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Overview Structure Organization Functions –Legislative Process –Representation Reapportionment and Redistricting Gerrymandering Elections/Demographics/Democracy.

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Presentation on theme: "Overview Structure Organization Functions –Legislative Process –Representation Reapportionment and Redistricting Gerrymandering Elections/Demographics/Democracy."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Overview Structure Organization Functions –Legislative Process –Representation Reapportionment and Redistricting Gerrymandering Elections/Demographics/Democracy

3 Structure Congress House of Representatives Senate

4 Structure Congress House of Representatives Senate 435 members 2 year term local districts 100 members 6 year term state

5 Structure Congress House of Representatives Senate Must be 25 years old US citizen for 7 years Resident of state Must be 30 years old US citizen for 9 years Resident of state

6 Demographics Congress House of Representatives (435) Senate (100) 257 Democratic 178 Republican 56 Democratic 41 Republicans 2 Independents 1 race undecided yet

7 Demographics Congress House of Representatives (435) Senate (100) 360 Men 75 Women 83 Men 17 Women* *Highest total ever

8 Demographics Congress House of Representatives (435) Senate (100) 364 White 42 Black 25 Hispanic 4 Asian 94 White 1 Black 3 Hispanic 2 Asian

9 Demographics Congress House of Representatives (435) Senate (100) Average age: 57 Average Age: 62

10 Powers Congress House of Representatives Senate Impeach federal officals Originates all revenue raising bills Convict federal officals for impeachable offenses Advise and Consent role on presidential powers

11 Procedures Congress House of Representatives Senate More formal rules More partisan Fewer rules and restrictions More individualistic

12 Prestige Congress House of Representatives Senate More local/regional power base More local media exposure Greater national leadership More national media exposure

13 Organization Both chambers rely on two overlapping organizational features to get work done: –The Party System –The Committee System

14 Organization Parties determine leadership in both chambers Leadership determines committee structure and assignments

15 Party System in House Majority Elects –Speaker –Leader –Whips Minority Elects –Leader –Whips Official House Leadership WebpagesOfficial House Leadership Webpages: Campaign Finance of LeadershipCampaign Finance of Leadership Nancy Pelosi (D, CA) John Boehner (R, OH)

16 Party System in Senate Majority elects: –President Pro Tempore –Leader –Whips Minority Elects –Leader –Whips Official Senate Leadership WebpagesOfficial Senate Leadership Webpages: Campaign Finance of Leadership Campaign Finance of Leadership President of the Senate (Vice President) Mitch McConnell (R, KY) Robert Byrd (D, VA) Harry Reid (D, NV)

17 Party in Congress Over the past 20 years we have seen a marked increase in partisan divide in Congress Party unity scores (the number of times that members of party vote with other members of the party) have increased dramatically Bipartisan agreements are more difficult to obtain (e.g., stimulus package vote)

18 Committee System Three (3) types of committees –Standing –Select –Joint

19 Committee System Three (3) types of committees –Standing Semi-Permanent (they can be changed, but rarely are) committees in House and Senate devoted to relatively narrow area of public policyHouseSenate links: easers/committees_home.htm

20 Committee System Three (3) types of committees –Select Temporary committee established for a limited time period and for a specific purpose –House select committees select committees –Senate select committees with_teasers/committees_home.htmSenate select committees

21 Committee System Three (3) types of committees –Joint Legislative committee composed of members of both chambers of Congress Most common is the Conference Committee which reconciles competing House and Senate versions of a bill

22 Functions of Congress Lawmaking Representation Constituent Service Oversight Public Education Conflict Resolution

23 Functions of Congress Lawmaking –Enumerated Powers (most are in Article I, section 8)Article I, section 8 –Implied powers of necessary and proper clause

24 Legislative Process Click here for a quick video description of the legislative processhere link:

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26 Representation Basic Theories of Representation –Delegate: Elected official attempts to determine as best as possible the views of the electorate and vote accordingly

27 Representation –Trustee: Elected official attempts to determine what is in the best interest of the electorate and vote accordingly

28 Representation Politico:Combination of the preceding two

29 Representation Representation in the House requires states to divide themselves into legislative districts, based on a number determined by the states population –Each state required (Art. I, clause 3) to have at least one (1) representative

30 Reapportionment Up through 1910 census, size of the House membership expanded as the population expanded 1911 Congress capped the membership at 435, so since 1920 census Congress must reapportion seats among the states to reflect shifts in population growth rates

31 Redistricting Redrawing legislative districts within states to reflect population shifts and reapportionment results Occurs every 10 years, after the decennial census Next census is 2010 Districts are drawn according to state government plans (some states use the legislature, some use special commissions

32 Gerrymander Drawing congressional districts for partisan advantage

33 Gerrymander Packing

34 Gerrymander Cracking

35 Redistricting Since the 1960s though, districts are required to contain roughly the same number of people –Baker v. Carr (1964) –Wesberry v. Sanders (1964) –Drawing gerrymandered districts is more difficult now than it was, but it can still be doneDrawing

36 Elections Impact of districting: –fewer competitive seats 2008 New Jersey data sp?State=NJ&year=2006 New Jersey data –higher re-election rates for incumbents see chart in text for data from 1946 through the 2004 election 2008 results: 95.3% of incumbents reelected

37 Elections Other factors contributing to incumbent advantage: –Fundraising Check the Center for Responsive Politics website for the spending differentials among challengers and incumbentsCenter for Responsive Politics

38 Elections Other factors contributing to incumbent advantage –Name recognition among electorate –Easier access to media –Easier access to electorate franking privilege

39 Useful Links Overview of the Legislative Process: of the Legislative Process Rules of the 110th Congress (House) of the 110th Congress Process in the Senate Legislative in the Senate Legislative


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