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Congress

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Congress

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  1. Congress Chapter 7

  2. TheConstitution and the Legislative Branch of Government

  3. Bicameral Legislature-2 houses • Requirements for membership in the House and Senate • Age-House-25-Senate 30 • Residency-7 & 9 • Legal residents of state • Terms of Representatives and Senators • House-2 years Senate-6 years

  4. How Senators elected under Article I • By state legislatures • 17th Amendment • In 1913, changed to popular vote • 1/3 of body elected every 2 years

  5. Apportionment/Redistricting • Size of House in 1790 • 65 • House membership set by statue in 1929 • 435 (438 from 1959 to 1963) • Apportionment • allotting seats to the states every 10 years • Redistricting • redrawing districts to allow for changes in population

  6. Constitutional Powers of Congress • Bill • a proposed law • Article I, section 8 • Section of Constitution identifying the powers of Congress • Necessary and Proper Clause • Found at end of section, increases the scope of the powers of Congress at the expense of the states

  7. Initiates all revenue bills Power to impeach 2 year terms 435 members Gives “advice and consent” to appointments Tries impeachments Approves treaties 6 year terms 100 members (2 per state) Constitutional Differences House Senate

  8. More centralized More formal Stronger leaders Strong Rules Committee More impersonal Power distributed less evenly Specialized Tax/ revenue specialists Less Centralized Weaker leadership No rules committee Fewer limits on debate More personal Even power distribution Generalists Foreign policy emphasis Operational Differences House Senate

  9. Power centralized with Speaker More efficiency High turnover Workload increasing Less informality Threat of filibuster is greater Less laws passed Turnover is moderate Changes House Senate

  10. Impeachment Process • House-serves as prosecution • Senate-serves as jury (2/3rds vote necessary for conviction) • Advise and Consent Power of Senate • Approval of appointments and treaties • Wilson and the Treaty of Versailles • Wilson wins European cooperation but fails to convince the U.S. Senate

  11. How Congress is Organized

  12. New Congress seated every 2 years-110th Congress in 2007 • Hierarchical Leadership • Organized more tightly, structured more elaborately, and governed by stricter rules • Dueling in Congress • Guns, knives evident on floor but dueling outlawed in 1839

  13. The House of Representatives • The first Congress in 1789 • House 3 times larger than Senate • Speaker of the House • Only officer mentioned in Constitution-modeled after British • Majority Party-party with greatest number of reps • Dennis Hastert- previous Speaker

  14. Minority party-party with fewest # of reps • The first power House speaker • Henry Clay, served for 6 terms • Institutional and personal power reached its height with what speaker? • Joe Cannon • Newt Gingrich • Became Speaker in 1995

  15. Significance of 105th Congress • First Republican Congress in 40 years • Party caucus or conference • Formal gathering of all party members • Majority leader • 2nd most important post in House • Nancy Pelosi • Democrat Minority Leader who called for a Minority Bill of Rights ( see page 247) and is now Speaker

  16. Republican and Democratic whips • Assist leaders by keeping members in line with party issues • Tom Delay • Whip in 1998 who kept Republicans in line to vote for Clinton impeachment

  17. The Senate • Presiding officer of the Senate and duties • Vice President who only votes in case of ties • Dick Cheney-present VP • President pro tempore-official chair of the Senate-most senior member of the majority party

  18. Majority leader of the Senate and duties • Reid of Nevada leads the Majority • Why call a “gentleman’s club”? • Ruled by unwritten laws • “My able, learned and distinguished colleague” • “My very able, learned and distinguished colleague”

  19. The Roles of Parties in Organizing Congress • Regarding committees • Controlled by majority party • At start in caucus • Party members gather to organize • Committee on Committees Republican body that hands out assignments • Steering Committee-Democratic counterpart

  20. The Committee System • Real work takes place in committee • Congress in session is only an exhibition • Republican reorganzition • Cut and renamed committees in 1995

  21. Types of committees • Standing-permanent • Joint-include members from both Houses • Conference-formed to compromise on bills (joint) • Select or Special-temporarily organized for specific purpose • See Table 7.3

  22. House Rules of Committee • Traffic cop of the House • Discharge petition • Forcing a bill out of committee • Committee membership • Senators serve on more committees • Pork- process by which representatives bring home $ to districts in form of projects

  23. Appropriations and budget committee • Allot monies to projects/bills • Republican majority • Takes greater majority of seats in more important committees • Committee chairs • Appoint sub-committee chairs, call meetings, appoint who sits on conference committees

  24. Seniority • Member with most years of service • Role of seniority in selecting chairs • House-seniority no longer decider • Senate-chairs have most seniority

