To stall the legislative process and prevent a vote; this is also known as talking a bill to death in the Senate.
Filibuster “Fortified with a good rest, a steam bath and a sirloin steak, Sen. Strom Thurmond talked against a 1957 civil rights bill for 24 hours and 18 minutes — longer than anyone has ever talked about anything in Congress.”
What are three common characteristics of members of Congress? Do you think these individuals adequately represent your interests? Why or why not? Provide examples.
Possible Answer General Characteristics 1. Almost ½ are Lawyers 2. White 3. Middle-aged (usually over 50) 4. Males 5. Mostly Affluent
Why is the committee system necessary for Congress? Give at least three reasons. In addition, identify the differences between Standing Committees, Select Committees, Joint Committees, and Conference Committees.
Possible Answer 1. They allow members of congress to divide their work into groups. Lawmakers can specialize on certain topics. 435 Reps. 100 Sen. 2. The heart of legislative work is done in committees. Compromises can be reached 3. Committees can act as an investigational arm of Congress.
Standing Committees Standing Committees are permanent (reoccurring) committees. One of the most important Committee Systems These committees tend to address the issues that Congress has deemed to be the most important. HouseSenate Ways and MeansForeign Relations AppropriationsArmed Services RulesBudget Education and the Workforce Commerce, Science, and Transportation AgricultureAgriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry BudgetFinance JudiciaryRules and Administration Veterans’ Affairs TransportationEnvironment and Natural Resources
Select Committees Temporary Committees They Act as Investigatory Committees. They study specific issues and report their findings to the House or Senate. They have very little power themselves. General Issues 1. Matters of Public Concern Crime 2. Overlooked Problems Homelessness 3. Concerns of Interest Groups Unions NRA Right to Life
Joint Committees Committees that consist of members from both the House and Senate. Temporary or Permanent Atomic Energy (Temp) Defense (Perm) Taxation (Perm) They act as researchers who report to Congress. They do not have the authority to deal directly with bills or even propose legislation. They only have as much power as Congress gives them.
Conference Committees A (“temporary”) committee composed of members from both the House and Senate to reconcile differences between bills. They act as mediators between the House and the Senate. Legislation would most likely fail without them. Highly Important
How can the Legislative Branch check the Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch? Why are these important powers? Provide Examples.
What is “the power of the purse”? Why is this an important congressional power? Why could the “the power of the purse” be considered a controversial congressional power today? Provide examples.
The Power of the Purse Congress and, Congress alone, controls the purse strings of the Federal Government. Congress controls the flow of money. Congress sets the budget for Every Branch of Government Every Federal Agency Every Federal Program Every Military Action And Every Federal Project Why is this such an important power? Why can this be controversial?
Please describe how conflict can occur between Congress and the President? In addition, Please describe how a conflict can occur between both chambers of Congress. Why do you think these conflicts occur? Do you believe there is currently more gridlock between Congress and the President or between both chambers of Congress itself? Please explain.
Possible Answer Constituents and Conflicts Sometime constituents want their representative to support an issues that the majority of other constituents disagree over. Checks and Balances The Founders wanted to prevent hasty legislation Party Politics Republicans vs. Democrats Tea Party vs. Everyone? The organization of Congress itself The House vs. The Senate Different political timetables Congress may want to work on something while the President thinks that the idea needs to wait until something more important gets done.
Who is our current congressman? Who are our two current senators? What is the political party of each of these representatives? What is an important issue for Michigan that one of these politicians might face? Be specific on the issue and who might look into it.
Michigan’s Representatives Carl Levin: Issues with the Armed Services Debbie Stabenow: Agricultural issues Tim Walberg: education and Michigan job issues Tim Walberg (R) 7 th District Representative
Please explain what legislative investigation and oversight is. What types of situations can congress investigate? Why is this an important power for Congress to have? Please be specific and provide an example.
Congressional Oversight Oversight It is simply the power to investigate and regulate. Look into a problem and issue a ruling. Ares of Congressional Oversight Congress can investigate the President Congress can investigate Judges Congress can investigate Congressmen Congress can investigate Government Agencies Congress can investigate Companies Congress can investigate Individuals Congress can investigate almost anything they want
Please explain how a Bill becomes a law. List or diagram the key steps. Do you think this process is a good way to establish legislation? Why or why not? Provide examples.