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The Legislative Branch

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Chapters 10-12 Magruder's 2013

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Magruder’s 
American Government 
C H A P T E R 10 
Congress
C H A P T E R 10 
Congress 
SECTION 1 The National Legislature 
SECTION 2 The House of Representatives 
SECTION 3 The Senate 
SECTION 4 The Members of Congress
The Legislative Branch
The Legislative Branch
S E C T I O N 1 
The National Legislature 
• Why does the Constitution divide power 
between the two houses of Congress? 
• What is a term of Congress? 
• How have sessions of Congress changed over 
time?
The Legislative Branch
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The Legislative Branch

  • 1. Magruder’s American Government C H A P T E R 10 Congress
  • 2. C H A P T E R 10 Congress SECTION 1 The National Legislature SECTION 2 The House of Representatives SECTION 3 The Senate SECTION 4 The Members of Congress
  • 5. S E C T I O N 1 The National Legislature • Why does the Constitution divide power between the two houses of Congress? • What is a term of Congress? • How have sessions of Congress changed over time?
  • 7. Two Houses of Congress The Constitution creates a bicameral legislature for three reasons: Historical: The British Parliament consisted of two houses since the 1300s, and many colonial assemblies were similar in form. Practical: A bicameral legislature was necessary to compromise the Virginia and New Jersey plans of representation. Theoretical: The Framers favored a bicameral Congress in order that one house might act as a check on the other.
  • 9. Terms A term is the length of time that officials serve after an election, as in a two- or six-year term. The date for the start of each new term has been set by the Twentieth Amendment (1933) as “noon of the 3d day of January” of every odd-numbered year.
  • 11. Sessions of Congress A session is the regular period of time during which Congress conducts business. Congress adjourns, or suspends until the next session, each regular session as it sees fit. If necessary, the President has the power to prorogue, or adjourn, a session, but only when the two houses cannot agree on a date for adjournment. Only the President may call Congress into a special session—a meeting to deal with some emergency situation.
  • 14. Section 1 Review 1. The practical reason behind establishing a bicameral legislature was (a) the necessity to find compromise between the New Jersey and Virginia plans. (b) the need to mimic existing British institutions. (c) a desire to break from all tradition. (d) requirements set by the British monarchy. 2. Special sessions of Congress (a) are called by the President to deal with some emergency situation. (b) are called whenever a senator filibusters. (c) are never called. (d) are used to handle the everyday business of Congress.
  • 17. S E C T I O N 2 The House of Representatives • What are the size and terms of the House of Representatives? • How are House seats reapportioned among the States after each census? • How can we describe a typical congressional election and congressional district? • What are the formal and informal qualifications for serving in the House?
  • 18. Size and Terms • The exact size of the House of Representatives, currently at 435 members, is determined by Congress. • The Constitution provides that the total number of seats in the House shall be apportioned (distributed) among the States on the basis of their respective populations. Members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms. Although there have been recent movements to limit terms, there are no limits set on the number of terms a representative may serve.
  • 19. Reapportionment Article I of the Constitution directs Congress to reapportion—redistribute—the seats in the House after each decennial census. As the United States grew in population, the number of representatives in the House also grew. The Reapportionment Act of 1929 set the “permanent” size of the House at 435 members, and provided for “automatic reapportionment.”
  • 22. Congressional Elections •Congressional elections are held on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November of each even-numbered year. •Off-year elections are those congressional elections held between presidential elections.
  • 23. Districts and Gerrymandering • Under the single-member district arrangement, the voter’s in each district elect one of the State’s representatives. • The general-ticket system, no longer in use, provided that all of a State’s seats were filled at-large. • Districts that have unusual shapes or even defy description have sometimes been gerrymandered. • Gerrymandering refers to the act of drawing congressional districts to the advantage of the political party that controls the State legislature.
  • 25. Qualifications for House Members • The Constitution says that a member of the House (1) must be at least 25 years of age, (2) must have been a citizen of the United States for at least seven years, and (3) must have been an inhabitant of the State from which he or she is elected. • The realities of politics also require some informal qualifications, such as party identification, name familiarity, gender, ethnic characteristics, and political experience.
  • 26. Section 2 Review 1. Members of the House of Representatives are elected for (a) two-year terms. (b) six-year terms. (c) four-year terms. (d) five-year terms. 2. The Constitution requires a member of Congress to be (a) an inhabitant of the State from which he or she is elected. (b) a property-owning male. (c) a natural-born citizen. (d) at least 40 years of age.
  • 28. S E C T I O N 3 The Senate • How does the size of the Senate differ from the size of the House? • How have States elected senators in the past and present? • How and why does a senator’s term differ from a representative’s term? • What are the qualifications for serving in the Senate?
