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  1. 1. TThhee UU..SS.. CCoonnggrreessss:: TThhee PPeeooppllee’’ss BBrraanncchh • The Role of Congress • A Bicameral Legislature • Senate vs. House • Organization & Leadership • The Committee System • Lame Duck Session
  2. 2. Learning Goal • Analyze Article I of the Constitution as it relates to the legislative branch, including eligibility for office and length of terms of representatives and senators; and election to office. • 10.12.a.1
  3. 3. Key Functions of Congress Representation: expresses the diverse views of the American people Law Making: creates bills to address issues and solve problems in American society Consensus Building: reconciles competing interests Oversight: ensures that laws passed by Congress are effectively carried out by the executive branch Investigation: investigates government agencies, including the White House---impeachment Approval: confirms presidential appointees and treaties (Senate Only)
  4. 4. A Bicameral Legislature The House Wing The Senate Wing “In order to control the legislative authority, you must divide it.” James Madison, Federalist No. 51 How will this set up protect Americans from tyranny?
  5. 5. House Office Buildings Senate Office Buildings Virtual Tour of the Senate Chamber The Well in the House Chamber
  6. 6. Differences Between the House and Senate The House The Senate • Two year Term • 435 members • Smaller constituencies • Less personal staff • Equal populations represented • Less flexible rules • Limited Debate • Policy Specialists • Less media coverage • Less prestige • Less reliance on staff • More powerful committee leaders • Very important committees • Nongermane amendments (riders) not allowed • Important Rules Committee • Some bills are not allowed to be amended from the floor • Six year Term • 100 members • Larger constituencies • More personal staff • States represented • More flexible rules • Extended Debate • Policy generalists • More media coverage • More prestige • More equal distribution of power • 20 major committees • Nongermane amendments (riders) allowed • Filibuster allowed
  7. 7. Non Voting Members of the House 1 representative each: >>can participate in debate and on committees >>cannot vote The District of Columbia Puerto Rico American Samoa Virgin Islands
  8. 8. Must live in state and district The House of Representatives: Must be 25 years or older Must be a U.S. citizen for at least 7 years Requirements Term begins on January 3 and last for 2 years. One of 435 other members of the House Must be elected by the majority of people in his/her district 650,000 people on average Compare to the Senate
  9. 9. The Senate: Requirements Must live in state Must be elected by the majority of registered voters living in the state Term begins January 3rd and lasts for six years. 1 of 100 other Senators: 2/state Must be 30 years old Must be a U.S. citizen for at least 9 years. Compare to the House
  10. 10. What do they both enjoy? Perks of the Office Salary: $165,200/year Free Office Space in D.C. Free Office Space in State Free Parking on the Hill Office Expenses: $127,000 (House) $474,000 (SeSntaaftfe S) alaries: $632,000 (House) $2 million (SSeevnearatel )Free Trips Home Inexpensive Health Care Franking Privilege: mailing “official business” (not campaign business) for free. FFuullll AAcccceessss ttoo tthhee CCoonnggrreessssiioonnaall GGyymm aanndd SSppaa IImmmmuunniittyy ffrroomm LLaawwssuuiittss ffoorr aannyytthhiinngg yyoouu ssaayy wwhheenn iinn CCoonnggrreessss
  11. 11. Leadership in the House & Senate How things are done in the two chambers affects what is done in the two chambers. The House is four times as big as the Senate. How do you think this affects how things are done?
  12. 12. Speaker of the House: John Boehner.  Presides over the Chamber  Decides Points of Order During Debate  Refers bills and resolutions to the appropriate committees  Schedules legislation for floor action  Appoints House members to committees Majority Leader Minority Leader Majority & Minority Leaders- Kevin McCarthy, Nancy Pelosi  Appointed by parties to direct strategy on the House floor  Maintains alliances to gain votes and to pass/defeat bills  Formulates the party’s legislative agenda w/Speaker  Ensures that committee chairs take action on bills Majority Whip Minority Whip Majority & Minority Whips- Steve Scalise, Steny Hoyer  Aids the floor leader in developing & implementing party’s program  transmits information to party members  assists leaders in developing a count and a strategy for key votes  builds coalition to pass bills and amendments  gathers intelligence & uses persuasive tactics to garner more votes Leadership in the House of RReepprreesseennttaattiivveess:: DDeemmooccrraattiicc
  13. 13. The New Speaker of the House: John Boehner (R) Ohio Priorities : diminish the role of lobbyists insure that lawmakers have time to read legislation before voting on it. open House-Senate legislative negotiating sessions to the media make sure earmarks are identified by the name of lawmaker who sponsored it make sure earmarks are approved by policy making committees (oversight)
  14. 14. 9 members from the majority party— chosen by the Speaker 4 members from the minority party Regulates floor debate Sets limits on amendments Influences which bills do and do not get consideration Supports the agenda of the majority party Click here to view a special rule for a bill . Is the Rules Committee democratic?
