2"If con is the opposite of pro, is congress the opposite of progress?
3THEME A ‑ The Power of Congress in the American System See Powers of Congress ‑ Article I, Section 8, US Constitution
4Congress: the "first branch" This branch has considerable powerMany consider this branch to be the one most badly in need of repairThe puzzles, processes and actions of this branch say a great deal about America's representative democracy
5Congress versus Parliament Parliamentary candidates are selected by partyMembers of Parliament select prime minister and other leadersParty members vote together on most issuesRenomination depends on loyalty to partyPrincipal work is debating national issuesVery little power, very little payCongressional candidates run in a primary election, with little party controlVote is for the man or woman, not the partyResult is a body of independent representativesMembers do not choose the presidentPrincipal work is representation and actionGreat deal of power, high pay; parties cannot discipline members
6The Evolution of Congress Intent of the FramersTo oppose concentration of power in a single institutionTo balance large and small states: bicameralismTraditional criticism: Congress is too slowCentralization needed for quick and decisive actionDecentralization needed if congressional constituency interests are to be dominant
7Development of the House Always powerful but varied in organization and leadershipPowerful SpeakersPowerful committee chairmenPowerful individual membersOngoing dilemmasIncreases in size have lead to the need for centralization and less individual influenceDesire for individual influence has led to institutional weakness
8Development of the Senate Structural advantages over the HouseSmall enough to be run without giving authority to small group of leadersInterests more carefully balancedNo time limits on speakers or committee control of debateSenators not elected by voters until this centuryChosen by state legislatorsOften leaders of local party organizationsMajor changesDemand for direct popular electionIntense political maneuvering and the Millionaire's ClubSenate opposition and the threat of a constitutional convention17th Amendment approved in 1913Filibuster restricted by Rule 22 - though tradition of unlimited debate remains
9Reassertion of Congressional Power in 1970s Reaction to Vietnam and WatergateWar Powers Act of 1973Congressional Budget and Impoundment Act of 1974Increased requirement for legislative veto
10THEME B ‑ Who Gets to Congress WHO IS IN CONGRESS?Sex and RaceYears of Service
11Who is in CongressThe beliefs and interests of members of Congress can affect policySex and raceHouse has become less male and less whiteSenate has been slower to change, but several blacks and Hispanics hold powerful positionsIncumbencyLow turnover rates and safe districts common in Congress before 1980sIncumbents increasingly viewed as professional politicians and out of touch with the people by the 1980sCall for term limits; however, natural forces were doing what term limits were designed to do by the mid-1990sInflux of new members should not distort incumbents' advantage
12Who is in Congress Party Democrats are beneficiaries of incumbency Gap between votes and seats: Republican vote higher than number of seats wonOne explanation: Democratic legislatures redraw district lines to favor Democratic candidatesBut research does not support; Republicans run best in high turnout districts, Democrats in low turnout onesAnother explanation: incumbent advantage increasingBut not the reason; Democrats field better candidates whose positions are closer to those of voters
13Who is in CongressAdvantages of incumbency for Democrats turn into disadvantages by the 1990sRepublicans win control of Congress in 1994Republicans replace conservative Democrats in the South during the 1990sMore party unity, especially in the House, since the 1990s
15GETTING ELECTED TO CONGRESS Determining Fair Representation – House Member Represents Approximately 670, 000 peopleGerrymander and Malaportionment
16MalapportionmentDrawing the boundaries of political districts so that districts are unequal in population.
17GerrymanderDrawing the boundaries of political districts in bizarre or unusual shapes to make it easier for candidates of a particular party/ethnic group to win
18THEME C ‑ Congressional Organization and Procedures 1. Party Organization - SenateA. President pro tempore presides, member with most seniority in majority party.B. Leaders are the majority leader and minority leader — elected by party.C. Party whips — keep leaders informed, round up votes, count noses.