  • 29. Size, Election, and Terms • The Constitution says that the Senate “shall be composed of two Senators from each State.” Today’s Senate consists of 100 Senators. • Originally, the Constitution provided that senators were chosen by the State legislatures. • In 1912 the Seventeenth Amendment was passed and called for the popular election of senators. • Senators serve for six-year terms. • The Senate is a continuous body, meaning that all of its seats are never up for election at the same time.
  • 31. Qualifications for Senators • The requirements for the U.S. Senate are higher than for the House of Representatives. • The Constitution says that a Senator (1) must be at least 30 years of age, (2) must have been a citizen of the United States for at least nine years, and (3) must be an inhabitant of the State from which he or she is elected.
  • 34. Section 3 Review 1. Senators are elected for (a) two-year terms. (b) eight-year terms. (c) four-year terms. (d) six-year terms. 2. The Senate is a continuous body, meaning that (a) Senators must continually reside in Washington, D.C. (b) all of its seats are always up for election every six years. (c) it never adjourns. (d) all of its seats are never up for election at one time.
  • 35. S E C T I O N 4 The Members of Congress • What are the personal and political backgrounds of the current members of Congress? • What are the duties of the job of serving in Congress? • How are members of Congress compensated, and what privileges do they have?
  • 36. Profile of the 107th Congress
  • 43. Representatives of the People Senators and representatives are elected to represent people. As legislators, they have four voting options: Trustees Trustees believe that each question they face must be decided on its merits. Delegates Delegates see themselves as agents of the people who elected them. Partisans Lawmakers who owe their first allegiance to their political party are partisans. Politicos Politicos attempt to combine the basic elements of the trustee, delegate, and partisan roles.
  • 45. Committee Membership and Public Servants • As committee members, senators and representatives screen proposed laws before they are voted on. • Another vital part of their committee work involves the oversight function. • Oversight is the process by which Congress, through its committees, checks to see that the agencies of the executive branch are working effectively. • Members of the House and the Senate also act as servants of their constituents. • Requests from voters vary widely, and members of Congress take heed to many of them. Ignoring their constituencies would not bode well in the next election.
  • 46. Compensation • Today, senators and representatives are paid a salary of $174,000 a year. Certain members, such as the Speaker of the House and the Senate’s president pro tem, are paid more. • The franking privilege allows members of Congress to mail letters and other materials postage-free by substituting their facsimile signature (frank) for the postage. • The Constitution says that Congress fixes its own “compensation.” Therefore, the only real limits to congressional pay are the President’s veto and fear of voter backlash against a pay increase.
  • 48. Membership Privileges • Members of Congress are immune from arrest for noncriminal offenses while engaged in congressional business. • More importantly, the Speech and Debate Clause (Article I, Section 6, Clause 1) protects representatives and senators from suits for libel or slander arising from their official conduct.
  • 49. Section 4 Review 1. Which of the following is a major role of members of Congress? (a) law enforcement (b) servant of their constituents (c) serving in the military (d) researching court cases 2. The franking privilege allows members of Congress to (a) purchase as many hot dogs as necessary while in office. (b) mail letters and other materials postage-free. (c) vote on legislation. (d) receive a pension upon retirement from Congress.
  • 51. Magruder’s American Government C H A P T E R 11 Powers of Congress
  • 54. C H A P T E R 11 Powers of Congress SECTION 1 The Scope of Congressional Powers SECTION 2 The Expressed Powers of Money and Commerce SECTION 3 Other Expressed Powers SECTION 4 The Implied Powers SECTION 5 The Nonlegislative Powers
  • 55. S E C T I O N 1 The Scope of Congressional Powers • What are the three types of congressional power? • How does strict construction of the U.S. Constitution on the subject of congressional power compare to liberal construction?
  • 56. Congressional Power The Constitution grants Congress a number of specific powers in three different ways. (1) The expressed powers are granted to Congress explicitly in the Constitution. (2) The implied powers are granted by reasonable deduction from the expressed powers. (3) The inherent powers are granted through the Constitution’s creation of a National Government for the United States.
  • 58. Strict Versus Liberal Construction Strict Constructionists • Strict constructionists, led by Thomas Jefferson, argued that Congress should only be able to exercise (1) its expressed powers and (2) those implied powers absolutely necessary to carry out those expressed powers. Liberal Constructionists • Liberal constructionists, led by Alexander Hamilton, favored a liberal interpretation of the Constitution, a broad interpretation of the powers given to Congress.
  • 60. Section 1 Review 1. The Constitution grants all of the following powers to Congress EXCEPT (a) the expressed powers. (b) the inherent powers. (c) the monarchical powers. (d) the reserved powers. 2. Strict constructionists favored Congress exercising (a) only the expressed powers and those implied powers necessary to carry out the expressed powers. (b) unlimited power. (c) only the powers granted to it by State constitutions. (d) powers granted to Congress through acts of the President.
