Presentation on theme: "Dr Simon Boucher ~ Primary Reaction ----- The US Congress Government and Politics of the USA Lecture 1 HT:"— Presentation transcript:
Dr Simon Boucher ~ Primary Reaction The US Congress Government and Politics of the USA Lecture 1 HT:
House keeping Office hours: Monday 4-5pm, 4 th floor room 4042 (“Ron Hill” on door) Michaelmas term essays will be handed back in tutorials in weeks 3-4 There will be 3 more tutorials in Hilary term. If you aren’t in a tutorial group, contact Jane Suiter immediately Hilary term essay – early details… –Due (i.e. Monday of week 10) –3 titles TBA. Likely areas: Congress, elections, policy-making See course website for ongoing updates – you can add to it too. – anybody interested?www.Scoop08.com Which candidate is really for you?
Hilary term schedule Wk 1 Iowa review, New Hampshire preview McKay chaps 8, 9 Singh chap 10 Congress Wk 2 New Hampshire review McKay chaps 14, 11 Singh chaps 8, 11 The Federal Judiciary The Federal Bureaucracy Wk 3 US Political Parties McKay chap 5 Singh chap 5 LGS chap 11 Guest speaker- Liv Gibbons (DNC) Wk 4 Elections and campaigning McKay chap 6 Singh chap 6 MHW chap 4 LGS chap 10 State of the Union / Super Tuesday preview
Iowa - Democrats Obama-mania comes of age? Hillary in crisis? Edwards’ strategy in tatters? Turnout: 212,000 Last Iowa poll Actual Iowa results Clinton Obama Edwards Biden Richardson Dodd N/A0.02 Watch Obama’s victory speech – 14 minutes of magic.
Iowa - Republicans Huck-a-boom! The end of Romney? Lift off for McCain? All according to plan for Rudy? Adios Thompson? Turnout: 114,000 Last Iowa poll-of- polls Actual Iowa Giuliani 64 McCain Huckabee Romney Thompson Paul 7.310
The New Hampshire Primary 4 th smallest state Population- 1.2m Rich and white Traditionally conservative, now a swing state? People take politics very seriously Neither a “closed” nor “open” primary Is a battle for independents
Login Login | Register | RSS Register RSS Hillary – must stop the bleeding Obama – must maintain the momentum Edwards – needs a shock, out to kill Hillary Richardson – needs a miracle Last NH pollAverage Clinton Obama Edwards Richardson 35 New Hampshire - Democrats
Login Login | Register | RSS Register RSS McCain – His big chance, now or never… Romney – Last chance saloon Giuliani – Would love 3 rd place Huckabee – can he perform outside Christian belt? Paul – who cares Thompson – getting embarrassing Last NH pollAverage McCain Romney Giuliani 79.5 Huckabee 1412 Paul 68.5 Thompson 12.2 New Hampshire - Republicans
The United States Congress
Required reading… McKay chaps 8 and 9 Singh chap 10 Additional resources… Morris Fiorina, Congress: Keystones of the Washington Establishment (ARTS M96) David Mayhew, Congress: The Electoral Connection (PB Reserve no.2207) Burdett Loomis, The Contemporary Congress (PL /Reserve no.1596) Robert Caro, The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate (Volume 3)- Introduction ( P2;1) Readings on Congress
Agenda Constitutional background and function Structure of Congress Interaction between House and Senate Nature of Representatives and Senators Leadership in Congress The Committee system Reform and Change of Congress
Separation of power in US Federal Govt FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
Congress and the Constitution Political representation had been the key issue that led to the War of Independence Congress seen as the only way the people could have a direct say in Federal government The “Continental Congress” had been the only federal institution in the 1777 Articles of Confederation Framers originally intended Congress to be the key federal institution of the new Constitutional system. 1 st sentence of Constitution: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States”.
Congress and the Constitution Article 1 Section 8: Provided Congress with almost all governmental powers conceivable in the 1780s –Power to tax –Power to spend tax receipts –Power to declare war –Power to make international treaties –Power to confirm appointments to other branches Clause 18 – “the elastic clause” – “power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into executive the foregoing powers” Congress was the apex of Constitutional system At very least, it was the executives “co-equal partner”.
