Week 6.1 how congress works

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Week 6.1 how congress works

  1. 1. How Congress Works: Art. I Sections 4-7
  2. 2. Article I Sect. 4: Elections & Meeting TimesWho is responsible to hold the elections for Congress?
  3. 3. Article I Sect. 4: Elections & Meeting TimesWho is responsible to hold the elections for Congress?- the state legislatures, BUT Congress can regulate the elections as it choosesHow often is Congress to meet?
  4. 4. Article I Sect. 4: Elections & Meeting TimesWho is responsible to hold the elections for Congress?- the state legislatures, BUT Congress can regulate the elections as it chooses, and there are plenty of national laws regulating how elections will be heldHow often is Congress to meet?- At least once every year- Amendment XX changed the first day of meeting from the first Monday in December to noon on Jan. 3 (or another day as specified by Congress) following the most recent November election
  5. 5. Article I Section 5: ProceedingsDiscipline: Each house makes its own rules and judges its own membersWhat are the advantages & disadvantages of this?
  6. 6. Article I Section 5: ProceedingsDiscipline: Each house makes its own rules and judges its own membersWhat are the pros and cons of this?- pro: other branches of govt cant force their will on Congress- con: members are reluctant to judge one another for fear of reprisalsA two-thirds majority is needed to expel a member of either houseWhats a quorum?
  7. 7. Article I Section 5: ProceedingsDiscipline: Each house makes its own rules and judges its own membersWhat are the pros and cons of this?- pro: other branches of govt cant force their will on Congress- con: members are reluctant to judge one another for fear of reprisalsA two-thirds majority is needed to expel a member of either houseWhats a quorum? The number needed in order to conduct business; must be a simple majority (just over half present) for both houses
  8. 8. Art. I Sect. 5 contWhat does Congress do when a vote needs to be taken and there isnt a quorum?
  9. 9. Art. I Sect. 5 contWhat does Congress do when a vote needs to be taken and there isnt a quorum?- a quorum call is issued and the sergeant-at-arms brings in the absent members
  10. 10. Art. I Sect. 5 contWhat does Congress do when a vote needs to be taken and there isnt a quorum?- a quorum call is issued and the sergeant-at-arms brings in the absent membersWhat is the name of the journal kept by each house?
  11. 11. Art. I Sect. 5 contWhat does Congress do when a vote needs to be taken and there isnt a quorum?- a quorum call is issued and the sergeant-at-arms brings in the absent membersWhat is the name of the journal kept by each house?- The Congressional RecordNote: Votes can be kept secret, but if 1/5 of those present request a written record of the vote, then it will be recorded.Also, members can revise their speeches before putting them in the Record, so this isnt as helpful as it once wasHas anyone watched Congress on C-SPAN?
  12. 12. Art. I Sect. 5What does the Constitution say about how Congress can adjourn?
  13. 13. Art. I Sect. 5What does the Constitution say about how Congress can adjourn?- Neither house can adjourn for more than 3 days without the consent of the other house.Why did the Founders include this?
  14. 14. Art. I Sect. 5What does the Constitution say about how Congress can adjourn?- Neither house can adjourn for more than 3 days without the consent of the other house.Why did the Founders include this?- to prevent one house from stopping all progress, which can be a temptation when the houses are controlled by different parties. Both houses have to meet in their designated places, too.Witness what happened in Wisconsin last year; the Democratic legislators left the state so they wouldnt have to vote on anti-union legislation.
  15. 15. Art. I Sect. 6: SalarySenators & Representatives receive salaries for their work in CongressCurrent salaries:- Senators & Representatives: $174,000/year- Speaker of the House: $223,500- Majority & Minority Leaders: $193,400Whats a COLA?
  16. 16. Art. I Sect. 6: SalarySenators & Representatives receive salaries for their work in CongressCurrent salaries:- Senators & Representatives: $174,000/year- Speaker of the House: $223,500- Majority & Minority Leaders: $193,400Whats a COLA?- Cost of Living Adjustment = made every year unless Congress votes not to accept it- Ask your parents the last time they received a COLA
  17. 17. Art. I Sect. 6: Salary cont.In addition to their salaries, members of Congress receive other benefits such as:- budget to hire staff & run their office- franking privilege = the government pays for their mailings- retirement & health care plans, free parking in DC, etc.- may earn up to 15% of their salary from outside sources such as speaking fees and legal fees- can receive 100% of any book royalties they earn- unofficial perks when lobbyists pay for vacations, dinners, and other things (junket = trips abroad)
  18. 18. Art. I Sect. 6: ImmunityImmunity = ?
  19. 19. Art. I Sect. 6: ImmunityImmunity = protection from prosecution or arrestWhat kind of immunity does Congress have under the Constitution?