  • 61. S E C T I O N 2 The Expressed Powers of Money and Commerce • What powers does Congress have to tax? • How does Congress use its power to borrow money? • How important is Congress’s commerce power? • Why did the Framers give Congress the power to issue currency? • How does the bankruptcy power work?
  • 63. The Power To Tax The Constitution gives Congress the power: “To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.…” —Article I, Section 8, Clause 1
  • 66. Limits on the Taxing Power A tax is a charge levied by government on persons or property to meet public needs. The Constitution places four limits on Congress’s power to tax: (1) Congress may tax only for public purposes, not for private benefit. (2) Congress may not tax exports. (3) Direct taxes must be apportioned among the States, according to their populations. (4) Indirect taxes must be levied at a uniform rate in all parts of the country.
  • 68. The Borrowing Power • Article I, Section 8, Clause 2 gives Congress the power “[t]o borrow Money on the credit of the United States.” • Deficit financing is the practice of spending more money than received in revenue and borrowing to make up the difference. • The public debt is all of the money borrowed by the government over the years and not yet repaid, plus the accumulated interest on that money.
  • 71. The Commerce Power The commerce power—the power of Congress to regulate interstate and foreign trade—is granted in the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The Constitution places four limits on Congress’s use of the commerce power: (1) Congress cannot tax exports. (2) Congress cannot favor the ports of one State over those of any other in the regulation of trade. (3) Congress cannot require that “Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear or pay Duties in another.” (4) Congress could not interfere with the slave trade (through 1808).
  • 74. The Bankruptcy power • Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 gives Congress the power “[t]o establish…uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States.” • Bankruptcy is the legal proceeding in which the bankrupt person’s assets are distributed among those to whom a debt is owed.
  • 75. Section 2 Review 1. Which of the following is a limit on Congress’s power to tax? (a) only being allowed to tax for private purposes (b) not being allowed to tax imports (c) apportioning all direct taxes equally among the States based on population (d) only being allowed to tax businesses 2. The commerce power gives Congress the right to (a) regulate interstate and foreign trade. (b) establish proceedings for bankruptcies. (c) practice deficit financing. (d) create a national currency.
  • 76. S E C T I O N 3 Other Expressed Powers • What are the key sources of Congress’s foreign relations powers? • How does the power-sharing agreement between Congress and the President on the issues of war and national defense work? • What other key powers can Congress exercise?
  • 78. Foreign Relations and War Powers • Congress has the inherent power to act on matters affecting the security of the nation. • Congress’s war powers are extensive and substantial, including: the power to raise and support armies, to provide and maintain a navy, and to organize, arm, and discipline the military. • Congress also has the power to restrict the use of American forces in combat in areas where a state of war does not exist (War Powers Resolution of 1973).
  • 81. Other Expressed Powers Naturalization Naturalization is the process by which citizens of one country become citizens of another. The Postal Power Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 says that Congress has the power “[t]o establish Post Offices and post Roads.” Copyrights and Patents A copyright is the exclusive right of an author to reproduce, publish, and sell his or her creative work. A patent grants a person the sole right to manufacture, use, or sell “any new and useful art, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter.”
  • 84. More Expressed Powers Weights and Measures Congress has the power to “fix the Standard of Weights and Measures” throughout the United States. Judicial Powers Congress may create all of the federal courts below the Supreme Court and structure the federal judiciary. Congress may also define federal crimes and set punishment for violators of federal law. Power Over Territories and Other Areas Congress has the power to acquire, manage, and dispose of various federal areas. One way of acquiring property is through eminent domain, the inherent power to take private property for public use.
  • 87. Section 3 Review 1. The process by which a citizen of one country becomes a citizen of another is known as (a) acquisition. (b) copyright law. (c) eminent domain. (d) naturalization. 2. All of the following are part of Congress’s war powers EXCEPT (a) the power to provide and maintain a navy. (b) the power to raise and support armies. (c) the power of eminent domain. (d) the power to discipline the military.
  • 88. S E C T I O N 4 The Implied Powers • How does the Necessary and Proper Clause give Congress flexibility in lawmaking? • What key developments have occurred in the battle over the implied powers of Congress?
  • 89. The Necessary and Proper Clause gives to Congress the power: “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” —Article I, Section 8, Clause 18
  • 91. The Battle Over Implied Powers • The formation of the Bank of the United States spawned controversy between strict and liberal constructionists. • In McCulloch v. Maryland, 1819, the formation of the Second Bank of the United States was challenged by strict constructionists. • Chief Justice John Marshall ruled in favor of the Second Bank, giving sweeping approval to the concept of implied powers.
