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Congress review

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  • 1. 1 Chapter 13
 Congress

  • 2. 2 Structure of Congress House Senate Membership 435 (by population) 100 (2 per state) Term of Office 2 years, all elected at once 6 years, 1/3 staggered terms Constituencies Smaller, by district Larger, entire state Prestige Less More
  • 3. 3 Organization ■ Bicameral (two chamber) legislature ■ House of Representatives ■ Senate Copyright © 2013 Cengage One of the most powerful Speakers of the House, Henry Clay, is shown here addressing the U. S. Senate around 1850. Library of Congress
  • 4. 4 Organization ■ Meet for two year terms beginning on January 3 of odd-numbered years; each term divided into two one-year sessions ■ President may call special sessions in case of National Emergency ■ Each house has its own leadership and rules
  • 5. 5 Election to Congress ■ apportionment - distribution among states based on population ■ reapportionment - redistribution of Congressional seats after census ■ congressional districting - drawing of Congressional districts by state legislatures ■ gerrymandering - drawing of Congressional districts to favor one party
  • 6. 6 Getting Elected to the Senate ■ Members originally chosen by state legislatures in each state ■ 1913 - 17th Amendment allows for direct election of senators by the people of the state
  • 7. 7 Incumbency Effect ■ name recognition ■ credit claiming ■ casework for constituents ■ franking privilege - send official mail using members signature as postage ■ media exposure ■ fundraising abilities ■ experience in campaigning ■ voting record
  • 8. 8 Term Limits ■ Several states have passed legislation establishing term limits for member of Congress ■ The Supreme Court ruled that neither states nor Congress may impose terms limits without a Constitutional Amendment
  • 9. 9 Leadership of House ■ Speaker of the House - presiding officer, most powerful member of House, assign bills to committee, control floor debate, appoint party members to committees ■ Majority leaders assists the Speaker ■ Minority leader speaks for the minority and organizes opposition
  • 10. 10 Leadership of Senate ■ US Vice President is the presiding officer of the Senate; may not debate, only votes to break a tie ■ President Pro Tempore - senior member of majority party presides in the absence of the Vice President ■ Majority leader is the most influential member of the Senate ■ Minority leader performs the same role as the House minority leader
  • 11. 11 Committee System ■ Most work done in committee, allows to divide work, study by experts, and speed up passage of legislation ■ Chairpersons selected on Seniority System (usually majority party member having the longest length of service) ■ Committee Membership reflects the party distribution of each house
  • 12. 12 The Organization of Congress: Committees! ■ Standing Committees - permanent and deals with specific policy ■ Select Committees - temporary, for specific purpose ■ Joint Committees - made up of members of both Houses ■ Conference Committees - temporary committee of members of both houses to resolve differences in a bill ■ Caucus - informal group with common purpose Copyright © 2013 Cengage
  • 13. 13Copyright © 2013 Cengage
  • 14. 14Copyright © 2013 Cengage
  • 15. 15 The Organization of Congress: Staff and Specialized Offices ! ■ Tasks of Staff Members (work for members of Congress, committees, and agencies) ■ Staff Agencies • Congressional Research Service (CRS) • General Accounting Office (GAO) • Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) • Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Copyright © 2013 Cengage
  • 16. 16 Roles of Members of Congress ■ policy maker - make policy through passage of legislation ■ representative - represent constituents ■ delegate - members vote on the wishes of constituents rather than personal opinion ■ trustee - listen to constituents, but vote based on own opinion
  • 17. 17 Roles of Members of Congress ■ constituent servant - help constituents with problems ■ committee member - serve on committees ■ politician/party member - support their party’s platform and get reelected
  • 18. 18 Privileges ■ allowance for offices in district/state ■ travel allowance ■ franking privilege ■ immunity from arrest while conducting congressional business ■ immunity from libel or slander suits for their speech or debate in Congress
  • 19. 19 Powers of Congress ■ Legislative - lawmaking ■ Expressed - Listed Article I, Section 8 ■ Implied - necessary and proper, or elastic clause ■ Limitations on powers - denied in Article I, Section 9 and the 10th Amendment
  • 20. 20 Powers of Congress ■ Nonlegislative - duties other than lawmaking ■ Electoral - House selects President if no electoral majority (270) ■ Amendments ■ Impeachments - House brings charges, Senate has trial ■ Executive Power - appointment and treaty approval ■ Investigative/oversight - reviews policies and programs of Executive
  • 21. 21Copyright © 2013 Cengage
  • 22. 22 How a Bill Becomes a Law ■ Introducing a Bill ■ Legislative Productivity ■ Study by Committee ■ Floor Debate – The House ■ Floor Debate – The Senate ■ Methods of Voting Copyright © 2013 Cengage
  • 23. 23 How a Bill Becomes a Law Copyright © 2013 Cengage
  • 24. 24 Legislative Tactics ■ Caucuses may form voting blocks ■ Bills die in Committee ■ Filibuster (unlimited debate) / cloture (limit to filibuster) - both Senate only ■ Pork-Barrel Legislation - provide funds/ projects to home state/district ■ Logrolling - giving support to gain support ■ Riders - Additions to legislation which have no connection Copyright © 2013 Cengage
  • 25. 25 Legislative Tactics ■ Amendments - additions or changes ■ Lobbying - trying to influence members of Congress ■ Conference Committee - may affect wording and final intent ■ Legislative Veto - rejection of Executive Branch action that was deemed unconstitutional in 1983
  • 26. 26 Influences on Congress ■ Constituents - the people they serve ■ Staff/other lawmakers ■ Party ■ President ■ Lobbyists and Interest Groups
  • 27. 27Copyright © 2013 Cengage
  • 28. 28Copyright © 2013 Cengage

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