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Chapter 8 Congress

Chapter 8 Congress

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Chapter 8 Congress

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  1. Chapter 8Congress

  2. Congress

  3. Congress

  4. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Topic Overview To a considerable extent, the complex constitutional structure of Congress, particularly its bicameralism, reflected the need to balance conflicting state interests in 1787. The Senate provided small states with equal representation while the House was to be apportioned according to population. Each body of Congress was to have powers and terms of office to serve its different constituency.

  5. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Reading James Madison, Federalist 53, 56, 57, 58, 62, 63

  6. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Theme In these selections from The Federalist, James Madison describes the theory behind the structure of Congress, in particular its bicameralism and the different powers, constituencies, and terms of office given to the House and Senate.

  7. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Federalist 53 Defending the two-year terms adopted in the Constitution, Madison argues that representatives in the House will need some knowledge of national affairs (how things work in the different states), as well as some minimal knowledge of foreign affairs. Because experience in the House counts here, two-year terms are appropriate.

  8. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Federalist 53 Madison also argued that one-year House terms would increase the amount of election fraud in the election of representatives. His reasoning was that it takes a while for election fraud to come to light. If the elections were annual, a representative could buy an election and serve most of his term before the fraud came to light.

  9. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Federalist 56 This paper discusses the size of the United States House of Representatives. It is titled The Same Subject Continued: The Total Number of the House of Representatives. In this paper, Madison addresses the criticism that the House of Representatives is too small to sufficiently understand the varied interests of all its constituents.

  10. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Federalist 57 It is titled The Alleged Tendency of the New Plan to Elevate the Few at the Expense of the Many. Madison advocates the election of “men who possess most wisdom to discern, and ... pursue, the common good of the society.”

  11. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Federalist 57 According to the essay, the representatives will be true to their constituents for the following five reasons. 1. The people chose these distinguished men to uphold their engagements, so the representatives have an obligation to stand by their words. 2. The representatives sense a mark of honor and gratitude and feel at least the tiniest affection to these constituents.

  12. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Federalist 57 3. Selfish motives of the human nature bind the representative to his constituents because the delegates hope to seek advancement from their followers rather than the government. 4. Also, frequent elections remind the representatives that they are dependent on the constituents for their loyalty and support, and the representatives are compelled to remain faithful to their constituents.

  13. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Federalist 57 5. The laws created by the legislators will apply to all members of society, including the legislators themselves.

  14. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Federalist 58 This paper examines the ability of the United States House of Representatives to grow with the population of the United States. It is titled Objection that the Number of Members Will Not Be Augmented as the Progress of Population Demands Considered.

  15. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Federalist 62 This is the first of two essays by Madison detailing, and seeking to justify, the organization of the U.S. Senate, and it is titled The Senate. Four key considerations are discussed in Federalist 62. 1. The qualifications of senators (thirty years of age or older/citizen for nine years)

  16. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Federalist 62 2. The appointment of senators by the state legislatures (later changed to direct popular vote by the Seventeenth Amendment) 3. The equality of representation in the Senate 4. The number of senators (this essay contains only a partial portion of Madison’s points on this issue; the rest of his thoughts are completed in Federalist 63)

  17. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Federalist 63 Continuing what Madison began in Federalist 62, it is the second of two essays detailing and justifying the organization of the United States Senate. Federalist 63 is titled The Senate Continued. This essay is the last of Madison's contributions to the series. In this paper, Madison lays out more reasons for the necessity of the Senate.

  18. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Federalist 63 Madison argues that the Senate, a strong and the most stable member of the government, is needed to ensure lasting relations with foreign nations. He also notes that because senators are elected to six-year terms, they will have sufficient time to be responsible for their actions. The Senate can also serve as a check on the people since, although during most times their will is just, they too are “subject to the periodic infection of violent passions.”

  19. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Federalist 63 Madison also gives examples of past long-lived republics, all of which had a Senate. They, however, had senates elected for life, which, if followed, could threaten the liberty of the people. It is for this reason that the Senate proposed in the Constitution has six-year terms. In this way, the Senate in the Union blends stability with the idea of liberty.

  20. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Terms of office for the House and Senate The members of the House of Representatives are so dependent on the people that they will be compelled to anticipate the moment when their power is to cease, when their exercise of it is to be reviewed, and when they must descend to the level from which they were raised; there forever to remain unless a faithful discharge of their trust shall have established their title to a renewal of it (Federalist 57).