  • 92. The Implied Powers of Congress
  • 96. Section 4 Review 1. The basis for the implied powers of Congress is found in (a) the Necessary and Proper Clause. (b) the Implied Clause. (c) the Articles of Confederation. (d) the Supremacy Clause. 2. The Supreme Court upheld the idea of implied powers in its ruling in (a) Marbury v. Madison, 1803. (b) Dred Scott v. Sandford, 1857. (c) McCulloch v. Maryland, 1819. (d) Ex parte Milligan, 1866.
  • 97. S E C T I O N 5 The Nonlegislative Powers • What is Congress’s role in amending the Constitution and in deciding elections? • What is Congress’s impeachment power, and how has it been used in the past? • What are Congress’s executive powers? • What is Congress’s investigatory power?
  • 99. Constitutional Amendments and Electoral Duties Constitutional Amendments Article V gives Congress the power to propose amendments by a two-thirds vote in each house. Electoral Duties • In certain circumstances, the Constitution gives Congress special electoral duties. • If no candidate for President receives a majority in the electoral college, the House decides the election. • If no candidate for Vice President receives a majority in the electoral college, the Senate decides the election. • Also, if the vice presidency is vacated, the President selects a successor, who faces congressional approval by a majority vote in both houses.
  • 111. Impeachment Power • The Constitution grants Congress the power of removing the President, Vice President, or other civil officers from their office through impeachment. • The House has the sole power to impeach, or bring charges against the individual with a majority vote. • There is then a trial in the Senate. A two-thirds vote of the senators present is needed for conviction. • The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides over a case of impeachment. • The penalty for conviction is removal from office.
  • 114. Executive Powers Appointments • All major appointments made by the President must be confirmed by the Senate by majority vote. • Only 12 of 600 Cabinet appointments to date have been declined. • “Senatorial courtesy” is the practice in which the Senate will turn down an appointment if it is opposed by a senator of the President’s party from the State involved. Treaties • The President makes treaties “by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate,... provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.” • Presently, the President often consults members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
  • 116. Investigatory Power Congress may choose to conduc t i nvestigations through its standing committees for several reasons : (1) to gather information useful to Congress in the making of some legislation; (2) to oversee the (3) to focus public attention operations of various on a particular subject; executive branch agencies; (4) to expose the questionable activities of public officials or private persons; (5) to promote the particular interests of some members of Congress.
  • 118. Section 5 Review 1. All of the following are non-legislative powers of Congress EXCEPT (a) selecting the President if no candidate receives a majority in the electoral college. (b) nominating Cabinet positions and Supreme Court justices. (c) approving executive branch appointments. (d) proposing amendments to the Constitution. 2. Which of the following series of events is correct for the impeachment of a government official? (a) The Supreme Court holds hearings, the House votes to impeach, a trial is held in the Senate. (b) The Senate holds hearings, the Senate votes to impeach, a trial is held in the House. (c) The House holds hearings, the House votes to impeach, a trial is held in the Senate. (d) none of the above.
  • 119. Magruder’s American Government C H A P T E R 12 Congress in Action
  • 121. • Congress convenes (begins a new term) every 2 years on January 3 of every odd-numbered year. • 113th Congress • 2013 until 2015
  • 122. • Because all 435 members are up for reelection every 2 years the House technically has no sworn members, rules or organization until its opening day ceremonies are held.
  • 123. • Oath of office is taken and the non-members positions are elected. • Who elects these officers? • The Majority Party • What about the rules of the House? • Have been developing for 200 years – readopted with little or no change
  • 124. House of Representatives Chaplain Clerk Sergeant at Arms
  • 125. • Finally the members of the 19 permanent committees of the House are appointed by a floor vote, and with that the House is organized.
  • 126. • The Senate is a continuous body that has been organized without interruption since 1789. • How does this make the Senate different from the House? • Senate does not face large organizational problems at the beginning of a term.
  • 127. • After Congress is organized, within a few weeks the President delivers the annual State of the Union message to a joint session of Congress. • The President will lay out the broad shape of the policies that his administration will follow and he may recommend specific legislation.
  • 128. • What is the general purpose of this message? • President reports on the state of the nation as he sees it in both foreign and domestic affairs.
  • 129. • Speaker of the House • By far the more important and powerful leadership position within the halls of Congress • Elected presiding officer and leader of majority party.
  • 130. • Who is Speaker today? • John Boehner (R) Ohio • The Speaker follows the Vice President in the line of succession to the presidency.
  • 131. Nearly all of the Speaker’s powers revolve around two duties: To Preside: No member speak until he/she is recognized by the Speaker To Keep Order: refer bills to committees; interprets and applies rules
  • 132. • The Constitution assigns the office to the Vice President of the United States. • Cannot take the floor to speak or debate; may vote ONLY in case of tie. Vice President Joseph Biden , Jr.
  • 134. 113th Congress, 2nd Session · The House is in session
  • 135. • What is the president pro tempore? • Acts as presiding officer. • Usually longest serving member of majority party
  • 136. • Congress is a political body and reflecting this political complexion, both houses are organized along party lines.