  20. 20. Art. I Sect. 6: ImmunityImmunity = protection from prosecution or arrestWhat kind of immunity does Congress have under the Constitution?- they cannot be arrested while attending, going to, or returning from a session of CongressWhat are the exceptions to this?
  21. 21. Art. I Sect. 6: ImmunityImmunity = protection from prosecution or arrestWhat kind of immunity does Congress have under the Constitution?- they cannot be arrested while attending, going to, or returning from a session of CongressWhat are the exceptions to this?- charges of treason, felony, or breach of the peaceThey also cannot face criminal charges for anything they say in speech or debate in CongressWhy is this provision in the Constitution?
  22. 22. Art. I Sect. 6: Immunity cont.The immunity section is included to protect members of Congress from being arrested and even executed by their political enemies (such as the President or a powerful Cabinet member). Kings used this tactic all the time.Con: Congressman sometimes say ridiculous things or even lies in Congress b/c they cant be punished for them.Pro: They can say unpopular things without fear
  23. 23. Art. I Sect. 6: LimitationsCan a member of Congress hold another federal office at the same time?
  24. 24. Art. I Sect. 6: LimitationsCan a member of Congress hold another federal office at the same time? No!- They also cannot take any federal office that was created by Congress until after their term is ended- Nor can they take a federal office for which the pay was increased during their term in Congress until after their term has expired.Why?
  25. 25. Art. I Sect. 6: LimitationsCan a member of Congress hold another federal office at the same time? No!- They also cannot take any federal office that was created by their house of Congress until after their term is ended- Nor can they take a federal office for which the pay was increased during their term in Congress until after their term has expired. Likewise, civil servants cannot serve in Congress unless they first resign.Why? To prevent Congress from giving themselves federal jobs or jobs with increased salaries & to avoid conflicts of interestHowever, former Congressman & Senators can serve in federal govt. once they are no longer in officde
  26. 26. More on How Congress WorksSee pp. 246-260 of Bob Jones textWho selects the leaders of Congress?
  27. 27. More on How Congress WorksSee pp. 246-260 of Bob Jones textWho selects the leaders of Congress?- Each party selects their own leaders in a meeting called a caucus. - Which ever party has the majority picks the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader and Whip of both houses.What are term limits?
  28. 28. More on How Congress WorksSee pp. 246-260 of Bob Jones textWho selects the leaders of Congress?- Each party selects their own leaders in a meeting called a caucus. - Which ever party has the majority picks the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader and Whip of both houses.What are term limits?- a law that sets a limit on how many consecutive (or total) terms an elected official can serveDoes the Constitution include term limits for members of Congress?
  29. 29. More on How Congress WorksSee pp. 246-260 of Bob Jones textWho selects the leaders of Congress?- Each party selects their own leaders in a meeting called a caucus. - Which ever party has the majority picks the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader and Whip of both houses.What are term limits?- a law that sets a limit on how many consecutive (or total) terms an elected official can serveDoes the Constitution include term limits for members of Congress? NO, but some candidates have limited themselves
  30. 30. Why are term limits popular with some voters?Because some congressmen serve for decades, inviting corruption and complacencyWhat is an incumbent?
  31. 31. Why are term limits popular with some voters?Because some congressmen serve for decades, inviting corruption and complacencyWhat is an incumbent?- a current officeholder who is running for re-electionWhy is it so hard to defeat an incumbent?
  32. 32. Why are term limits popular with some voters?Because some congressmen serve for decades, inviting corruption and complacencyWhat is an incumbent?- a current officeholder who is running for re-electionWhy is it so hard to defeat an incumbent?- b/c they have name recognition,- have helped constituents through casework,- have gathered support by bringing the bacon back to their districts,- have more financial backing & govt perks like franking
  33. 33. Congressional CommitteesWhy are the committees important?
  34. 34. Congressional CommitteesWhy are the committees important?- Most of the work on legislation is done in committeesWhat are the four types of committees in Congress?
  35. 35. Congressional CommitteesWhy are the committees important?- Most of the work on legislation is done in committeesWhat are the four types of committees in Congress?- Standing: permanent committees & usually the most powerful. See p. 254 for a list; which committee would handle which bill (p. 254 TE)
  36. 36. Congressional CommitteesWhy are the committees important?- Most of the work on legislation is done in committeesWhat are the four types of committees in Congress?- Standing Committees: permanent committees & usually the most powerful. See p. 254 for a list; which committee would handle each of these bills?1. construction of new tracks for Amtrak2. research into additional uses for cottonseed oil3. adding 5 new staff members to offices of federal district judges4. research on predicting droughts in the U.S.5. exempting companies with less than 25 employees from EPA inspections6. restoring diplomatic relations with North Korea
  37. 37. Other CommitteesSelect Committees: created for a special purpose, often to investigate a problem; usually temporaryJoint Committees: permanent committees that include members from both houses; they act in an advisory manner and have very little real powerConference Committees: ad hoc (temporary) committees drawn from both houses to work out a compromise agreement on a bill or proposed law
  38. 38. Other CommitteesSelect Committees: created for a special purpose, often to investigate a problem; usually temporaryJoint Committees: permanent committees that include members from both houses; they act in an advisory manner and have very little real powerConference Committees: ad hoc (temporary) committees drawn from both houses to work out a compromise agreement on a bill or proposed law
  39. 39. More on CommitteesWho are the most powerful people on a committee?
