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Legislative Branch Notes


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Legislative Branch Notes

  1. 1. The Legislative Branch
  2. 2. <ul><li>Bicameral </li></ul><ul><li>A legislative body with two houses </li></ul><ul><li>established by the Constitution- Article I </li></ul><ul><li>modeled after the British Parliament </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Term </li></ul><ul><li>Length of time between elections in Congress </li></ul><ul><li>terms begin according to the </li></ul><ul><li>20th Amendment in January </li></ul><ul><li>Terms are numbered consecutively </li></ul><ul><li> 9, 10, 11,12, 13,… </li></ul><ul><li>1st Congress  March 4, 1789 </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Session </li></ul><ul><li>Formal meetings in which members perform legislative work (each term divided into 2 sessions) </li></ul><ul><li>until WWII  4 month sessions </li></ul><ul><li>currently full year sessions with short recess </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>CONSTITUENTS  the people who are represented </li></ul><ul><li>CONTINUOUS BODY  all seats are never up for election at the same time </li></ul>Vocabulary
  6. 6. 110th 1st Session of the Congress
  7. 7. “ I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace, that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a Congress.” 1776, A Musical Play
  8. 8. “ It can probably be shown by facts & figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.” Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain)
  9. 9. If the opposite of pro is con , then the opposite of progress must be Congress.
  10. 10. House of Representatives <ul><li># of seats not fixed </li></ul><ul><li>apportioned  distributed based on population </li></ul><ul><li>serve 2 year terms without term limitation </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Reapportion  Redistribute </li></ul><ul><ul><li>every 10 years  Census </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>435 is “permanent” size </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Congress can change size </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Elections  ALL re-elected </li></ul><ul><ul><li>even number years </li></ul></ul>House of Representatives
  12. 12. <ul><li>Districts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>drawn up to elect reps. to House (Census) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gerrymander </li></ul><ul><ul><li>to draw districts to give an advantage to a political party </li></ul></ul>House of Representatives
  13. 13. <ul><li>* 25 years of age </li></ul><ul><li>*U.S. Citizen for 7 years </li></ul><ul><li>*Inhabit state represented </li></ul><ul><li>*can’t be arrested while in session unless commit treason OR felony </li></ul><ul><ul><li>custom dictates representative must live in district </li></ul></ul>House Qualifications
  14. 14. Who are OUR elected officials? <ul><li>House of Representatives (19th District) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Todd Platts - R (York Township) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Since 2000 </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Senate <ul><li># of seats fixed by “C”  100 </li></ul><ul><li>2 from each State </li></ul><ul><li>6 year terms </li></ul><ul><li>Represent entire State </li></ul><ul><li>NO DISTRICTS </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Older membership - </li></ul><ul><li>House  Senate  House </li></ul><ul><li>Prestigious  less members; tougher to get elected </li></ul><ul><li>HIGH media visibility </li></ul><ul><li>staggered terms  1/3 expire each year </li></ul>Senate
  17. 17. Senate Qualifications <ul><li>* 30 years of age </li></ul><ul><li>*U.S. Citizen for 9 years </li></ul><ul><li>*Inhabit state represented </li></ul>
  18. 18. Who are OUR elected officials? Arlen Specter-R since 1981 Class III Bob Casey-D since 2007 Class I
  19. 19. The Powers of Congress Expressed vs. Implied
  20. 20. The Expressed Powers of Congress <ul><li>Powers given by (written in) the Constitution </li></ul><ul><li>NOT clearly defined; subject to interpretation </li></ul>
  21. 21. Peace Powers <ul><li>To collect taxes </li></ul><ul><li>To borrow money </li></ul><ul><li>To regulate trade </li></ul><ul><li>To coin money </li></ul><ul><li>To establish post offices </li></ul><ul><li>To grant patents and copyrights </li></ul><ul><li>To create courts </li></ul>
