The Legislative Branch

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The Legislative Branch

  1. 1. THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH Chapter 5
  2. 2. Focus
  3. 3. Agenda  Members of Congress  Organization of Congress  Powers of Congress  Passing a Bill
  4. 4. Members of Congress  Bicameral system  Article I  House of Representatives  Senate
  5. 5. Members: House of Representatives  435 members  Limit on members  1789 = 65 Representatives  Each member represents a Congressional District  Area of a state that includes about 600,000 people  Number of districts depend on a state’s population
  6. 6. Members: House of Representatives  Every 10 years, Congress decides how districts will be apportioned or distributed by using the Census.  If a state’s population increases  State will gain seats  If a state’s population decreases  State will lose seats
  7. 7. Members: House of Representatives  If a state loses or gains seats, district lines need to be redrawn  Gerrymandering is the practice redrawing district lines to favor a person or political group.
  8. 8. Members: House of Representatives  Gerrymandering in the Animal Kingdom
  9. 9. Members: House of Representatives  Congressional elections are held on even years  2010, 2012…  Each term is two years  If a representative dies, the state governor calls a
  10. 10. Members: House of Representatives  Qualifications according to Article I of Constitution:  Must be at least 25 years old  United States citizen for at least 7 years  Resident of the state represented
  11. 11. Members: House of Representatives Could these people run for the House of
  12. 12. Members: Senate  100 members  2 per state  1789 = 26 Senators  Senators represent whole state
  13. 13. Members: Senate  Elections are held on even numbered years  2010, 2012…  Each term is 6 years  If a Senator dies, the governor appoints a replacement until the next election
  14. 14. Members: Senate  Qualifications according to Article I of the Constitution:  Must be at least 30 years old  United States citizen for at least 9 years  Resident of the state represented
  15. 15. Members: Senate Could these people run for the Senate?
  16. 16. Members: Salary and Benefits  Annual salary of $165,200.  Members have offices in the Capitol building and receive an allowance to pay staff  Member perks:  Free trips of their home state  Mail official letters and packages for free
  17. 17. Members: Rules of Conduct  Rules of Conduct  Each house has its own written rules for conducting business  Constitution – Article I  The House Rules and Manual and The Senate Manual  Example: In the Senate Manual, it talks about a filibuster, or a method of delaying action on a bill by making long speeches
  18. 18. Members: Rules of Conduct  Expulsion  If a member commits a serious offense, the member could be expelled from office.  Expulsion means that a person must give up their seat.
  19. 19. Members: Rules of Conduct  Censure  Less serious offenses may bring a vote of censure, or formal disapproval of a member’s actions.  A censured member must stand alone at the front of the House or Senate and listen as their charges are read.
  20. 20. Organization: House of Representatives  The highest officer in the House of Representatives is called the Speaker of the House  Elected by members of the House to make sure that everything runs smoothly  Member of the majority party John Boehner (R)
  21. 21. Organization: House of Representatives  Duties of the Speaker of the House  Assign legislation to committees for discussion and preparation  Decide the legislative agenda for a session of the House  Decide when and who can speak on an issue  Duties of the Speaker of the House  Assign legislation to committees for discussion and preparation  Decide the legislative agenda for a session of the House  Decide when and who can speak on an issue
  22. 22. Organization: Senate  Constitution states that the Vice President is the presiding officer over the Senate.  When the Vice President cannot make it, the President Pro Tempore presides.  Members of the Senate vote for the President Pro Tempore.
  23. 23. Organization: Senate  Vice President and President Pro Tempore are mainly symbolic  Vice President Joe Biden President Pro Tempore Daniel Inouye
  24. 24. Organization: Party Leaders and Whips  In each house, members of the majority and minority parties have a floor leader and a whip.  Floor leaders act as spokespersons for their parties.  Work to persuade members of both parties to vote for specific laws. House of Representatives – Party Leaders Senate – Party Leaders Eric Cantor (R) Nancy Pelosi (D) Mitch McConnell (R) Harry
  25. 25. Organization: Party Leaders and Whips  Whips assist the floor leaders in communicating with party members.  “Whip” members into shape. House of Representatives – Whips Kevin McCarthy (R) Steny Hoyer (D) Senate – Whips Jon Kyl (R) Richard Durbin
  26. 26. Organization: Committees  Congress divides itself into different committees that focus on specific subject areas.  Examples: Education, Agriculture, Science, etc.  Led by a chairperson who guides and sets priorities for their committees.  Members are chosen by their political parties
  27. 27. Organization: Committees  Committees have 3 main roles  Research specific subjects – holding hearings to get advice from experts  Write legislation – write laws that are related to their specific subject areas  Decide whether to send legislation to the floor – important enough for a vote