  • 137. • The closed meeting of the members of each party in each house. • What does the caucus deal with? • Matters of party organization (party leaders and committee membership)
  • 138. • Next to the Speaker, the majority and minority floor leaders in the House and Senate are the most important officers in Congress. http://www.house.gov/leadership/
  • 139. • What do the Floor Leaders actually do? • They try to carry out the decisions of their party caucuses. • Also, steer floor action to benefit their party • KEY FOCUS: legislative strategies
  • 140. • The (2) floor leaders in each house are assisted by whips. • Assists leadership in managing party's legislative program. • They serve as a liaison between the party leadership and the rank-and-file members. • The Whip keeps track of all legislation and ensures that all party members are present when important measures are to be voted upon. Minority Whip Durbin, Richard J. (D-IL) Majority Whip Cornyn, John (R-TX) Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer
  • 141. • The bulk of the work of Congress is really done in committee – thus committee chairmen (members who head standing committees) hold strategic posts. • Why are the committee chairmen important? 1. DECIDE - When committee meets 2. Which bills they will take up 3. When public hearing are held and what witnesses are called
  • 142. • This is an unwritten custom, which provides that the most important posts will be held by those party members with the longest records of service in Congress. • Where is this applied most strictly? • Choice of committee chairmen
  • 143. • Seniority rule ignores ability and discourages younger members. • May come from a “safe district” – why is this a problem? • Out of touch with current public opinion because no fear of losing office.
  • 144. • Defenders of the rule argues that it ensures that a powerful and experienced member will head each committee. • What was the major change that the Republicans forged in 1995? • No GOP chair could serve for more than 6 years.
  • 146. • Permanent committees are set up in both houses where bills are sent to be considered. • Committee Assignments • House members are normally assigned to 1 or 2; Senators to 3 or 4.
  • 148. • How are these committees so vital to the lawmaking process? 1. This is where a bill is discussed and reviewed thoroughly. 2. Both houses usually follow the recommendations the committee makes.
  • 149. • The members of each standing committee are formally elected by a floor vote at the beginning of each term in Congress. • Which party holds a majority of the seats in a standing committee? • The majority party in that house.
  • 150. • Sometimes called the “traffic cop” in the Lower House. • Why is this committee necessary? • So many bills are introduced in the House, that some screening is necessary.
  • 151. • Normally, a bill gets to the floor only if it has been granted a rule (scheduled for floor consideration) by the Rules committee. • How does this make the Rules Committee important? • They can speed up, delay or even kill a bill in the House.
  • 152. • These groups are sometimes called special committees; they are set up of some specific purpose and for a limited time. • Why are these committees usually formed? • To investigate an important, current matter.
  • 153. • Senate’s Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities – (Watergate Scandal) • Senate’s Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to the Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition – (Iran-Contra Affair)
  • 154. • What is a joint committee? • One composed of members of both houses • Some joint committees are investigative in nature and issue periodic reports to the House and Senate
  • 155. • What is a conference committee? • A temporary joint committee. • Why is it created? • To iron out the differences in a bill and produce a compromise that both houses will accept.
  • 158. • As many as 10,000 measures are introduced in the House and Senate during a term in Congress • Fewer than 10% ever become law.
  • 159. • What is a bill? • Proposed law presented to the House or Senate for consideration.
  • 160. • Most bills do not originate with members of Congress – they are usually born somewhere in the executive branch. • Only members can introduce a bill in the House: how do they do this? • Drop them into a “hopper” = a box hanging on the edge of the clerk’s desk.
  • 161. • A special box on the side of the clerk’s desk. • Representatives can only introduce bills in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • 162. Public/Private Bills • Public = apply to the nation as a whole • Private = apply to certain persons or places Joint Resolutions - A proposal for some action that has the force of law Concurrent Resolutions • Deal with matters in which the House and Senate must act jointly • Do not have force of law, or require president signature Resolutions • A measure dealing with some measure in house and does not have force of law – does NOT require president’s signature
  • 163. • A rider is a provision not likely to pass on its own merit and thus is attached to an important measure certain to pass. • The sponsor hopes it will “ride” through the legislative process.
  • 164. • Why are some bills called “Christmas trees”? • So many riders are “hanging” on the bill like ornaments on a tree.
  • 165. • Bills are numbered according to where and when they are introduced: HR 13 or S. 8 • The clerk then gives the bill a short title and then the bill is entered into the House Journal and in the Congressional Record. • Where does the bill go after the first reading? • The appropriate standing committee.
  • 166. • Most of the of bills introduced in each session of Congress are pigeonholed: that is they DIE in committee. • How can a bill be blasted out of committee? • A discharge petition
  • 167. • Bills that are considered in the committee are discussed at times chosen by the chairmen. • This takes place in the subcommittees.
