The U.S. Congress:The People’s Branch • The Role of Congress • A Bicameral Legislature • Senate vs. House • Organization & Leadership • The Committee System • Lame Duck Session
Learning Goal• Analyze Article I of the Constitution as it relates to the legislative branch, including eligibility for office and length of terms of representatives and senators; and election to office.• 10.12.a.1
Representation: Law Making: Consensus Building: expresses the creates bills to address issues reconciles competingdiverse views of the and solve problems in interests American people American society Key Functions of Congress Oversight: Approval: ensures that laws passed by confirms presidential Investigation: investigates government Congress are effectively appointees and carried out by the executive treaties (Senate agencies, including the White House---impeachment branch Only)
A BicameralLegislatureThe House Wing The Senate Wing “In order to control the legislative authority, you must divide it.” James Madison, Federalist No. 51 How will this set up protect Americans from tyranny?
The Well in the House Chamber House Office BuildingsSenate OfficeBuildingsVirtual Tour of the Senate Chamber
Differences Between the House and SenateThe House The Senate• Two year Term • Six year Term• 435 members • 100 members• Smaller constituencies • Larger constituencies• Less personal staff • More personal staff• Equal populations represented • States represented• Less flexible rules • More flexible rules• Limited Debate • Extended Debate• Policy Specialists • Policy generalists• Less media coverage • More media coverage• Less prestige • More prestige• Less reliance on staff • More equal distribution of power• More powerful committee leaders • 20 major committees• Very important committees • Nongermane amendments• Nongermane amendments (riders) (riders) allowed not allowed • Filibuster allowed• Important Rules Committee• Some bills are not allowed to be amended from the floor
Non Voting Members of the House 1 representative each: >>can participate in debate and on committees >>cannot vote Puerto Rico The District of Columbia American Samoa Virgin Islands
The House of Representatives: Requirements Must live in Must be 25 state and years or district older Must be a Must be U.S. citizen elected by the for at least 7 majority of years people in his/her Term begins on January 3 district and last for 2 years.650,000 people One of 435 other on average members of the House Compare to the Sen
The Senate: RequirementsMust live in Must be 30 yearsstate old Must be a U.S. citizen for at least Must be 9 years. elected by the majority of registered Term begins January 3rd voters living in and lasts for six years. the state 1 of 100 other Senators: 2/state Compare to the Hous
What do they both enjoy? Perks of the Office Office Expenses:Free Office Space $127,000 in D.C. (House)Free Office Space $474,000 Staff Salaries: (Senate) in State $632,000 (House) Free Parking on $2 million the Hill Several (Senate)Free Inexpensive Trips Home Health Care Salary: $165,200/year Franking Privilege: mailing “official business” (not campaign business) for free. Full Access to the Congressional Gym and Spa Immunity from Lawsuits for anything you say when in Congress
Leadership in the House & Senate How things are done in the two chambers affects what is done in the two chambers. The House is four times as big as the Senate.How do you think this affects how things are done?
Speaker of the House: John Boehner. Presides over the Chamber Decides Points of Order During Debate Refers bills and resolutions to the appropriateLeadership in the House of Representatives: committees Schedules legislation for floor action Appoints House members to committees Majority & Minority Leaders- Eric Cantor, Nancy Pelosi Appointed by parties to direct strategy on the House floor Maintains alliances to gain votes and to pass/defeat bills Formulates the party’s legislative agenda w/Speaker Majority & Minority Whips- Kevin Majority Minority McCarthy, Steny Hoyer Ensures that committee chairs take action on bills Leader Leader Aids the floor leader in developing &Democratic implementing party’s program transmits information to party members assists leaders in developing a count and a strategy for key votes builds coalition to pass bills and amendments Majority Minority gathers intelligence & uses persuasive tactics to Whip Whip garner more votes
The New Speaker of the House: John Boehner (R)Ohio Priorities : diminish the role of lobbyists insure that lawmakers have time to read legislation before voting on it. open House-Senate legislative negotiating sessions to the media make sure earmarks are identified by the name of lawmaker who sponsored it make sure earmarks are approved by policy making committees (oversight)
Regulates floor debate Sets limits on amendments Influences which bills do and do not get consideration Supports the agenda of the majority party Click here to view a special rule for a b .9 members from the majority party—chosen by the Speaker4 members from the minority party Is the Rules Committee democratic?
Vice President- Joe Biden Is the president of the SenateLeadership in the Senate: Democratic May not take part in the debate May try to influence a vote through contact with senators May recognize members and put questions to a vote May vote only in the event of a tie President Pro Temp- Daniel Inouye Presides when the vice president is not present Usually is the most senior member of the majority party Temporary Presiding Officer Presides when neither the vice president nor the president pro temp is present Usually a senior member of the majority party Majority & Minority Whips- Dick Durbin, John Kyl Serve the same function in the Senate as they do in the House Democratic Whip: Senator Barbara Boxer (California)
The New Majority Leader in the Senate: HarryReid Political Experience: Nevada State Legislature Lieutenant Governor Nevada Gaming Commission House of Representatives (1982) Senate (1986) Age: 67 Minority Leader (2005) Party: Democrat Majority Leader: 2007 Senators Durbin & Reid meet with P Religion: Mormon
Filibuster A senator refuses to give up the floor in order to prevent a vote. If 60 senators vote to end a filibuster, a vote must be held within 30 hours. (cloture) StromThurmond (1957) 24 hoursagainst civil Huey Long rights filibustered on Is the filibuster democratic? legislation behalf of the poor We’ll debate this more in class!