  22. 22. War Powers <ul><li>To declare war </li></ul><ul><li>To raise and support armies </li></ul><ul><li>To provide and maintain a navy </li></ul><ul><li>To make laws governing land and naval forces </li></ul>
  23. 23. Implied Powers <ul><li>The Necessary and Proper Clause </li></ul><ul><li>“ 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.” </li></ul>
  24. 24. Implied Powers <ul><li>Often called the “Elastic Clause” because it has allowed the Federal Government to stretch its powers. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Implied Powers <ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><li>-…collect taxes --- IMPLIES the power to make tax evasion a crime and provide for its punishment </li></ul><ul><li>-... raise armies and a navy --- IMPLIES the power to draft men into the armed forces </li></ul><ul><li>-…regulate trade ---IMPLIES the power to fix minimum wages and maximum work hours </li></ul>
  26. 26. August 4, 1974
  27. 27. The Non-legislative Powers <ul><li>Impeachment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>House has the sole power to impeach -bring charges against </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Senate has the sole power to judge an impeachment case </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. The Non-legislative Powers <ul><li>Constitutional Amendments </li></ul><ul><li>Electoral Duties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Election of a President by House, if no majority from the electoral college </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each state receives one vote </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Election of V-P by Senate, if no majority from the electoral college </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. The Non-legislative Powers <ul><li>Executive Powers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>confirmation of major appointments by the President </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. The Non-legislative Powers <ul><li>Investigative Power </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Oversee operation of executive branch </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expose questionable activities of public officials </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. Interest group - a private organization that tries to “influence” lawmakers
  32. 32. Lobbying - the activities of a person for a pressure or interest group, usually influencing lawmakers
  33. 33. The basic job of a lobbyist is to try to get a member of Congress to vote in a beneficial way toward the group the lobbyist represents.
  34. 34. Congressional Voting Options <ul><li>Trustee- </li></ul><ul><li>Members of Congress vote on issues “as they see fit.” They are not influenced by outside groups OR constituents </li></ul>
  35. 35. Congressional Voting Options <ul><li>Delegate - </li></ul><ul><li>Member is an agent of those who elected them. Vote based on what “the folks back home” would want </li></ul>
  36. 36. Congressional Voting Options <ul><li>Partisan - </li></ul><ul><li>Member owes 1st allegiance to their political party. Leading factor in influencing votes. </li></ul>
  37. 37. Congressional Voting Options <ul><li>Politico - </li></ul><ul><li>tries to balance all three </li></ul>
  38. 38. Congressional Voting Options <ul><li>Sellout - </li></ul><ul><li>gives in to the pressure put on by lobbyists, interest groups, & PACs </li></ul>
  39. 39. Congress Organizes House of Representatives <ul><li>Speaker of the House </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintains order in the House </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>supposed to remain bipartisan in decision-making process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>elected by peers - from the majority party </li></ul></ul>
  40. 40. Congress Organizes House of Representatives <ul><li>Majority Leader </li></ul><ul><ul><li>top ranking official of the party with the most members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>assisted by the majority whip </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Minority Leader </li></ul><ul><ul><li>top ranking official of the party with the least members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>assisted by the minority whip </li></ul></ul>
  41. 41. Senate <ul><li>President of the Senate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vice President of the United States </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>maintains order in the Senate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>supposed to remain bipartisan in decision-making process </li></ul></ul>
