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Congress Congress Presentation Transcript

  • Terms and Sessions of Congress • A term of Congress is 2 years long – First term was March 1789-March 1791 • A session of Congress is when they meet during a term (there is 1 session a year) – Sessions begin after Jan. 3rd --> last most of the year
  • • Adjourn - Congress will dismiss at the end of a session until the next year • Recess - Congress takes a break for a set # of days/weeks to go home • Special session - Congress can be called by the President during emergency situations
  • The House of Representatives • Made up of 435 members • The seats in the House are apportioned (distributed) based on state populations – The more people your state has, the more representatives you get in the House
  • Reapportionment • Seats in the House must be redistributed every 10 years (after the census) • Reapportionment Act of 1929: – House “permanently” has 435 seats – Census Bureau decides on the # of seats each state should get
  • Congressional Elections • Occur on the 1st Tuesday of November on even-numbered years (2004, 2008, 2012, etc.) • Off-Year Elections: occur between presidential elections (2006, 2010, etc.)
  • Districts • States are divided up into districts, or sections, and each district votes for ONE member to go to the House – (ex: TN has 9 districts that each vote for one representative = 9 representatives) – Each district must have about the same number of people as another district
  • • U.S. Congressional District Map • Directory of Representatives
  • TN Congressional Districts (9)
  • • We live in District 1 of TN (includes 12 counties) • Our U.S. Representative is Dr. Phil Roe
  • Gerrymandering • Drawing new districts to give an advantage to the political party in power in the State legislature – Districts can be drawn to contain a larger amount of one party so they win a majority in the district – or districts can be drawn to spread out the opposition so they don’t win the majority in any district
  • • Constituents – the people a Congressperson represents back home – Remember, members of Congress work for YOU.
  • Qualifications for House Members • Must be at least 25 years old • Must have been a U.S. citizen for at least 7 years • Must live in the state (and district) they are representing • Representatives have a 2-year term
  • Capitol Virtual Tour •
  • The Senate • 100 members (2 for every state) • Framers believed the smaller Senate would be more responsible than the House (who could easily be influenced by events) • Given a 6 year term and more qualifications than the House
  • Electing Senators • Elected by the people during the November elections • Each senator is elected from the whole state (NOT a district)
  • A Senator’s Term • Senators serve 3x longer than members of the House of Representatives • Continuous body - not all the seats of the Senate are up for grabs every election (only one Senator is elected in each election)
  • • Senators are more focused on the “big picture” of government, while the House is more personal with the people • Many presidential candidates come from the Senate
  • Qualifications for Senators • Have higher standards than House members: – Must be at least 30 years old – Must be a U.S. citizen for 9 years – Must live in the state that they are representing • Senators can be expelled for bad behavior by a 2/3 vote by the Senate
  • Sec. 4 - Congress as a Job Members of Congress are: 1.) lawmakers 2.) representatives 3.) committee members 4.) servants of their constituents 5.) politicians
  • How Do Members of Congress Represent the People When They Vote? • 4 ways they can vote: 1.) Trustee: vote according to their own judgment and conscience on an issue 2.) Delegate: they vote the way the people from their state would want them to 3.) Partisan: they vote according to what their political parties want 4.) Politico: tries to balance the trustee, delegate, and partisan options.
  • Homework • Write a half-page letter to me expressing to me whether you want to be in the Class House of Representatives or the Class Senate. – What qualifications do you have for this position? – Why should I put you in this chamber?
  • Ch. 11 Sec. 1- Powers of Congress Two views of the Constitution: 1.) strict constructionist - Congress can only have powers that the Constitution specifically gives them (AKA expressed powers) and the powers needed to carry them out (AKA implied powers) 2.) liberal constructionist - the Constitution is open for interpretation (which gives the National Government more power to lead the nation)
  • Expressed Powers of Congress Money Powers: • Tax - when the government charges people or properties to raise money to pay for public services and protection
  • What Congress Can’t Tax • Congress has to follow the Constitution when it taxes: – Can’t tax churches (1st amendment) – Can’t tax for personal benefit (only public good) – Can’t tax exports out of the country (only imports)
  • • Direct Tax - a tax paid directly to the government (ex: ownership of land) • Indirect Tax - a tax paid by one person then passed on to another (ex: cigarette companies pay a tax, which is then paid by people buying the cigarettes)
  • The Borrowing Power • No limits on how much money Congress can borrow or what it’s for • Public debt - all the money the government borrowed but hasn’t paid back + interest
  • The Commerce Power • The power of Congress to regulate, or control, foreign trade and trade between the states
  • • The Commerce Power is broader than just trade: also prevents discrimination between the states
  • Limits on the Commerce Power • Congress can’t: – Tax exports (goods leaving the country) – Can’t show state favoritism – Can’t make states trade with each other – Can’t interfere with the slave trade until 1808
  • The Currency Power • The power of Congress to print and regulate $$ MONEY $$ • Legal tender - money that someone must accept as payment (currency that is worth something) • Congress did not create a national paper currency until 1863
  • Other Expressed Powers of Congress War Powers - Only Congress can declare war and raise/maintain armed forces Naturalization - makes rules on how people become U.S. citizens Postal Power - can create post offices (and what you can and CANNOT mail)
  • • Copyrights and Patents – Copyright - the exclusive right to your own creative work (good for the life of the author + 70 years) – Patent - the exclusive right to manufacture and sell a new and useful invention(good for 20 years)
  • • Judicial Powers of Congress: – Create federal courts – Define federal crimes and punishments • Counterfeiting, piracy and felonies on the high seas, offenses against international law, and treason
  • Congress’ Implied Powers • Appropriate - to assign something for a specific use (ex: to appropriate funds for schools, etc.) • NECESSARY AND PROPER CLAUSE – Congress can make laws that are needed and reasonable in helping the government do its job
  • McCulloch v. Maryland • Congress created the Bank of the U.S. -A Maryland bank thought it wasn’t legal and tried to tax bank notes from the Bank of the U.S. -Justice John Marshall upheld the Bank of the U.S., saying it was Necessary and Proper in the Constitution
  • Nonlegislative Powers of Congress • 1.) Plays a part in amending the Constitution (2/3 vote…) • 2.) Electoral Jobs: – House can choose the president if no one wins the majority of votes (Senate chooses Vice-President)
  • Oh, the Scandal! Impeachment (to bring to trial) -gov’t officers can be taken out of office for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” -impeachment = majority vote in House -->a conviction = 2/3 vote in Senate
  • Process of Impeachment • BEGINS in the House: Judiciary Committee brings the case to the House floor – Majority vote --> the official is impeached • Evidence then SENT to the Senate: official is put on trial -2/3 vote is needed to convict (NO COURTS INVOLVED)
  • Executive Powers • The Senate must approve some things that the executive branch does – approves presidential appointments by majority vote (51+ votes) – approves treaties by a 2/3 vote (67+ votes)
  • Investigatory Powers • Congress can conduct investigations to: – Gather information for law-making – Focus public attention on an issue – Expose wrong-doings of the Executive Branch (known as congressional oversight) • an implied power of Congress to know what the Executive is doing