  25. The Members of Congress

  26. Careerists-those who choose to serve long terms • Reasons why members do not seek reelection-cost of living in D.C.. Scandal, maintaining 2 homes, partisanship, media scrutiny • How former members of Congress make a lot of $ in private sector-they become lobbyists • Constituencies members must attempt to appease-party leaders, colleagues, lobbyists in D.C. and constituents in home districts

  27. Running/Staying in Office • Incumbency-occupying an office • In 2004-only 7 members failed to win election (some incumbents ran against each other in Texas because of redistricting)

  28. Congressional Demographics • General demographics of members -richer, whiter and more male than the general population • Millionaires Club-170 out of 535 members are millionaires-Senate is nicknamed the Millionaires Club for this reason

  29. Theories of Representation • Trustee-listen to constituents, then best decision • Delegate-vote the wishes of your constituency • Politico-switching between trustee and delegate • Minority representation-thought that minorities (including women) are more sympathetic towards domestic issues

  30. How Members Make Decisions

  31. Law Making Functions • Party-members vote partisan (60%) • Divided Government-Congress and White House led by opposing parties • Both Congress and Party controlled by Party = United Government • Reasons members vote the way they do relative to party membership-campaign funding, media consulting, direct mailing, and support from powerful party members

  32. Constituents • Constituents- people who live and vote in a member’s district or state • How often do members vote in conformity?- 2/3rds of the time

  33. Colleagues/ Caucuses • Logrolling-votetrading • Special-interest caucuses: groups organized around a theme ( Congressional Women’s Caucus)

  34. Interest Groups & Lobbyist • Primary functions of lobbyists- to provide accurate information to gain support from representatives • Grassroots appeals-organized efforts to write, fax or e-mail reps to apply pressure to votes • Do members vote in favor of interests?-yes, when not effecting constituents (mostly in committee)

  35. Staff & Support Agencies • Members reliance on Staff-heavy reliance for info on pending legislation • Duties of Staff- meet with other staffs, summarize bills based on their research • Committee staff-independent staff from CBO, GAO or Library of Congress who support the various committees

  36. Congressional Research Service conducts nonpartisan studies of issues • GAO-General Accounting Office audits government spending • CBO-Congressional Budgeting Office analyzes the president’s budget

  37. The Law-making Function of Congress

  38. Who can formally submit a bill for congressional consideration- only members of Congress • # of bills introduced-9000 per year • % of bills made into law-10%

  39. How a Bill Becomes a Law • See figure 7.3 • Stages • 1-passed by committee • 2- passed by the respective house • 3- both versions are morphed in a conference committee to, again, be approved by both houses

  40. Sponsor and co-sponsors- writer and ally of a bill • One role of Clerk-numbers bills (H= House S= Senate ) • Role of committee & sub-committee-to research and hold hearings on the issue • Committee of the Whole-minimum of 100 members of the House who may deliberate a bill

  41. Hold-the power of senators to stop consideration of a bill • Filibusters-unlimited speaking on the floor of the Senate • Cloture-vote by 60 senators to end a filibuster (2/3rds vote) This vote must be called for by 16 senators

  42. When 2 chambers of Congress approve different versions-meet in conference committee • Conference committee-manned by members of both houses to reach compromise • Presidential Action result • 1. Sign Bill becomes law • 2. Veto Bill goes back to Hill • 3. Ignore Bill becomes law • Ignore Bill dies* • * If less than 10 days left in session

  43. How a Bill Really Becomes Law • China Trade Act of 2000

  44. Congress and the President

  45. The relationship before and after • Over the years and especially since the 1930s the President has held the upper hand in the relationship with Congress

  46. Shifting Balance of Power • Post Civil War Congress regained powers seized by Lincoln. • FDR Presidency resulted in return to a major role in the legislative process

  47. Congressional Oversight • Oversight to review the activities of a department, agency or office • Key to Congress’s Performance-ability to question members of the administration • Congressional review the nullification of an agency regulation by way of a joint resolution • Foreign affairs oversight power to declare war and ratify treaties

  48. Separate roles under Constitution prez may wage war and negotiate treaties but must get approval • War Powers Act of 1973 prez needs Congressional approval to commit troops. Must remove troops within 60 days • Confirmation of presidential appointments Congress must approve major appointments • Impeachment process only begins with charges of treason, bribery or high crimes and misdemeanors

  49. Congress and the Judiciary

  50. Power of judicial review power of the Court to determine the constitutionality of acts of Congress • Ways in which Congress can exercise control over the federal judiciary • Decides on size of court, appellate jurisdiction, structure of the federal court system and confirms court appointees