  21. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Terms of office for the House and Senate In other words, the two-year term of office is to keep the members of the House strictly accountable to their constituents. There is a six-year term for senators because the Senate is to act as a check upon the House, and one way in which it is to do this is to have a more conservative constituency and a longer term of office, to make it more detached from popular passions.

  22. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Terms of office for the House and Senate It is not possible that an assembly of men (the House of Representatives) called for the most part from pursuits of a private nature continued in appointments for a short time, and led by no permanent motive to devote the intervals of public occupation to a study of the laws, the affairs, and the comprehensive interests of the country, should, if left wholly to themselves, escape a variety of important errors in the exercise of their legislative trust.

  23. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Terms of office for the House and Senate The Senate, with its greater wisdom, its longer period of time to study the affairs of legislation, can check the errors of the House (Federalist 62).

  24. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests A system of checks and balances between the House and the Senate The House and Senate have not only different terms of office, which provide their members with different perspectives, but also contrasting constituencies. No law or resolution can now be passed without the concurrence, first, of a majority of the people and then of a majority of the states (Federalist 62).

  25. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests A system of checks and balances between the House and the Senate Moreover, the mere existence of two separate bodies causes legislative power to be divided and acts as a check on the legislature. It doubles the security to the people by requiring the concurrence of two distinct bodies in schemes of usurpation or perfidy, where the ambition or corruption of one would otherwise be sufficient (Federalist 62).

  26. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests It is necessary to have an internal check within the legislature itself. Federalist 62 states that the necessity of a Senate is not less indicated by the propensity of all single and numerous assemblies, to yield to the impulse of sudden and violent passions, and to be seduced by factious leaders into intemperate and pernicious resolutions.

  27. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Primary functions of the legislature Clearly the legislature was to be the primary policy body. It was to be the dominant legislative force in government subject only to the presidential veto or judicial review.

  28. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Significance Under the original constitutional plan, it was absolutely clear that Congress was to exercise primary legislative functions. A major difference between the House and the Senate in the Constitution is the popular election of members of the House.

  29. Constitutional Background: Representation of Popular, Group, and National Interests Significance According to Madison in Federalist 62, equality of representation for the states in the Senate was (1) an important check upon improper legislative acts, (2) a check upon majority rule, and (3) the result of compromise between the large and small states. Madison argued in Federalist 63 that the Senate is an important complement to the House because the short term of the House reduces its capacity to give continuity to legislation.

  30. Congress and the Washington Political Establishment Topic Overview Woodrow Wilson as a graduate student in the 1880s studied and wrote his doctoral dissertation on Congress, which became a classic in congressional literature. The conclusion of Congressional Government calls for more party control of Congress to connect it to public opinion.

  31. Congress and the Washington Political Establishment Topic Overview As Wilson describes Congress in the following selection, committees define its politics, not disciplined parties. Capitol Hill politics reflect an ebb and flow and committee and party control, but the cycles of committee power are longer than those of party dominance.

  32. Congress and the Washington Political Establishment Reading Woodrow Wilson, Congressional Government

  33. Congress and the Washington Political Establishment Congressional Government During the 1880s, Congress was beginning to emerge from an institution citizen legislators dominated to a venue in which professional politicians advanced their political careers. Member reelection and internal power incentives began to shape Congress and led to the rise of multiple committees to serve these incentives. Committees were the little legislatures that collectively defined Congress.

  34. Congress and the Washington Political Establishment Congressional Government Somewhat ironically for a future American president, Wilson greatly admired the parliamentary and party model of government. Committee denomination of Congress reflected a decentralization and fragmentation of the legislative process that advanced special interests and defeated the collective will of popular majorities that parties should represent.

  35. Congress and the Washington Political Establishment Congressional Government He concluded that committee denomination of Congress reflected a decentralization and fragmentation of the legislative process that advanced special interests and defeated the collective will of popular majorities that parties should represent.

  36. Congress and the Washington Political Establishment Significance Woodrow Wilson’s Congressional Government described a Congress controlled by powerful committees. Wilson stated that the most powerful member of Congress was the Speaker of the House.

