Chapter 5 Notes CONGRESS Hawksworth-2012
Congress • The United States Congress is a • Bicameral legislature-it is made up of two houses: • Senate http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xj4aMGlf6bA • House of Representatives http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6LWHFVzjKY • Main function: make laws • Translate public will into the form of a law • Congressional term : Each term of Congress is divided into two sessions, or meetings. A session lasts one year and includes breaks for holidays and vacations. Congressional session: Jan 3rd-Nov/Dec
What is the difference between a term of Congress and a session of Congress? • A term of Congress is two years in duration commencing on January 3rd of each odd-numbered year. A session of Congress, however, is the annual meeting with each term being divided into two sessions. When Congress is actually meeting, it is said to be "in session." • Neither the House nor the Senate may adjourn for more than three days w/o the approval of the other house. • A meeting of Congress called by the President is called a special session.
For the test: Make sure you know the Republicans now control the HR and the Democrats still control the Senate. (You don’t need to know the numbers, just who has the majority.) • SenateMembership • 100 Senators(Vice President votes in case of a tie) • Party Divisions before 2010 election: • 56 Democrats • 41 Republicans • 2 Independents • 1 Vacancies • Party Divisions after 2010 • 51 Democrats • 47 Republicans • 2 Independents • HouseMembership • 435 Members • 5 Delegates Washington D.C., Guam, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands.1 Resident Commissioner (Puerto Rico) • Party Divisions before 2010 election: • 256 Democrats • 177 Republicans • 0 Independents • 2 Vacancies • Party Divisions after 2010 • 193 Democrats • 242 Republicans
House of Representatives – Lower House • Min age: 25 • Citizen: 7 years • Resident of state • 435 (Voting) members • 2 year term • Make sure you know the qualifications for the test! • Salary: $174, 000 • Pension: + $150k/yr • The salary for the Speaker is $223,500 and the salary for the Majority and Minority Leaders is $193,400. • Smaller constituencies • Less prestige • Lower visibility • Work done in committees Know this for the test : **The House was granted its own exclusive powers: the power to initiate revenue bills, impeach officials, and elect the president in electoral college deadlocks**The House meets in the south wing of the United States Capitol.
House of Representatives • Presiding Officer: • Speaker of the House • John A. Boehner (bay-ner) serves as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. • The Speaker of the House is always appointed from the party that holds the majority in the House of Representatives. • On November 17, 2010 – his 61st birthday – Boehner was elected by his colleagues to serve as Speaker-designate, and on January 5, 2011 he swore in the 112th Congress as the 53th Speaker of the House. Rep. Nancy Pelosi was the former Speaker of the House. She is a Democrat.
House leadership in the 112th Congress • The following members were selected by House Republicans to serve in the leadership during the 112th Congress: • Speaker of the House John Boehner (Ohio) • Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Virginia) • Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (California) • The following members were selected by House Democrats to serve in the leadership during the 112th Congress: • Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (California) is the Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives for the 112th Congress. • Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (Maryland) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgB6-pVzOp4
Senate – Upper House • Min age: 30 • Citizen: 9 years • Resident of state • 100 members • 6 year term • Make sure you know the qualifications for the test! • 17th Amendment=Direct election of senators. Prevented corruption that had been occurring. State legislatures were involved in gerrymandering issues, helping to get certain senators elected. • Salary: $174,000 • Pension: + $150k/yr • Larger constituencies • More prestige • Higher visibility • Work split between committees and floor
Senate • Presiding Officer • VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN • Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., was born 11-20-1942, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of Delaware and Syracuse Law School and served on the New Castle County Council. Then, at age 29, he became one of the youngest people ever elected to the United States Senate • As President of the Senate, the Vice President has two primary duties: to cast a vote in the event of a Senate deadlock and to preside over and certify the official vote count of the U.S. Electoral College. For example, in the first half of 2001, the Senators were divided 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats and Dick Cheney's tie-breaking vote gave the Republicans the Senate majority • President Pro Tempore • Robert C. Byrd • Make sure you know the two primary duties for the test!