  • 168. • Why will a public hearing be held? • The bill is important or controversial (or both!) • Occasionally, a subcommittee will make a junket (trip) to locations affected by a measure – these can be controversial.
  • 169. Report the bill favorably with a “do pass” recommendation Refuse to report the bill (pigeonhole it) Report the bill in amended form – make changes or combine with similar bills Report the bill with an unfavorable recommendation (rarely happens) Report a committee bill – an entirely new bill that the committee has drawn up
  • 170. • Before it goes to the floor for consideration, a bill must be placed on one of several calendars. • DEFINE: schedule of the order in which bills will be taken up on the floor. • There are (5)….
  • 171. Under the rules of the House, bills are taken from each of these calendars on a regular basis. Union: bills dealing with revenues, appropriations, or government property House: for all other public bills Private: for all private bills Corrections: minor bills with no opposition Discharge: for petitions to discharge bills from committee
  • 172. • Rules committee must grant a rule before most bills can in fact reach the floor. • What happens if a rule is not granted? • The bill DIES.
  • 173. • If a bill reaches the floor, it receives its second reading in the House.
  • 174. • Includes all members of the House – there is no need for a quorum – majority of the full membership of the House (218). • They sit as one large committee and the rules are less strict in so that floor action moves at a much faster pace.
  • 175. • The large size of the House has forced it to impose severe limits on floor debate. For example: • An 1841 rule forbids any member from holding the floor for more than 1 hour without unanimous consent to speak for a longer time. • An 1880 rule allows for the Speaker to force a member to give up the floor if what happens? • Stray away from the subject at hand
  • 176. • Time for debating a bill is usually split up between the floor leaders. • At any time a member “may move the previous question” - that is demand a vote on the issue before the House.
  • 177. • A bill may be the subject of several votes on the floor; and it is very confusing!!! • Votes on various amendments, motions, etc.
  • 178. Voice Votes • Speaker calls for “ayes” and then “nays” • Speaker then announces results Standing Votes • Also known as the ‘division of the house’ – members stand to be counted Teller Votes • Speaker names two tellers and members walk between them and they count. Roll Call Votes • Many be demanded by 1/5 of members present
  • 179. • Once a bill has been approved at second reading, it is engrossed – this means the bill is printed in its final form. • It is then read a 3rd time, by title, and a final vote is taken. • Then what happens to the bill? • GOES TO THE SENATE !
  • 180. • Introducing the Bill • Bills are introduced by senators, given a number and referred to committee – much like what is done in the House.
  • 181. • What are some differences between the House and the Senate? 1. Less formal, rules less strict. 2. One calendar 3. Called to floor discussion at discretion of the majority floor leader.
  • 182. • The major difference between the House and Senate procedures involve debate: • floor debate is strictly limited in the House but almost unrestrained in the Senate.
  • 183. • As a general matter, senators may speak on the floor as long as they please. • What is the reason for this unlimited speech? • Encourages the fullest possible discussion of matters on the floor.
  • 184. • An attempt to “talk a bill to death”. • It is a stalling tactic in which a minority of senators seeks to delay or prevent Senate action on a measure.
  • 185. • How does it work? • Try to monopolize time on the Senate floor so that the Senate drops the bill. • OR the proposed bill will be changed to make it more acceptable to the minority.
  • 186. • And the record is…… Senator Strom Thurmond held the floor for 24 hours + 18 minutes in an unsuccessful attempt to block a civil rights bill.
  • 187. • The Senate’s real check on the filibuster is its Cloture Rule. • What was the origin of this rule? • A filibuster before US entry into WW I; 3 weeks long.
  • 188. • Rule XXII provides for cloture (limiting debate) and requires 60 senators or 3/5 of the Senate to invoke cloture and then the measure must be voted on. • However, this rule is rarely invoked: There are two reasons why 1. Dedication to free debate in the Senate 2. Majority may want to use filibuster someday
  • 189. • Any measure enacted by Congress must have been passed by both houses in identical form. • When they do not agree on a measure – it is turned over to a conference committee (a temporary joint committee)
  • 190. • What is the purpose of this? • Iron out differences and come up with a compromise bill. • The committee cannot include any new material in the compromise version.
  • 191. • The bill then moves onto the President and the Constitution gives the President (4) options at this points:
  • 192. (1) Sign the bill and it then becomes a law (2) The President many veto - refuse to sign bill (veto message explains why) - 2/3 of both houses can override
  • 193. (3) The President may allow the bill to become law without signing it; by not acting on it for 10 days (4) What is a pocket veto? Congress adjourns its session within 10 days of submitting bill to President – President does nothing it dies
  • 194. • Congress added another element to the veto power with the Line Item Veto Act of 1996 • power to reject individual items in appropriations bills • Ruled unconstitutional by Supreme Court - Clinton v. New York 1998
  • 195. SECTION 1 Congress Organizes SECTION 2 Committees in Congress SECTION 3 How a Bill Becomes a Law: The House SECTION 4 The Bill in the Senate
  • 196. S E C T I O N 1 Congress Organizes • How and when does Congress convene? • What are the roles of the presiding officers in the Senate and the House? • What are the duties of party officers in Congress? • How are committee chairmen chosen, and what is their role in the legislative process?