  40. 40. More on CommitteesWho are the most powerful people on a committee?- The chairman, always a member of the majority party- They control what bills get heard by the committee,- They control the schedule, even to the point of making sure opponents wont be present- They have a lot of say over who can serve on their committee- They can kill a bill assigned to their committee without it even appearing before the rest of the membersYou get the idea
  41. 41. Article I Section 7: How Does a Bill Become Law?Member of Congress decides to carry a billAfter being drafted, the bill is turned over to a committee.If not killed, the committee holds hearings on the bill.Bill is submitted to the full house for debate and voting.The other house assigns it to a committee for hearings and revisions.The second house passes the bill.Any differences are ironed out by a Senate-House conference committee.Compromise bill is passed by both houses.President signs the bill into law.
  42. 42. Art. I Sect. 7: More on LawmakingWhat happens to most bills?
  43. 43. Art. I Sect. 7: More on LawmakingWhat happens to most bills?- They are killed without passing out of committee.What is a filibuster?
  44. 44. Art. I Sect. 7: More on LawmakingWhat happens to most bills?- They are killed without passing out of committee.What is a filibuster?- b/c unlimited debate is allowed in the Senate, the opponents of a bill can try to “talk the bill to death.” All the senator (or team of senators) has to do is to keep talking about anything to delay the vote.How is a filibuster broken?
  45. 45. Art. I Sect. 7: More on LawmakingWhat happens to most bills?- They are killed without passing out of committee.What is a filibuster?- b/c unlimited debate is allowed in the Senate, the opponents of a bill can try to “talk the bill to death.” All the senator (or team of senators) has to do is to keep talking about anything to delay the vote.How is a filibuster broken?- Either the filibustering team stops talking or a vote for cloture (a motion to stop debate)is taken. 16 senators have to sign a motion to invoke cloture and then 60 senators have to vote to end debate.
  46. 46. Art. I Sect. 7: More on LawmakingWhats a lobbyist?
  47. 47. LobbyingWhats a lobbyist?- someone who works to influence legislation- they are called this b/c they traditionally talk with legislators in the lobby outside of the legislative chambers- they are often paid a lot of money to do this and must register with the govt and follow strict rules- they usually represent a special interest group (SIG)- they try to influence other govt officials in addition to Congress such as the president and various bureaucrats- a necessary part of the political process but one that is subject to corruption and abuse
  48. 48. Art. I Sect. 7: RevenueRevenue = ?
  49. 49. Art. I Sect. 7: RevenueRevenue = income, esp. of a governmentWhat is a governments main source of revenue?
  50. 50. Art. I Sect. 7: RevenueRevenue = income, esp. of a governmentWhat is a governments main source of revenue?- taxes, of course!In which house do bills that raise money (revenue) originate?
  51. 51. Art. I Sect. 7: RevenueRevenue = income, esp. of a governmentWhat is a governments main source of revenue?- taxes, of course!In which house do bills that raise money (revenue) originate?The House, but the Senate can make changes to itThis restriction only applies to bills that deal directly with taxation. Appropriations bills, which allocate funds, can be initiated by either house as can revenue bills that dont deal with taxation.
  52. 52. The Presidents Role in Law-makingWhat are the Presidents options when a bill is passed on to him?
  53. 53. The Presidents Role in Law-makingWhat are the Presidents options when a bill is passed on to him?He can sign the bill, making it law.He can veto (send it back w/o his signature) the bill and kill it. However, Congress can override the veto if 2/3 of both houses vote for the bill after the veto.He can ignore the bill, thus taking no position on it. If Congress is in session the bill will become law in 10 days.If Congress adjourns during those 10 days, and the president does not sign it, the bill will die. This is called the pocket veto. This is done to discourage Congress from overloading the President with a bunch of bills at the end of a session.
  54. 54. An ExceptionWhat is the one act of both houses of Congress that does not require the Presidents approval to be passed?
  55. 55. An ExceptionWhat is the one act of both houses of Congress that does not require the Presidents approval to be passed?- The decision to adjourn; Congress can do this on their own authority as long as both houses agree.

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