Legislative Branch – sec 1Creates lawCongressArticle I, Section I “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”
Bicameral Legislature – 2 houses Why?1.) Historical – British 3.) Theoretical – One Parliament had 2 houses house can “check the since 1300s, so its other. what they knew.2.) Practical – settled dispute between Virginia and New Jersey Plans. Reflection of Federalism.
Senate – equal representation – each state 2 senators.House of Representatives – representation based on population.
TermEach term of Congress lasts for 2 years.The first term began on March 4th, 1789 and ended March 4th, 1791. th20 amendment in 1933 changed this. They didnt need the travel time allotted by 1933 so the date was changed to January 3rd.
SessionsA session of Congress is that period of time during which each year, Congress assembles and conducts business.Sometimes the Congress will start a few days, or weeks, after January 3rd. This may happen if January 3rd falls on a Friday or a weekend.Congress adjourns, ends their session, as they see fit.No President has ever used their power of prorogue – which would allow them to end or discontinue a session.
Special Sessionused to deal with emergency situationsA President can call Congress into a special session and this has been done 26 times. The most recent was with President Truman in 1948.The Senate has been called into session alone 46 times but the House never has.
House of Represenatative – sec 2435 membersArticle 1, section 2, Clause 3 “the total number of seats in the House of Representatives shall be apportioned (distributed) among the states based on their respective populations.
Assignment of seatsEach state is guaranteed 1 seat. 7 states only have 1 seat. District of Columbia, Guam, the Virgin Island, and American Somoa have delegates but not full-fledged members. Puerto Rico has a resident commissioner.
Termis every 2 yearsno limit on how many terms you can serve.
ReapportionmentDecember census – every 10 years – Congress has to reapportion (redistribute) the seats of the House.Reapportionment Act of 1929 automatic reapportionment 1.) provided 435 seats – permanent size of House; 2.) Census Bureau (after each census) decides how many seats a state will have; 3.) President sends this plan to Congress; 4.) As long as neither House rejects it within 60 days it becomes effective.
Congressional ElectionsDate – Congressional elections are held on the same day in every state. Tuesday following the first Monday in November of each even numbered year.Off-year elections – Congressional elections that occur in the non-presidential years. Last held in 2010.
Districts428 districts within 43 states because 7 states have only one seat in House.Single member district – the voters in each district elect one of the States representatives from among a field of candidates running for a seat in the House from that district.General ticket system – all of the States seats were filled at- large – elected from the state as a whole rather from a particular district. Every voter could vote for a candidate for each one of the States seats in the House. done away with in 1842. With one vote, 7 states still do “at-large.”
GerrymanderingDrawing the districts so that they are to the advantage of the political party that controls the states legislature.The lines are drawn either: 1.) to concentrate the oppositions voters in one or a few districts, thus leaving the other districts comfortably safe for the dominant party. 2.) to spread the opposition as thinly as possible among several districts, limiting the oppositions ability to win anywhere in the region.
Gerrymandering GoalTo create “safe districts” - districts almost certain to be won by the party in control of the line-drawing process.
GerrymanderingNamed after Governor Elbridge Gerry of Massasschusetts who in 1812 drew the State legislative districts to favor the Democrat- Republicans.
Wesberry v. Sandersthe Supreme Court held that the Constitution demands that the States draw the congressional districts of substantially equal proportions.“One person, one vote rule.”
Gerrymandering based solely on race is a violation of the 15th amendment.You cant draw lines to include a majority of African-Americans and/or Latinos.
Qualifications for House MembersFormal 1.) Must be at least 25 years of age 2.) must have been a citizen of the United States for at least 7 years 3.) must be an inhabitant of the State from which he or she is elected Custom requires that a representative must live in the district he or she represents.
The House of RepresentativesIs the Judge of the Elections, Returns, and Qualifications of its own members. In 1900 they refused to seat Brigham H. Roberts of Utah because he was a polygamist. None since.
Ousted MembersOusted 5 members over 200 years. 3 in 1861 for supporting the rebellion Michael Myers (D., Penn.) 1980 for corruption James Traficant (D., Ohio) 2002 bribery, fraud, tax evasion.Disciplined Barney Frank (D., Mass.) 1990 relationship with a male prostitute.
Informal Qualificationsparty identification, name familiarity, gender, ethnic characteristics, and political experience.
The Senate – sec 3often called the “upper house”2 per state – 100 senators represent the 50 states.Election – Historically, the Constitution stated the th Senate would be chosen by State legislatures. 17 amendment in 1913 stated they would be picked by voters in each State at regular elections.
Senate Term6 year termNo limit on terms (Senator Robert Bryd, Democrat from West Virginia, 1958 to present.)continuous body – all of its seats are never up for election at the same time.Senators represent a larger constituency (the people and interest they represent) than the House. More focused on the “big picture.”
Senate Qualifications1.) at least 30 years old.2.) must have been a citizen for at least 9 years.3.) must be an inhabitant of the State from which he or she is elected.15 members have been expelled by the Senate 1 in 1797 and 14 during the Civil War.
Members of Congress535 members of Congress are not representative of the American people. Average is a white male in his early 50s.More women in Congress than ever.Nancy Pelosi (D. California) became Speaker of the House in 2007 until John Boehner took over in 2011.In the 106th Congress(House and Senate) there are 39 African Americans, 20 Hispanics, 8 Asians and one Native American. 58 women in the House and 9 female Senators. 10 Jewish Senators and 27 serving in the House.
5 Major Roles of Members of Congress1.) legislators2.) representatives of their constituents3.) committee members4.) servants of their constituents5.) politicians
Representatives of the PeopleTrustee – believe each question they face must be decided on its merit.Delegate – see themselves as agent of those people who elected them.Partisan – are lawmakers who owe their first allegiance to their political party.Politico – attempt to combine the basic elements of the trustee, delegate, and partisan roles.
Committee MembersBills are referred to committees to screen proposals.Oversight function – committees check to see that the various agencies in the executive branch are working effectively and acting in line with the policies that Congress has set by law.
CompensationSalary - $174,000Speaker of the House - $223,500Senates Pro tem and majority/minority floor leaders - 193,400
Non-salary Compensation“fringe benefits” special tax deduction – to help maintain 2 homes travel allowances small amounts for life and health insurance generous retirement plan franking privilege – they can mail letters and other materials postage free by substituting their facsimile signature (frank) for postage fine restaurants, 2-first rate gyms, Library of Congress services, free parking spaces.
Some people want to change this....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10i9-97sH00&safet
Politics of PayLimits Presidents veto Fear of backlash of constituents at the ballot boxMembership Privileges Immune from arrest Speech or Debate Clause protects representatives and senators from any kind of libel or slander