  • 197. Congress Convenes • Congress convenes every two years—on January 3 of every odd-numbered year. • The House has formal organizational meetings at the beginning of each term to determine committee membership and standing officers. • The Senate, because it is a continuous body, has fewer organizational issues to address at the start of each term. • When Congress is organized, the President presents a State of the Union message to a joint session of Congress. This message, in which the President reports on the state of the nation as he sees it, is given annually.
  • 198. The Presiding Officers The Speaker of the House • The Speaker of the House is the presiding officer of the House of Representatives and the acknowledged leader of the majority party. • The Speaker’s main duties revolve around presiding over and keeping order in the House. • The Speaker names the members of all select and conference committees, and signs all bills and resolutions passed by the House. The President of the Senate • The job of president of the Senate is assigned by the Constitution to the Vice President. • The president of the Senate has many of the same duties as the Speaker of the House, but cannot cast votes on legislation. • The president pro tempore, the leader of the majority party, is elected from the Senate and serves in the Vice President’s absence.
  • 199. Party Officers The Party Caucus • The party caucus is a closed meeting of the members of each party in each house which deals with matters of party organization. The Floor Leaders • The floor leaders are party officers picked for their posts by their party colleagues. • The party whips assist the floor leaders and serve as a liaison between the party’s leadership and its rank-and-file members.
  • 200. Committee Chairmen and Seniority Rule Committee Chairmen • The committee chairmen are the members who head the standing committees in each chamber of Congress. • The chairman of each of these permanent committees is chosen from the majority party by the majority party caucus. Seniority Rule • The seniority rule, an unwritten custom, holds that the most important posts will be held by those party members with the longest records of service in Congress. • The head of each committee is often the longest-serving member of the committee from the majority party.
  • 202. Section 1 Review 1. The presiding officer of the House of Representatives is (a) the President. (b) the Speaker of the House. (c) the majority whip. (d) the president pro tempore. 2. The party whips are responsible for all of the following EXCEPT (a) serving as a liaison between party leaders and rank-and-file members. (b) presiding over the House or Senate. (c) informing the floor leader of anticipated vote counts in key decisions. (d) seeing that all members of the party are present for important votes.
  • 203. S E C T I O N 2 Committees in Congress • How do the standing committees function? • What are the duties and responsibilities of the House Rules Committee? • What are the functions of joint and conference committees?
  • 204. Standing Committees • Standing committees are permanent panels in Congress to which bills of similar nature could be sent. • Most of the standing committees handle bills dealing with particular policy matters, such as veterans’ affairs or foreign relations. • The majority party always holds a majority of the seats on each committee (the lone exception being the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct).
  • 205. The House Rules Committee and Select Committees The House Rules Committee • The Rules Committee decides whether and under what conditions the full House will consider a measure. • This places great power in the Rules Committee, as it can speed, delay, or even prevent House action on a measure. The Select Committees • Select committees are panels established to handle a specific matter and usually exist for a limited time. • Most select committees are formed to investigate a current matter.
  • 206. Joint and Conference Committees • A joint committee is one composed of members of both houses. • Examples of joint committees include the Joint Economic Committee, the Joint Committee on Printing, and the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress • A conference committee—a temporary, joint body—is created to iron out differences between bills passed by the House and Senate before they are sent to the President.
  • 207. Section 2 Review 1. The House Rules Committee (a) establishes codes of conduct. (b) determines when and under what conditions the full House will consider a measure. (c) oversees the execution of bills once they are passed into law. (d) determines which members of the Senate may vote on a measure. 2. A conference committee is formed to (a) iron out differences in bills passed by the House and Senate before they are sent to the President. (b) hold press conferences. (c) appoint Supreme Court justices. (d) determine rules for debate.
  • 208. S E C T I O N 3 How a Bill Becomes a Law: The House • What are the first steps in introducing a new bill to the House? • What happens to a bill once it enters a committee? • How do House leaders schedule debate on a bill? • What happens to a bill on the House floor? • What is the final step in passing a bill in the House?
  • 209. The First Steps • A bill is a proposed law presented to the House or Senate for consideration. • A bill or resolution usually deals with a single matter, but sometimes a rider dealing with an unrelated matter is included. • The clerk of the House numbers each bill, gives it a short title, and enters it into the House Journal and the Congressional Record for the day. With these actions the bill has received its first reading.