  28. 28. Organization: Committees  There are four types of committees:  Standing  Joint  Select  Conference
  29. 29. Organization: Committees  Standing Committee  Permanent groups set up that are responsible for specific subject areas.  Divided into sub- committees  Examples  Veterans Affairs  Homeland Security  Agriculture  Education
  30. 30. Organization: Committees  Joint Committee  Permanent committees made up of members of both houses  They investigate issues and make recommendations but don’t write bills.
  31. 31. Organization: Committees  Select Committee  Committees created to study an issue or event  Examples:  Energy Independence and Global Warming
  32. 32. Organization: Committees  Conference Committee  Committees formed when the two houses can’t agree on the details of a bill
  33. 33. Organization: Committees  Facts of Congress
  34. 34. Powers of Congress: Expressed Powers  Expressed Powers  Powers specifically stated in Article I of the Constitution  Examples  Decide how to raise money by setting taxes and borrowing funds  Decide how to spend money for the benefit of the nation  Regulate commerce among states and foreign nations  Declare war  Coin money  Regulate process of becoming a citizen  Create post offices  Create an army/navy
  35. 35. Powers of Congress: Implied Powers  Implied Powers  Powers the Constitution gives Congress that are not listed in detail.  The Constitution gives Congress the power to “make all laws which shall be necessary and proper”.  This is known as the Elastic Clause.  Collect taxes – members don’t go collect taxes directly. Created the IRS.
  36. 36. Powers of Congress: Special Powers  Non-legislative and Special Powers  Related to placing checks and balances  Powers shared by both Houses  Investigate issues and events by holding hearings  Propose amendments
  37. 37. Powers of Congress: Special Powers  Unique Powers of the House of Representatives  Impeach, or formally accuse of wrong- doing, government officials – most importantly, the President.  Choose the President if there is no majority in the Electoral
  38. 38. Powers of Congress: Special Powers  Unique Powers of the Senate  Approve treaties  Approve presidential appointments  Conduct the trial when the House impeaches an official
  39. 39. Powers of Congress: Limits on Power  Ex Post Facto Laws  laws that make an act illegal, then allow the government to punish those who committed the act before it was made illegal.  Bill of Attainder  laws that provide for the punishment of specific people or group of people without a trial.
  40. 40. Powers of Congress: Limits on Power  Writ of Habeas Corpus  Right to know what you are tried for. Congress can’t take away this right except during civil war or invasion.  Cannot show favoritism or give titles of nobility.
  41. 41. Passing a Bill: Introduction  Introduction of a Bill  Any member of either house can introduce a bill  Ideas for bills come from the President, businessm en, farmers, and ordinary citizens.
  42. 42. Passing a Bill: Introduction  Bills can be introduced in both houses.  The only exception to this rule is an Appropriations Bill, or one approving the spending of money, which must begin in the House of Representatives.
  43. 43. Passing a Bill: Committees  Bill is sent to Committee  The Bill is sent to a standing committee. The subject of the bill determines which committee will receive the bill.  The committee can decide to:  Make no changes to the bill  Rewrite the bill  Ignore the bill which “kills” the chance of it becoming a law  Send it to a subcommittee for more study and investigation
  44. 44. Passing a Bill: Committees  If a bill is sent to a subcommittee:  The subcommittee then reports back to the larger committee and decides what to do with the bill.  The larger committee then votes to send it to the floor to be debated  If the floor votes “no”, the bill is sent back to the committees. If it votes “yes”, it is sent to the other house of Congress.
  45. 45. Passing a Bill  Once it is in the other house of Congress, it goes through the committee process again.  After the committee approves the bill, it will be debated and voted on.  If the vote is “no”, the bill is sent back to the committees. If the vote is “yes”, the bill is sent to a Conference Committee.
  46. 46. Passing a Bill: Committees  Bill is sent to Committee  The Bill is sent to a standing committee. The subject of the bill determines which committee will receive the bill.  The committee can decide to:  Make no changes to the bill  Rewrite the bill  Ignore the bill which “kills” the chance of it becoming a law  Send it to a subcommittee for more study and investigation
  47. 47. Passing a Bill: Committees  If a bill is sent to a subcommittee:  The subcommittee then reports back to the larger committee and decides what to do with the bill.  The larger committee then votes to send it to the floor to be debated  If the floor votes “no”, the bill is sent back to the committees. If it votes “yes”, it is sent to the other house of Congress.
  48. 48. Passing a Bill  The Conference Committee resolves any differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill  The Bill is sent back to both houses for a final vote
  49. 49. Passing a Bill  Approved bills are sent to the President who can sign the bill into law or veto it.  If the President vetoes the bill, it is sent back to the House and Senate where they can vote to override the veto with a 2/3 vote.  Finally the bill becomes a law
  50. 50. Passing a Bill  I'm Just a Bill

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