Congressional Committees Learning Goal:Analyze Article I of the Constitution as it relates to the legislative branch, including the roles of the House and Senate; impeachmentproceedings; the role of the vice president; and the enumerated legislative powers 10.12.a.1
“Congress in session is Congress on display. Congress in committee is Congress at work.” President Woodrow WilsonConcern of the Committee: Concern of the Congress: The Details of the Bill Full Scope of the Bill The Congress debates
View All Committees Here: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/congress/index.html Select Committees Standing Committees Joint Committees• Address • Address temporary issues of priorities in concern to Congress both chambers• Senate Select • Joint Committee Committee on Ethics on Economics Authorizing Appropriations Rules Budget• Make laws • Determines • Sets the • Raises $ for• Hold how much $ Rules appropriation hearings will be spent s to spend • Jurisdiction• Hearing • The of the Senate • House Ways Schedule Immigration Rules and Means Fence Committee Committee
Committee LeadershipIf you are chosen head of acommittee, you will:• Control your committee’s agenda• Schedule meetings and hearing of the full committee• Help schedule subcommittee hearings and meetings• Handle committee’s budget and staff• Serve as the committee’s spokesperson• Sit on House and Senate conference committees• Steer your party’s legislative agenda in the Senate Find out who’s on the new Democratic team here:
Criteria for Committee Assignments Party Loyalty: Geography: Essentially your Vacancies tend to voting record be filled with people from the same states Seniority: Numbers of years of service on a particular committee Attitude: Civil, cooperative & willing to compromise Preference: Senator Landrieu serves on Energy & Natural Resources, key issues for Louisiana
Closing Questions• What are the roles of Congress in our three branch government?• How is Congress structured and why? How does the structure of Congress affect the way that Congress functions?• Who has power in Congress and why?• What role do committees play? Are they democratic?
How a Bill Becomes a Law The Journey of a Bill
Learning Goal• Analyze the process by which a bill becomes a law• 10.12.a.1
Congress Makes Federal Laws Follow the bill as it moves through Congress
Introduction of the Bill • The bill can come from a variety of sources: • Individual citizens, • Special interest groups • Corporations, • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) • Only a member of Congress can introduce the bill • A bill can start in either House.
The Bill is Assigned to Committee • Each House has standing committees that consider their bills. • Each committee has a chair (from the Majority) and a ranking member (from the minority). • They “mark-up” (edit) the bill so it will pass on the floor. • They can also “pigeonhole” or kill the bill in committee. • The bill must also pass through the House Rules Committee.
The Bill is Reported To the Floor • If the bill is passed by the committee, it is sent to the whole House for debate and vote. • The committee has “reported the bill favorably to the floor.” • The Speaker determines which bills are discussed and for how long. • Committee chairs and ranking members give out time to debate to other members.
The Bill is Debated and Voted On in the House • Bills can be considered by the whole House at once: called “Committee of the Whole” • Votes are done electronically in the House. This is a role call vote. • A tote board on the wall shows the tally. Red = oppose. Green = Agree Yellow = Abstain • Votes can be taken by voice “yeas and nays” or a “teller vote” where members file past the sergeant at arms.
The Bill Goes to the Senate • The bill is sent to the US Senate. A Senate version is written with the letter S. and a number. House bills have HR. • As in the House, the bill must be referred to the appropriate standing committee. • Committees hold hearings and make changes to the bill. • The committee can ‘report” the bill to the Senate floor.
The Bill is Debated and Voted On in the Senate • The Senate Majority Leader determines which bills are scheduled, when and for how long. • As in the House, the bill must be referred to the appropriate standing committee. • Debate in the Senate is unlimited. Filibusters can be used by the minority to block bills. • 3/5 (60) of the Senate must agree to end debate (this is called “cloture”) • The Senate Rules committee is much weaker than the House’s.
Both Houses Must Pass the Bill • A simple majority in both houses is needed to pass the bill (51%). • In the House: 218 needed to control the House. • In the Senate: 51 senators needed to pass the bill (and control the Senate).
Differences Between Houses Must Be Reconciled • Each house passes its own bill. • Any differences must be ironed out and made into one bill. • The bill is considered by a conference committee, made up of both House and Senate members. • They negotiate and compromise and send the combined bill back to both houses. • A vote on the “conference report” must be taken and passed by both Houses.
The Bill is Sent to the President • The president can sign the bill if he wants it to become law. • He can include “signing statements” that say how the law should be enforced or if parts will not be enforced. • The president can veto or reject the bill. He must include his reasons and recommendations for correction. • The president can choose not to act on the bill. If Congress is in session, the bill becomes law after 10 days. • If Congress is not in session, the bill dies after 10 days. This is called a “pocket veto.”
The Bill Becomes Law • If the president vetoes the bill, both Houses can reconsider the bill. • Two-thirds (67%) of both Houses are needed to override the President’s veto. • In the House: 369 needed for override. Senate: 67. • If president signs the bill, it is a federal law that each state must follow.