  • 210. Types of Bills and Resolutions
  • 211. The Bill in Committee Discharge Petitions • Most bills die in committee, pigeonholed, or put away, never to be acted upon. • If a committee pigeonholes a bill that a majority of the House wishes to consider, it can be brought out of committee via a discharge petition. Gathering Information • Most committees do their work through several subcommittees— divisions of existing committees formed to address specific issues. • Committees and subcommittees often hold public hearings or make a junket (trip) to gather information relating to a measure.
  • 212. Committee Actions When a subcommittee has completed its work on a bill, it returns to the full committee. The full committee may do one of several things: 1. Report the bill favorably, with a “do pass” recommendation. 2. Refuse to report the bill. 3. Report the bill in amended form. 4. Report the bill with unfavorable recommendation. 5. Report a committee bill.
  • 213. Scheduling Floor Debate A bill is placed into one of five calendars before going to the floor for consideration: 1. The Calendar of the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union 2. The House Calendar 3. The Calendar of the Committee of the Whole House 4. The Consent Calendar 5. The Discharge Calendar • Before most measures can be taken from a calendar, the Rules Committee must approve that step and set a time for its appearance on the floor.
  • 214. The Bill on the Floor Committee of the Whole • The Committee of the Whole includes all members of the House, however, they sit as one large committee and not as the House itself. • When the Committee of the Whole resolves itself, the Speaker steps down and another member presides. General debate follows. Debate • Severe limits are placed on floor debate due to the House’s large size. • Majority and minority floor leaders generally decide in advance how they will split the time to be spent on a bill.
  • 215. Voting on a Bill There are four methods of taking a floor vote in the House: 1. During voice votes the Speaker calls for the “ayes” and then the “noes.” 2. In a standing vote, members in favor of for and then those opposed to the bill rise and then are counted by the clerk. 3. One fifth of a quorum can demand a teller vote, in which the Speaker names two tellers, for and against, and members pass by each one to be counted. 4. A roll-call vote may be demanded by one fifth of the members present. Once a bill has been approved at second reading, it is engrossed, or printed in its final form. It is then read for a third time and a final vote is taken.
  • 216. Section 3 Review 1. Riders are (a) measures attached to a bill dealing with an unrelated matter. (b) bills dealing with transportation matters only. (c) measures included in a bill that are unconstitutional. (d) none of the above. 2. All of the following are options for committees to take once they have finished reviewing a bill EXCEPT (a) refusing to report the bill. (b) reporting a bill in amended form. (c) reporting a committee bill. (d) passing the bill into law.
  • 217. S E C T I O N 4 The Bill in the Senate • How is a bill introduced in the Senate? • How do the Senate’s rules for debate differ from those in the House? • What is the role of conference committees in the legislative process? • What actions can the President take after both houses have passed a bill?
  • 218. Introducing a Bill and Rules for Debate Introducing a Bill Bills are introduced by senators, who are formally recognized for that purpose. Proceedings are much less formal in the Senate compared to the House. Rules for Debate The major differences between House and Senate rules regard debate over measures. As a general matter, senators may speak on the floor for as long as they wish. This freedom of debate allows for the fullest possible discussion of matters on the floor.
  • 219. Filibuster and Cloture The Cloture Rule • Rule XXII in the Standing Rules of the Senate deals with cloture, or limiting debate • If at least 60 senators vote for cloture, no more than another 30 hours may be spent on debate, forcing a vote on a bill. Filibuster • A filibuster is an attempt to “talk a bill to death.” • A senator may exercise his or her right of holding the floor as long as necessary, and in essence talk until a measure is dropped.
  • 220. Conference Committees • Any measure enacted by Congress must have been passed by both houses in identical form. • If one of the houses will not accept the other’s version of a bill, a conference committee is formed to iron out the differences. • Once a conference committee completes work on a bill, it is returned to both houses for final approval. It must be accepted or rejected without amendment.
  • 221. The President Acts The Constitution provides four options for the President when he receives a bill: 1. The President may sign the bill, and it then becomes law. 2. The President may veto the bill, or refuse to sign it. The President’s veto can be overridden by a two-thirds vote of the members present in each house. 3. If the President does not act upon a bill within 10 days of receiving it, it becomes law. 4. A pocket veto occurs if Congress adjourns within 10 days of submitting a bill and the President does not sign it. The bill then dies.
  • 222. Section 4 Review 1. A filibuster is (a) a tool used by senators to speed up the process of passing legislation. (b) the name for a bill once it is signed into law. (c) a delay tactic in which a bill is talked to death. (d) an executive privilege that allows for the amending of passed bills. 2. All of the following are options for the President for dealing with a bill once he receives it EXCEPT (a) allowing it to become law by not acting upon it for 10 days. (b) signing the bill into law. (c) altering the bill and signing it into law. (d) vetoing the bill.