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Congress If progress is the advancement of society, what is congress?

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Presentation on theme: "Congress If progress is the advancement of society, what is congress?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Congress If progress is the advancement of society, what is congress?

2 Dont forget to review the worksheet that I gave you regarding powers of the branches…answers are online.

3 Founders Intentions 1.Strongest branch 2.Separation of lawmaking power from executive 3.Bicameralism balances large/small states House – more connected to people (2 yr term) Senate – allows for independent thinking (6 yr term)

4 Important Differences House 435 members (Public Law 62-5) 2 year term 7 year citizen Initiate impeachment Revenue bills Strict debate rules Senate 100 members 6 year term 9 year citizen Tries impeachment Approve presidential appointments Approve treaties Loose debate rules

5 Constitutional Powers Article I, Section 8 To lay and collect taxes, duties, imports To borrow money To regulate commerce (states and foreign) To establish rules for naturalization To coin money To create courts (except Supreme Court) To declare war To raise and support an army and navy

6 Evolution of Powers Elastic clause has extended Congress powers Oversight of budget – can restrict the fed. budget prepared by executive branch Appropriations – set amount of money made available for various activity in a fiscal year Investigation – Congress can launch investigations (Watergate, Clinton-Lewinski hearings, Steroids in baseball)



9 Leadership Majority party controls the most significant leadership positions House - Speaker of the House Allows people to speak on floor Assigns bills to committees Influences which bills are brought to a vote Appoints members of special and select committees Senate – Majority Leader Schedules Senate business Prioritizes bills

10 Whos in Congress? 110 th Congress ( ) 85% male 85% White 40% Lawyers 109 th Congress ( ) 29 accused of spousal abuse 7 have been arrested for fraud 19 arrested for writing bad checks 117 have bankrupted at least 2 businesses 8 have been arrested for shoplifting In 1998 alone, 84 were stopped for drunk driving

11 Elections House members directly elected Senators directly elected after 17 th Amend House Incumbent advantage – Why? –Name recognition –Proven track record –Franking privileges – free mailing

12 Ga Districts

13 Representation Malapportionment – unequal population in districts –Wesberry v. Sanders (1963) – found unequal district pop. unconstitutional – 14 th amend Gerrymandering – district boundaries are redrawn in strange ways to make it easy for candidate of one party to win –Easley v. Cromartie (2001) – redistricting for political ideology was constitutional, led to increase in minority reps

14 11,059 bills were introduced in

15 How A Bill Becomes a Law Create legislation, make laws Founders believed in a SLOW process Founders believed efficiency was a trait of an oppressive government

16 Step 1 – Introduce Bill Introduced in Senate or House (except tax) Single or multiple reps can introduce bill

17 Step 2 - Committee 1.Bill is assigned to a particular committee in its category (Ex. Tax bill – Ways and Means Committee, Farm bill – Agriculture Committee) 2.Bill is then placed in sub-committee 3.Bills are debated and marked up 4.Most bills die in committee, committee can vote to report out a bill

18 Step 3–Rules Committee Before bill can go to floor in House, it must first set time limits and amendment regulations. –Closed rule – sets time limits, restricts amendments –Open rule – permits amendments –Restrictive rule – permits some amendments

19 Step 4 – Floor Debate Senate Debate Less formal, no speaking limit Filibuster – practice of stalling a bill w/ debate Cloture – 3/5 of the Senate vote to stop debate House Debate More formal, no filibuster, strict rules

20 Step 5 - Voting Majority passes If the bill passes, it must go through the same process in the opposite chamber with a sponsor If the bill passes one house and fails the other, it must start over If the Senate and House cannot come to agreement over two versions, it goes to Conference Committee to fix it and resubmit the bill

21 Presidential Action Sign – bill becomes law Veto – bill returns to origin Override – 2/3 vote in both houses can override veto Pocket Veto – President has 10 days to act on a piece of legislation. If he receives the bill within 10 days of the end of the Congressional session, and doesnt sign, it dies

22 Committees and Subcommittees Most real work happens here Bills are passed, changed, ignored, or killed

23 Types of Committees Standing committee – handle bills in different policy areas –(ex. Appropriations, Agriculture, Armed Services, Science, etc.) – most important and have been standing (existing) for a long time Select committee – formed for specific purposes and usually temporary – run investigations (ex. Aging, Intelligence)

24 Types of Committees Joint committee – consist of both House and Senate members –similar in purpose to Select committee –Meant to draw attention to issues Conference committee – consist of both House reps and Senators –formed to hammer out differences between House and Senate versions of similar bills Congressional Committees and SubcommitteesCongressional Committees and Subcommittees

25 Committee Membership Controlled by majority party, committee membership divided proportionally Committee Chairman –Senior member of committee –Controls membership and debate

26 Work of Committees 11,000 bills introduced yearly, most die Committees can… –Report out favorably/unfavorably –Pigeonholed/table (do not discuss) –Amend / mark up (change or rewrite)

27 Congressional Caucuses Groupings of members pushing for similar interests Ex. – Sunbelt, Northeast-Midwest, Congressional Black, Womens, Democratic Study Group, Boll Weevils, Steel

28 Criticisms of Congress Pork – aka pork-barrel legislation – bills to benefit constituents in hope of gaining their votes Logrolling – Congress members exchange votes, bills might pass for frivolous reasons Christmas-tree bill –bill with many riders (pork) –in Senate, no limit exists on amendments, so Senators try to attach riders that will benefit their home state

29 Term-limits Debate No current limit on how many terms members of Congress can serve 1.Some argue this has weakened popular control of Congress, reps might be unresponsive to their constituents 2.Some argue most experienced reps have the expertise to bring home more benefits (pork, riders, etc.)

30 The term pork barrel refers to legislation specifically designed to A. encourage a balanced federal government B. ensure the careful inspection of farm goods and other foodstuffs C. distribute excess produce to the poor D. provide funding for local projects that are intended to benefit constituents E. equalize representation between farming and non-farming states

31 The details of legislation are usually worked out in which of the following settings? A. a party caucus B. the majority leaders office C. the floor of the House D. legislative hearings E. a subcommittee

32 Most of the bills introduced in the House and Senate are then A. passed by one chamber but not in the other B. passed by both chambers, but never sent to the full Congress C. referred to committee but never sent to the full Congress D. voted down during the amendment stage of the floor debate E. killed in the Rules Committee

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