Functions of Congress today Congressional power at a glance Representative function Legislative function Executive oversight
A Bicameral Structure Early US experience illustrated potential instability of representative government Serious conflict in Philadelphia – how to balance state sovereignty with popular representation? Influenced by British system, examined option of a bicameral structure The “Great Compromise of 1787” - two houses, with different electoral bases, in institutional competition House of RepresentativesUnited States Senate
A Bicameral Structure House of Representatives United States Senate House of Representatives proportionately “of the People”, rapid turnover to represent public opinion “Together represent the aggregate interests of the community” Senate the “upper house” - insulated, more deliberative, more collegial, to protect long term national interest
Both houses' approval is necessary for the passage of legislation... The House of Representatives Exclusive powers include: To initiate revenue bills. Initiate impeachment of federal officials for "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanours" and empowers the Senate to try such impeachments. Elect the President in electoral college deadlocks. The Senate Exclusive powers include: The President cannot ratify treaties without the Senate’s advice and consent. The President cannot make important appointments (ambassadors, federal judiciary, Cabinet) without the Senate’s advice and consent. The Senate can propose amendments to spending bills. Exclusive Powers of the Houses
Comparing the two Houses The HouseThe Senate Role Proportionately represents the people Equally represents the states Size440 members100 members PrestigeRelatively lowerRelatively higher StylePartisan, majoritarian Bipartisan, collegial, non-majoritarian Organisation Formal, bureaucratic, hierarchical, party leaders control Informal, flexible, less party control Media ProfileSporadicConsiderable
Comparing Representatives and Senators The HouseThe Senate Constituency size On average 500,000 people From 495,000 people to 34,000,000 Term length2 years6 years Size of staff17 personal staff each38 personal staff each Formal requirements Be at least 25 years old, have been a citizen for 7 years, inhabit the state they represent Be at least 30 years old, have been a citizen for 9 years, inhabit the state they represent Session days / pay265 days / $165, / $165,200 Minorities / women16% / 14%5% / 14% Expertise Fewer committees each - deeper policy expertise Many committees each - so broader expertise
Congressional power structure Constitution gives Congress major powers, but says practically nothing on organisation Members have almost complete freedom over their own organisational frameworks, internal rules and behavioural norms Committees Party Leadership 2 major power foci have been institutionalised
Congressional Committees Committees central to business of US legislation since main types – standing, select (special), joint committees Number of Committees expanded (and periodically consolidated) over time as governance became more complex Peaked in 1970s - House 172 Committees (now 89), Senate 174 (now 68) When Congress is in session, as many as 100 Committees and Sub Committees meet each week Majority party appoints Committee Chairmen Pecking order within Committees typically decided by seniority “Congress in its Committee rooms is Congress at work”
Committees vary in influence –Finance Committees particularly prestigious –Some authorising committees important Committee membership –Determines politicians’ status –Committees often unrepresentative of their parent chamber Congressional Committees Committee Functions Identify, investigate & study policy problems Convene public hearings Frame legislation Amend legislation Approve or reject legislation Committees autonomy has fragmented Congressional power. This centrifugal dispersion has weakened Congress vs. other branches. “In practice, Congress functions not as a unified institution, but as a collection of semi-autonomous committees that seldom act in unison."
Party Leadership Parties are the most significant organisational structures on Capitol Hill; the power and authority exercised by party leadership, especially in the House, is greater than at any time since the beginning of the 20 th century Party leaders attempt to concentrate power (the Committee system attempts to disperses it) Party leaders are now high profile, highly organised, ambitious, supported by large teams, unmistakeably in competition with the President; their performance has some influence over national reputation of their party
Party Leadership in the House The Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) The Minority Leader John Boehner (OH) The Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD) House leadership is activist and strong Chief party spokesperson Plays partisan role, controlling flow of legislation (what makes it to the floor) Presides over full sessions Influential in assigning Committee chairs 2 nd in line to the Presidency Minor role as Speaker leads the party Works with Speaker & the Majority Whip to coordinate ideas and maintain support for legislation. Floor leader for opposition, counterpart to Majority leader First choice for Speaker if power changes hands
Party Leadership in the Senate The Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) Speaker of the Senate Dick Cheney The Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) House leadership is activist and weak Chief spokesman for party in Senate, but doesn’t preside Produces an agreed annual legislative agenda with his Party Manages and schedules Senate business Coordinates political strategy, but can’t enforce will Presides over Senate- largely an honorary position Votes in ties (occasionally very important power) Same as Majority leader, but even less powerful
Criticisms of Congress In recent years the popularity of Congress has tumbled under intense criticism Fragmentation & Inefficiency Failure of Oversight Excessive Partisanship Caused by diffusion of power throughout committee system Bill progress slow, majority die or amended out of recognition (“log- rolling”) Inter-committee competition impedes progress Congress has little access to exactly what Executive is doing Sheer volume and technical complexity of executive documentation can baffle Committees Only 13 impeachments, to date; 4 convictions Blind support for Executive when same party? Partisanship driven by increasing ideological differences between parties; undermines traditional civility “Personalisation” of Congressional politics
Impetus for reform has come from several sources… Early 70s: reform spurred by frustration with Southern Democrats’ monopoly on almost all leadership positions 1974: Reforms carried on by the post-Watergate Congress 1980s: Reforms to restore power from committees to (Democratic) party leadership 1994: Republicans pushed through major reforms, again to switch power to party leadership Attempts at Congressional Reform Those designed to improve Congress’ effectiveness by: –Speeding up the legislative process –Weakening the entrenched power of committee chairpersons Those implemented to curb excesses of executive and strengthen Congress’ institutional position Congressional reforms have taken two general directions
Powerful and confident Increasingly efficient. But retains slow, difficult processes Remains resistant to change Committees still crucial focal points… However finally some shift in power Ideological and partisan Unpopular – “held in popular contempt”. Congress Today Key characteristics of Congress today…