Reapportionment vs. Redistricting • Reapportionment – Every10 years (after each census) • is the process of dividing the 435 memberships, or seats, in the House of Representatives among the 50 states based on the population figures collected during the census. The number of seats in the House has grown with the country • The U.S. resident population includes the total number of people in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The resident population of the United States on April 1, 2010, was 308,745,538 an increase of 9.7 percent over the 281,421,906 counted during the 2000 Census.
Reapportionment • 10 years (after each census) • Each state is guaranteed 1 seat regardless of population • Reapportionment Act of 1929 • Set the permanent size at 435 members • Seats are based on population of each state http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AYGgk-ygKs
Redistricting • After seats are reapportioned district boundary lines are drawn • Each district should have approximately the same number of constituents Gerrymandering • Party controlling the state government draws lines. • Lines are drawn to gain advantage in elections.
House @ work….(know red items for test!) • Rules: More complex than Senate • Ex.-Rules such as limiting representatives to speaking for five minutes or less during a debate. • Committees: Most of the work is carried out here. Most Bills die in committee, and never make it to the floor for a vote. • Representatives tend to specialize in a few issues that are important to their constituents-the people in the districts they represent. • Party membership: Majority party in the house organizes the committees, appoints committee heads, and controls the flow of bills through the House
House @ work • Calendars • Lists bills up for consideration – House- 5 Calendars • Quorum • Minimum number of members to permit a legislative body to take official action – 218 members • How do Representatives obtain permission to speak? • In the House, Members stand, address the presiding officer and do not proceed until recognized to speak. The presiding officer (the Speaker of the House, Speaker pro tempore or the chairman in the Committee of the Whole) has the authority to ask Members for what purpose they seek recognition. The presiding officer may then recognize or not recognize the Member, depending upon the purpose for which recognition was requested.
What is a quorum? A quorum in the House of Representatives is when a majority of the Members are present. When there are no vacancies in the membership, a quorum is 218. When one or more seats are vacant, because of deaths or resignations, the quorum is reduced accordingly. Because of Members' other duties, a quorum often is not present on the House floor. But any Member may insist that a quorum must participate in any vote that takes place in the House. If a member makes a point of order that a quorum is not present, and the Speaker agrees, a series of bells ring on the House side of the Capitol and in the House office buildings to alert Members to come to the Chamber and record their presence.
Responsibilities of Leaders • Speaker of the House • Can recognize or ignore those who wish to speak • Appoints members to committees • Schedules bills for action • Follows the V.P. in line of succession to the Presidency
Responsibilities of Leaders • Majority Leader • Steers important bills through the House • Makes sure committee chairpersons finish work on bills important to the party • Helps plan the party’s legislative program
Responsibilities of Leaders • Minority Leader • Helps plan the party’s legislative program • Makes sure committee chairpersons finish work on bills important to the party
Responsibilities of Leaders • Whips • Assist the floor leaders in each house • Chosen by party @ recommendation by the floor leader • Check with party members and tell floor leader which members and how many votes can be counted on • Makes sure that members are present for important votes/issues
House Member’s Bill • Member drops bill into hopper • Speaker sends bill to appropriate committee for study (Most bills die in committee.) • Bill is put onto appropriate House calendar • Bill is put onto Discharge Calendar to force it out of committee • Bill goes through House Rules Committee-which is like a “traffic officer” helping to direct the flow and communication of major legislation. • Bill goes to floor of House for debate, amending, and vote
Are there time limitations on debate on the House floor? In the House, a matter may undergo one hour of debate, usually equally divided between the majority and the minority without unanimous consent. Moreover, the majority can call for the "previous question," and bring the pending matter to an immediate vote. Non-legislative debate is limited to one-minute per Member at the beginning of the day and up to one hour per Member at the end of the day. In the Committee of the Whole, the period of time spent in general debate is determined and apportioned in advance. Amendments are subject to the five-minute per side rule, but can extend beyond 10 minutes of debate per amendment. A non-debatable motion to close debate is in order to end debate on any specific amendment and bring it to a vote.
