“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
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”?
TERMS 2 year terms Starts Noon, 3 rd day of January of each odd -numbered year 113 th US Congress today
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
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
REAPPORTIONMENT Seats are redistributed after every censusReapportionment Act of 1929 House set at 435 members Census Bureau determines reapportionment
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
DISTRICTS Voters in each district elect one of the States representatives Single-Member Districts Each member represents roughly 650,000 people
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)
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
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
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.
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?
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
THE JOB: 5 ROLES1. Lawmakers2. Representatives of their constituents3. Committee Members4. Servants of their constituents5. Politicians
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)
COMMITTEE MEMBERS Each member sits on several committees Where most of the work is done Most bills die here
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?
COMPENSATION $174,000 per year (more for leadership) Is this too much? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOPWbanYd 3g
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?