  42. 42. Senate <ul><li>President Pro Tempore </li></ul><ul><ul><li>performs the duties of the President of the Senate in his absence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>elected by his peers - from the majority party </li></ul></ul>
  43. 43. Senate <ul><li>Majority Leader </li></ul><ul><ul><li>top ranking official of the party with the most members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>assisted by the majority whip </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Minority Leader </li></ul><ul><ul><li>top ranking official of the party with the least members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>assisted by the minority whip </li></ul></ul>
  44. 44. <ul><li>House of Representatives </li></ul><ul><li>Speaker of the House </li></ul><ul><li>Nancy Pelosi-D CA </li></ul><ul><li>Majority Leader </li></ul><ul><li>Steny Hoyer-D MD </li></ul><ul><li>Minority Leader </li></ul><ul><li>John Boehner-R OH </li></ul><ul><li>Senate </li></ul><ul><li>President of the Senate </li></ul><ul><li>Dick Cheney-R (VP) </li></ul><ul><li>President Pro Tempore </li></ul><ul><li>Robert Byrd-D WV </li></ul><ul><li>Majority Leader </li></ul><ul><li>Harry Reid-D NV </li></ul><ul><li>Minority Leader </li></ul><ul><li>Mitch McConnell-R KY </li></ul>
  45. 45. Committees in Congress <ul><li>standing committees - permanent committees </li></ul><ul><ul><li>each house has own committees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>chairmen chosen by party leaders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>majority party holds majority in committee </li></ul></ul>
  46. 46. Committees in Congress <ul><li>Joint committees </li></ul><ul><ul><li>composed of members of both houses </li></ul></ul>
  47. 47. House Standing Committees <ul><li>Agriculture </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriations </li></ul><ul><li>Armed Services </li></ul><ul><li>Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs </li></ul><ul><li>Budget </li></ul><ul><li>District of Columbia </li></ul><ul><li>Education and labor </li></ul><ul><li>Energy and Commerce </li></ul><ul><li>Foreign Affairs </li></ul><ul><li>Government Operations </li></ul><ul><li>House Administration </li></ul><ul><li>Interior and Insular Affairs </li></ul><ul><li>Judiciary </li></ul><ul><li>Merchant marine and Fisheries </li></ul><ul><li>Post Office and Civil Service </li></ul><ul><li>Public Works and Transportation Rules </li></ul><ul><li>Science, Space and Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Small Business </li></ul><ul><li>Standards of Official Conduct </li></ul><ul><li>Veterans’ Affairs </li></ul><ul><li>Ways and Means </li></ul>
  48. 48. Senate Standing Committees <ul><li>Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriations </li></ul><ul><li>Armed Services </li></ul><ul><li>Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs </li></ul><ul><li>Budget </li></ul><ul><li>Commerce, Science, and Transportation </li></ul><ul><li>Energy and Natural Resources </li></ul><ul><li>Environment and Public Works </li></ul><ul><li>Finance </li></ul><ul><li>Foreign Relations </li></ul><ul><li>Governmental Affairs </li></ul><ul><li>Judiciary </li></ul><ul><li>Labor and Human Resources </li></ul><ul><li>Rules and Administration </li></ul><ul><li>Small Business </li></ul><ul><li>Veterans’ Affairs </li></ul>
  49. 49. Joint Committees of Congress <ul><li>Economic Committee </li></ul><ul><li>The Library </li></ul><ul><li>Printing </li></ul><ul><li>Taxation </li></ul>
  50. 50. How A Bill Becomes a Law After a bill is introduced and passed in one house it must go to the other for the same process. <ul><li>1. Referred to a committee </li></ul><ul><li>2. Then to a subcommittee </li></ul><ul><li>3. Committee decides future </li></ul><ul><li>recommend or decline </li></ul>Floor Action <ul><li>Debate  strict limitations </li></ul><ul><li> limited time to speak </li></ul><ul><li> must be about the bill </li></ul>Vetoed bill A bill may be presented in either house <ul><li>1. Referred to a committee </li></ul><ul><li>2. Then to a subcommittee </li></ul><ul><li>3. Committee decides future </li></ul><ul><li>recommend or decline </li></ul>Floor Action <ul><li>Debate  no limitations </li></ul><ul><li> filibuster </li></ul><ul><li>“ talk a bill to death” </li></ul>Vetoed bill PRESIDENTIAL ACTION sign into law or veto Senate Bill House Bill