When does a bill become "dead" or no longer open to consideration? A bill may be introduced at any point during a two-year Congress. It will remain eligible for consideration throughout the duration of that Congress until the Congress ends or adjourns sine die. • What happens to a bill after it becomes a law?The provisions of the law take effect immediately unless the law itself provides for another date. The law will also specify which executive departments or agencies are empowered to carry it out or enforce it. The actual written document is sent to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). At the end of each session of Congress, these are consolidated in a bound volume called U.S. Statutes at Large.
I'm just a bill,Yes, I'm only a bill,And I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill.Well, it's a long, long journeyTo the capital city,It's a long, long waitWhile I'm sitting in committee, *most bills die here*But I know I'll be a law someday...At least I hope and pray that I will,But today I'm still just a bill - Schoolhouse Rock
Senate @ work • Rules: More flexible because of membership • Atmosphere: Informal. Maximum freedom to express ideas. • Calendars: 2. B/C work is done on the floor instead of in committees
Senate @ work • Filibuster: Unlimited debate on a bill in order to defeat it. Can be ended by a 3/5 vote (60 members) • Cloture: Allows each senator to speak only 1 hour on a bill under debate. Filibuster means they are allowed to speak for as long as they like on the Senate Chamber floor as long as they stay standing in the Senate Chamber. The longest filibuster in Texas was in 1977 by a state Senator who talked for 44 hours! That's almost two days of non-stop talking. (Senate Kids) Here are three reasons why a Senator may filibuster. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVc2kMXF_8c Filibuster videos http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQIG-kfT9bI
Responsibilities of Senate Leaders • Vice President • Decides which members speak first • Puts questions to a vote • Influences Senate through personal contacts • What happens when a Senate vote is tied? • The Vice President of the United States votes to break ties in the Senate.
Responsibilities of Senate Leaders • Majority Leader • Plans Senate work schedule and agenda • Make sure party members attend important sessions • Organizes party support on key bills
Responsibilities of Senate Leaders • Minority Leaders • Develops criticisms of majority party’s bills • Tries to make their own senators work together
Responsibilities of Senate Leaders • Whips • Make sure legislators are present for key votes Continuous Body • Senator’s terms are staggered • All seats are never up for election at the same time • 33 or 34 seats are up for re-election every 2 years
Purpose of Committees • Allows members of Congress to divide the workload among many smaller groups • Select bills that are to receive further review • Help the public learn about key problems facing our nation. Congressional committees have called the public’s attention to such issues as organized crime, the safety of prescription drugs, hunger in America, airline safety and many other issues. • ***Think Toyota Cars***
Standing Committees • These continue from one chamber of Congress to another (HS or SH) • Deals with large issues that affect the nation • They continue from one Congress to the next. • Examples: Agriculture, Armed Services, Budget, Energy and Commerce, Rules, and Appropriations are some of the standing committees.
Subcommittees • Each of these specializes in a subcategory of its standing committees responsibility
Select Committees (Temporary) • They usually study one specific issue and report their findings to the House or Senate
Joint Committees • Made up of members of both Houses. • They act as study groups with the responsibility for reporting their findings back to both Houses
Conference Committees • Set up when the House and Senate passed different versions of the same bill. • Their job is to resolve the differences between the two versions
Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 • Limited the committees chairpersons and gave other committee members more authority
Seniority System • A member of the majority party with the longest uninterrupted service on a particular committee is traditionally selected as the chairperson • Changes in the in Seniority System: • Secret ballots • 1995 – Committee chairpersons placed on 3-term limit
What organizations are included in the legislative branch? • In addition to the U.S. Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, the legislative branch includes the Architect of the Capitol, the Government Printing Office (GPO), the Library of Congress, and the legislative support agencies. The Architect's principal duties involve the construction, maintenance, and renovation of the Capitol Building as well as the congressional office buildings and other structures in the Capitol complex. The GPO publishes the Congressional Record, congressional committee hearings and reports, and other congressional documents. • The Library of Congress, in addition to providing library services, research and analysis to the Congress, is also viewed as a national library but is not officially the national library. • ****Make sure you know what the Library of Congress is for the test.