bills in different policy areas, thus shaping legislation at a very critical point. House has 20, Senate has 16. Select Committees – formed for a specific purpose and are usually temporary. Example: Watergate, Select Committee on Aging and Select Committee on Indian Affairs. (SPECIAL) Joint Committee – similar to Select committees, but consist of members from both the House and Senate. Example, a Joint Committee was formed to investigate Iran-Contra in the 1980s and they oversee institutions such as the Library of Congress. Conference Committee – also consists of members from both chambers, but they are formed exclusively to hammer out differences between House and Senate version of similar bills. A bill goes to a conference committee after is has been approved in separate processes in the two houses, and a compromise bill is sent back to each house for final approval.
Standing Committees in CongressStanding Committees Standing CommitteesHouse of Representatives Senate1. Agriculture 1. Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry2. Appropriations * 2. Appropriations3. Armed Services 3. Armed Services4. Budget 4. Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs5. Education and the Workforce 5. Budget6. Energy and Commerce 6. Commerce, Science and Transportation7. Ethics 7. Energy and Natural Resources8. Financial Service 8. Environment and Public Works9. Foreign Affairs 9. Finance10. Homeland Security 10. Foreign Relations11. House Administration 11. Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs12. Judiciary 12. Health, Education, Labor and Pensions13. Natural Resources 13. Judiciary14. Oversight and Government Reform 14. Rules and Administration15. Rules * 15. Small Business and Entrepreneurship16. Science, Space and Technology 16. Veterans Affairs17. Small Business18. Transportation and Infrastructure19. Veterans Affairs20. Ways and Means *
Committee Membership Committee Membership is controlled by the parties, primarily the majority party Each member of the House usually serves on two standing committees, unless he or she is on an exclusive committee Appropriations, Rules or Ways and Means Each senator may serve on two “major” committees and one “minor” committee The chairman and a majority of each standing committee come from the majority party The remaining committee members are from the minority party, but they are always a minority on the committee. Assignments are based on the personal and political qualities of the member, his or her region and whether the assignment will help reelect the member. Committee chairmen are the most important shapers of the committee agenda. Their positions were made powerful by the House 1910 revolt, which transferred power from the Speaker to the chairmen. From 1910 until the early 1970s, chairmen were strictly chosen by the seniority system. In the early 1970s, the House decided to select committee chairmen by secret ballots from all of the majority members. (Further info on this later in PPT)
How are members assigned? Before Members are assigned to committees, each committees size and the proportion of Republicans to Democrats must be decided by the party leaders. The total number of committee slots allotted to each party is approximately the same as the ratio between majority party and minority party members in the full Chamber. Members are then assigned to committees in a three-step process. Each of the two principle parties in the House is responsible for the assigning its members to committees, and at the first stage, each party uses a committee on committees to make the initial recommendations for assignments. At the beginning of the new Congress, (1) Members express preferences for assignment to the appropriate committee on committees. Most incumbents prefer to remain on the same committees so as not to forfeit expertise and committee seniority. (2) These committees on committees then match preferences with committee slots, following certain guidelines designed in part to distribute assignments fairly. They then prepare and approve an assignment slate for each committee, and submit all slates to the appropriate full party conference for approval. Approval at this second stage often is granted easily, but the conferences have procedures for disapproving recommended Members and nominating others in their stead. (3) Finally, at the third stage, each committee submits its slate to the full Chamber for approval, which is generally granted.
The Rules Committee in the House Plays a key role in shaping legislation because it sets very important rules for debate when the bill is presented to the House after it leaves the committee. A Closed Rule (sometimes called a „gag‟ rule) sets strict time limits on debates and forbids amendments from the floor, except those from the presenting committee. Under closed rule, members not on the committee have little choice but to vote for or against the bill as it is. An Open Rule permits amendments and often has less strict time limits, allowing for input from other members. The Rules committee is controlled by the Speaker, and in recent years, has put more and more restrictions on bills, giving Rules even more power. A Restrictive Rule, permits certain kinds of amendments, but not others to be made into a bill on the floor.
Congressional ReformsReforms on the 1970s that further democratized the workings of Congress, it became known as the “Bill of Rights”House: Committee chairmen to be elected by secret ballot in party caucus (attempt to replace seniority system) No member to chair more than one committee All committees with more than twenty members to have at least four subcommittees (at the time Ways and Means had no subcommittees) Committee and personal staffs to be increased in size Committee meetings to be public unless members vote to close themSenate: Committee meetings to be public unless members vote to close them Committee chairmen to be selected by secret ballot Committees to have larger staffs No senator to chair more than one committee* This resulted in Proxy Voting… written authorization to cast another person‟s vote *
Congressional Reforms Cont.House Reforms in 1995 Banned proxy voting Limited committee and subcommittee chairmen‟s tenures to three terms (6 years) and the Speaker‟s to four terms (8 years) They allowed more frequent floor debate under open rules They reduced the number of committees and subcommittees They authorized committee chairmen to hire subcommittee staffsSenate Reforms in 1995 A 6 year term limit on all committee chairmen (no limit on the majority leader‟s term) A requirement that committee members select their chairmen by secret ballot
Other Information Multiple Referral – Congressional process whereby a bill may be referred to several committees Allows all voices to be heard, but often is time consuming and allows for greater negative input as well Committee of the Whole (only in the House), technically the House is the largest committee and it can act as a Committee, only needs 100 members. Quorum for the House itself is 218 Discharge Petition – device by which any member of the House after a committee has had the bill for 30 days, may petition to have it brought to the floor. (needs 218 signatures) – only used 24ish times successfully
For Tomorrow Vocab Quiz HW: House Ways and Means, Rules, Appropriations Resolutions, a Bill to Law and other options