  15. 15. Leadership in the SSeennaattee:: DDeemmooccrraattiicc Vice President- Joe Biden  Is the president of the Senate  May not take part in the debate  May try to influence a vote through contact with senators  May recognize members and put questions to a vote  May vote only in the event of a tie President Pro Temp- Patrick Leahy  Presides when the vice president is not present  Usually is the most senior member of the majority party Temporary Presiding Officer  Presides when neither the vice president nor the president pro temp is present  Usually a senior member of the majority party Majority & Minority Whips- Dick Durbin, John Cornyn  Serve the same function in the Senate as they do in the House  Democratic Whip: Senator Dick Durbin (Illinois) Republican Whip: Senator John Cornyn (Texas)
  16. 16. The New Majority Leader in the Senate: Harry Reid Age: 67 Party: Democrat Religion: Mormon Political Experience: Nevada State Legislature Lieutenant Governor Nevada Gaming Commission House of Representatives (1982) Senate (1986) Minority Leader (2005) Majority Leader: 2007 Senators Durbin & Reid meet with President
  17. 17. Filibuster Strom Thurmond (1957) 24 hours against civil rights legislation A senator refuses to give up the floor in order to prevent a vote. If 60 senators vote to end a filibuster, a vote must be held within 30 hours. (cloture) Huey Long filibustered on behalf of the poor Is the filibuster democratic? We’ll debate this more in class!
  18. 18. Congressional Committees Learning Goal: Analyze Article I of the Constitution as it relates to the legislative branch, including the roles of the House and Senate; impeachment proceedings; the role of the vice president; and the enumerated legislative powers 10.12.a.1
  19. 19. “Congress in session is Congress on display. Congress in committee is Congress at work.” President Woodrow Wilson Concern of the Congress: Full Scope of the Bill The Congress debates Concern of the Committee: The Details of the Bill
  20. 20. View All Committees Here: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/congress/index.html Select Committees Standing Committees Joint Committees Authorizing Appropriations Rules Budget • Make laws • Hold hearings • Hearing Schedule • Determines how much $ will be spent • The Immigration Fence • Sets the Rules • Jurisdiction of the Senate Rules Committee • Raises $ for appropriation s to spend • House Ways and Means Committee • Address temporary priorities in Congress • Senate Select Committee on Ethics • Address issues of concern to both chambers • Joint Committee on Economics
  21. 21. Committee Leadership If you are chosen head of a committee, you will: • Control your committee’s agenda • Schedule meetings and hearing of the full committee • Help schedule subcommittee hearings and meetings • Handle committee’s budget and staff • Serve as the committee’s spokesperson • Sit on House and Senate conference committees • Steer your party’s legislative agenda in the Senate Find out who’s on the new Democratic team here:
  22. 22. Criteria for Committee Assignments Party Loyalty: Essentially your voting record Seniority: Numbers of years of service on a particular committee Geography: Vacancies tend to be filled with people from the same states Attitude: Civil, cooperative & willing to compromise Preference: Senator Landrieu serves on Energy & Natural Resources, key issues for Louisiana
  23. 23. Closing Questions • What are the roles of Congress in our three branch government? • How is Congress structured and why? How does the structure of Congress affect the way that Congress functions? • Who has power in Congress and why? • What role do committees play? Are they democratic?