  37. Congress and the Washington Political Establishment Significance Wilson stated in Congressional Government that (1) the House has as many leaders as there are subjects of legislation; for there are as many Standing Committees, (2) both the House of Representatives and the Senate conduct their business by what may figuratively, but not inaccurately, be called an odd device of disintegration, and (3) disciplined political parties characterize both the House and the Senate.

  38. Congress and the Washington Political Establishment Reading • Morris P. Fiorina, The Rise of the Washington Establishment

  39. Congress and the Washington Political Establishment Theme This reading is Fiorina’s thesis from his award-winning book, Congress: Keystone of the Washington Establishment (1977). The thesis is that Congress has created a bureaucracy not only in response to political demands but to enable its members to enhance their reelection prospects by acting as buffers between citizens and the bureaucracy.

  40. Congress and the Washington Political Establishment Theme Congress, which gained credit for establishing the vast number of programs the executive branch administers, steps in after the creation of departments and agencies to receive credit for handling constituent complaints against them. Congressional rhetoric attacks the bureaucracy and the institution of Congress itself, but beneath the rhetoric, committee chairmen, staffers, and administrative agencies often act collusively to advance their mutual political interests.

  41. Congress and the Washington Political Establishment Assumptions about the Washington political establishment and those within it Fiorina assumes that most people most of the time act in their own self-interest. Fiorina assumes that the primary goal of the typical congressman is reelection. Most bureaucrats wish to protect and nurture their agencies, and the typical bureaucrat can be expected to seek to expand his agency in terms of personnel, budget, and mission.

  42. Congress and the Washington Political Establishment Assumptions about the Washington political establishment and those within it The voters wish to receive a maximum of benefits from government for the minimum cost. This goal suggests mutual exploitation of the other. Each of us favors an arrangement in which our fellow citizens pay for our benefits.

  43. Congress and the Washington Political Establishment Conclusions about the Washington establishment drawn from his assumptions Reelection is the primary goal of congressmen, and they engage in lawmaking, pork-barreling, and casework to achieve reelection. Fiorina states the core of his thesis is that the key to the rise of the Washington establishment (and the vanishing marginals) is the growth of an activist federal government that has stimulated a change in the mix of congressional activities.

  44. Congress and the Washington Political Establishment Conclusions about the Washington establishment drawn from his assumptions A lesser proportion of congressional effort is now going into programmatic activities and a greater proportion into pork-barrel and casework activities. As a result, today’s congressmen make relatively fewer enemies and relatively more friends among the people of their districts.

  45. Congress and the Washington Political Establishment Conclusions about the Washington establishment drawn from his assumptions Fiorina concludes that the nature of the Washington system is quite clear. Congressmen earn electoral credits by creating various federal programs, and the minority party typically earns credits by fighting the good fight. In short, without an overbearing bureaucracy, members would have significantly less casework activities they could engage in to gain electoral credits and reelection.

  46. Congress and the Washington Political Establishment Significance Fiorina states that a typical bureaucrat expands the personnel, budget, and mission of his agency. Morris Fiorina states that (1) congressmen find reelection to be at least a necessary condition for the achievement of their goals, (2) congressmen who are not primarily interested in reelection will not achieve reelection as often as those who are interested, and (3) for most of the twentieth century, congressmen have engaged in lawmaking, pork-barreling, and casework.

  47. Congress and the Washington Political Establishment Significance Morris P. Fiorina sees the bureaucracy as helpful to congressmen seeking reelection. The growth of an activist federal government has caused a congressional shift from programmatic to pork-barrel and casework activities.

  48. Committee Chairmen as Political Entrepreneurs Topic Overview A major incentive of many members of Congress is personalpower on Capitol Hill. Harold Lasswell once stated that politics is about who gets what, when, where, and how. The quest for power is always central to the political game, and power can become an end in itself.

  49. Committee Chairmen as Political Entrepreneurs Reading • Lawrence C. Dodd, Congress and the Quest for Power

  50. Committee Chairmen as Political Entrepreneurs Theme Lawrence Dodd gives priority to the personal power incentive, which leads him to view Congress more from an internal than external perspective. The pursuit of personal power within Congress supports decentralization and the dispersion of power on Capitol Hill. The power incentive spawns committees and is an important reason for the almost 300 committees and subcommittees within Congress.