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Congress

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Congress

  1. 1. The National LegislatureCONGRESS The House The Senate The Members
  2. 2. THE CAPITOL BUILDING
  3. 3. CAPITOL HILL
  4. 4. “THE FIRST BRANCH” Article I – Longest article Why is Congress the branch closest to “the people”? Envisioned as the strongest branch Power has shifted to the Executive Branch Primary job: Make Laws Where the public will becomes public policy
  5. 5. BICAMERALHistory Parliament bicameral Most Colonial legislatures bicameral Today, only Nebraska has a unicameral legislaturePractical CT CompromiseTheoretical “We pour legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it.” Is the Senate “undemocratic”?
  6. 6. TERMS 2 year terms Starts Noon, 3 rd day of January of each odd -numbered year 113 th US Congress today
  7. 7. SESSIONS When Congress assembles and does business Two sessions per term Meets virtually all year Adjourns several times for small breaksSpecial Sessions President only can call For emergency situations Only 26 – Truman 1948
  8. 8. THE HOUSE OFREPRESENTATIVES
  9. 9. HOUSE: SIZE & TERMS- Seats in the house are apportioned based on population Members of the House : Maryland: State with most: Sate with least: DC & other territories havenon-voting representatives
  10. 10. REAPPORTIONMENT Seats are redistributed after every censusReapportionment Act of 1929 House set at 435 members Census Bureau determines reapportionment
  11. 11. HOUSE ELECTIONS All seats up every 2 years Positives & Negatives? Party in power usually loses seats in of f-year elections Why? 1998: An exception
  12. 12. DISTRICTS Voters in each district elect one of the States representatives Single-Member Districts Each member represents roughly 650,000 people
  13. 13. GERRYMANDERING- Drawing districts toprovide a political benefit  Concentrate opposition voters in 1 or 2 districts (Packing)  Spread out the opposition thinly among several districts (Cracking)
  14. 14. SAFE DISTRICTS: FOR WHOM In last 20 years: 103 swing districts to 35 swing districts Good thing or bad thing? West Wing – Angel Maintenance (35 min mark) http://www.youtube.com/wat ch?v=V0CvmK0dVcI
  15. 15. WHO CAN BE IN THE HOUSE?Formal Qualifications 25 years old Citizen of the US for 7 years Inhabitant of the state from which elected NOT required to live in the district you are running forInformal Qualifications
  16. 16. THE SENATE
  17. 17. SENATE: SIZE & TERMS Two from each state _______ Designed to be a check on the House (c_________) 6 year terms No term limits Only 1/3 of Senate up for election at any 1 time How does length of term impact leadership style? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T38dhk4tr9o Strom Thurmond (R-SC) served in the Senate for 48 years.
  18. 18. SENATORIAL ELECTIONS Originally chosen by State legislatures “Millionaires’ Club” Which amendment called for direct election? At-large elections Represent entire states – How does this impact the way they lead?
  19. 19. WHO CAN BE IN THE SENATE?Formal Qualifications 30 years old Citizen for 9 years Inhabitant of the state from which elected Informal Qualifications http:// www.youtube.c om/watc h?v=0yld3EUItOo
  20. 20. PARTISAN MAKE-UP OF 113 TH CONGRESS
  21. 21. THE MEMBERS OF CONGRESSMost are… White Male 50s or 60s Lawyers Not a cross section of the nation’s population Average Senator serving a 2 nd term Average Representative has served 4 terms
  22. 22.  http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013 -01-10/the- 113th-congress-by-the-numbers
  23. 23. THE JOB: 5 ROLES1. Lawmakers2. Representatives of their constituents3. Committee Members4. Servants of their constituents5. Politicians
  24. 24. REPRESENTIN’Trustees Use their own judgment to make decisionsDelegates Do what “the folks back home” wantPartisans Vote in-line with the party leadership Which one is best?Politicos Seek a balance between the other 3 “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion” -- Edmund Burke English Politician (1729-1797)
  25. 25. COMMITTEE MEMBERS Each member sits on several committees Where most of the work is done Most bills die here
  26. 26. SERVANTS Solve problems constituents have with the bureaucracy Dedicated staf f to handle these requests How much time should members of Congress spend on this?
  27. 27. COMPENSATION $174,000 per year (more for leadership) Is this too much? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOPWbanYd 3g
  28. 28. WHAT ELSE DO WE GET? P__________ Travel allowance Franking privilege  More important or less important today? Health benefits & pension Library of Congress Free Parking Immunity from libel or slander charges – Why?

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