  24. 24. • Review The Constitution grants the House of Representatives the right to • A. confirm presidential appointments to executive positions • B. initiate all impeachment proceedings • C. approve treaties with other nations • D. override objections by the Senate to proposed legislation
  25. 25. • Review What power is granted to the vice president by the Constitution? • A. advice and consent to presidential treaties and appointments • B. tie-breaking power in votes by the Senate • C. floor leadership in the House of Representatives • D. power to veto legislative bills
  26. 26. • Review A presidential veto of a legislative bill may be overridden by • A. a 2/3 vote of either house of Congress • B. 5 of 9 Supreme Court justices • C. a majority vote of both houses of Congress • D. a 2/3 vote of both houses of Congress
  27. 27. How a Bill Becomes a Law The Journey of a Bill
  28. 28. Learning Goal • Analyze the process by which a bill becomes a law • 10.12.a.1
  29. 29. Congress Makes Federal Laws Follow the bill as it moves through Congress
  30. 30. Introduction of the Bill • The bill can come from a variety of sources: • Individual citizens, • Special interest groups • Corporations, • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) • Only a member of Congress can introduce the bill • A bill can start in either House.
  31. 31. The Bill is Assigned to Committee • Each House has standing committees that consider their bills. • Each committee has a chair (from the Majority) and a ranking member (from the minority). • They “mark-up” (edit) the bill so it will pass on the floor. • They can also “pigeonhole” or kill the bill in committee. • The bill must also pass through the House Rules Committee.
  32. 32. The Bill is Reported To the Floor • If the bill is passed by the committee, it is sent to the whole House for debate and vote. • The committee has “reported the bill favorably to the floor.” • The Speaker determines which bills are discussed and for how long. • Committee chairs and ranking members give out time to debate to other members.
  33. 33. The Bill is Debated and Voted On in the House • Bills can be considered by the whole House at once: called “Committee of the Whole” • Votes are done electronically in the House. This is a role call vote. • A tote board on the wall shows the tally. Red = oppose. Green = Agree Yellow = Abstain • Votes can be taken by voice “yeas and nays” or a “teller vote” where members file past the sergeant at arms.
  34. 34. The Bill Goes to the Senate • The bill is sent to the US Senate. A Senate version is written with the letter S. and a number. House bills have HR. • As in the House, the bill must be referred to the appropriate standing committee. • Committees hold hearings and make changes to the bill. • The committee can ‘report” the bill to the Senate floor.
  35. 35. The Bill is Debated and Voted On in the Senate • The Senate Majority Leader determines which bills are scheduled, when and for how long. • As in the House, the bill must be referred to the appropriate standing committee. • Debate in the Senate is unlimited. Filibusters can be used by the minority to block bills. • 3/5 (60) of the Senate must agree to end debate (this is called “cloture”) • The Senate Rules committee is much weaker than the House’s.
  36. 36. Both Houses Must Pass the Bill • A simple majority in both houses is needed to pass the bill (51%). • In the House: 218 needed to control the House. • In the Senate: 51 senators needed to pass the bill (and control the Senate).
  37. 37. Differences Between Houses Must Be Reconciled • Each house passes its own bill. • Any differences must be ironed out and made into one bill. • The bill is considered by a conference committee, made up of both House and Senate members. • They negotiate and compromise and send the combined bill back to both houses. • A vote on the “conference report” must be taken and passed by both Houses.
  38. 38. The Bill is Sent to the President • The president can sign the bill if he wants it to become law. • He can include “signing statements” that say how the law should be enforced or if parts will not be enforced. • The president can veto or reject the bill. He must include his reasons and recommendations for correction. • The president can choose not to act on the bill. If Congress is in session, the bill becomes law after 10 days. • If Congress is not in session, the bill dies after 10 days. This is called a “pocket veto.”
  39. 39. The Bill Becomes Law • If the president vetoes the bill, both Houses can reconsider the bill. • Two-thirds (67%) of both Houses are needed to override the President’s veto. • In the House: 369 needed for override. Senate: 67. • If president signs the bill, it is a federal law that each state must follow.
  40. 40. • Review In which of the following settings is a bill most likely to be changed/re-written? • A. in the Appropriations Committee • B. in sub-committee • C. by the Rules Committee • D. on the House or Senate Floor
  41. 41. • Review In which of the following activities is a lobbyist most likely to participate? • A. selecting Congressional candidates who favor their interest • B. contacting government officials by phone, email or letter • C. raising money from members for election campaigns • D. organizing violent events to gain favor for their cause