192. Party Organization - House. House rules give leadership more power. A. Speaker of the House is leader of the majority party- presides over house.Decides whom to recognize to speak on floor.Rules on germaneness of motionsDecides to which committee bill goes.Appoints members of special and select committees.B. Majority leader (floor leader) and minority leaderC. Party Whip
23THE ORGANIZATION OF CONGRESS: PARTIES AND INTERESTS CAUCUSESDemocratic Study Group (DSG)Conservative Democratic ForumsWednesday GroupCongressional Black CaucusState DelegationsSpecialized Caucuses
24THE ORGANIZATION OF CONGRESS: STAFF AND SPECIALIZED OFFICES Tasks of Staff MembersStaff Agencies1. Congressional Research Service (CRS)2. General Accounting Office (GAO)3. Office of Technology Assessment (OTA)4. Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
25HOW A BILL BECOMES LAWIntroducing a BillStudy by Committee - most bills die in committeeFloor Debate ‑ The House — Amendments must be germane. Closed rule sets time limit on debate.Floor Debate ‑ The Senate - Amendments need not be germane. Time limit only established by cloture to stop filibuster. 3/5 vote to end debate.
26How a bill becomes a lawBills travel through Congress at different speedsBills to spend money or to tax or regulate business move slowlyBills with a clear, appealing idea move fast Examples: "Stop drugs," "End scandal"Introducing a billIntroduced by a member of Congress: hopper in House, recognized in SenateMost legislation has been initiated in CongressPresidentially-drafted legislation is shaped by CongressResolutionsSimple--passed by one house affecting that houseConcurrent--passed by both houses affecting bothJoint--passed by both houses, signed by president (except for constitutional amendments)
27How a bill becomes a law Study by committees Bill is referred to a committee for consideration by either Speaker or presiding officerRevenue bills must originate in the HouseMost bills die in committeeHearings are often conducted by several subcommittees: multiple referrals (replaced by sequential referral system in 1995)Markup of bills--bills are revised by committees
28How a bill becomes a lawCommittee reports a bill out to the House or SenateIf bill is not reported out, the House can use the discharge petitionIf bill is not reported out, the Senate can pass a discharge motionHouse Rules Committee sets the rules for considerationClosed rule: sets time limit on debate and restricts amendmentsOpen rule: permits amendments from the floorRestrictive rule: permits only some amendmentsUse of closed and restrictive rules growingRules can be bypassed by the HouseNo direct equivalent in Senate
29How a bill becomes a law Floor debate, House Floor debate, Senate Committee of the Whole--procedural device for expediting House consideration of bills but cannot pass billsCommittee sponsor of bill organizes the discussionFloor debate, SenateNo rule limiting debate or germanenessEntire committee hearing process can be bypassed by a senatorCloture--sets time limit on debate--three-fifths of Senate must vote for a cloture petitionBoth filibusters and cloture votes becoming more commonEasier now to stage filibusterRoll calls are replacing long speechesBut can be curtailed by "double tracking"--disputed bill is shelved temporarily--making filibuster less costly
30Methods of VotingVoice VoteDivision VoteTeller Vote (House Only)Roll Call
31Bill, in final form, goes to the president President may sign itIf president vetoes it, it returns to the house of originEither house may override the president by a vote of two-thirds of those presentIf both override, the bill becomes law without the president's signature
34THEME DDoes Congress Represent Constituents' Opinion?1. Representative2. Organizational3. Attitudinal
35Representational view Assumes that members vote to please their constituentsConstituents must have a clear opinion of the issueVery strong correlation on civil rights and social welfare billsVery weak correlation on foreign policyMay be conflict between legislator and constituency on certain measures: gun control, Panama Canal treaty, abortionConstituency influence more important in Senate votesMembers in marginal districts as independent as those in safe districtsWeakness of representational explanation: no clear opinion in the constituency
36Organizational viewAssumes members of Congress vote to please colleaguesOrganizational cuesPartyIdeologyProblem is that party and other organizations do not have a clear position on all issuesOn minor votes most members influenced by party members on sponsoring committees
37Attitudinal view Assumes that ideology affects a legislator's vote House members tend more than senators to have opinions similar to those of the public.1970s: senators more liberal1980s: senators more conservativePrior to 1990s, southern Democrats often aligned with Republicans to form a conservative coalition.Conservative coalition no longer as important since most southerners are Republicans
38Ideology and Civility in Congress Members of Congress more sharply divided ideologically than they once wereNew members of Congress are more ideologicalMembers of Congress more polarized than votersDemocrats more liberal/Republicans more conservativeVoters closer to center of political spectrumMembers of Congress (especially the House) do not get along as well as they once did
39Reducing Power and Perks Many proposals made to "reform" and "improve" CongressCommon perception it is overstaffed and self-indulgentQuick to regulate others, but not itselfQuick to pass pork barrel legislation but slow to address controversial questions of national policyUse of franking privilege to subsidize personal campaignsProposals to abolish itProposals for restrictions on timing of mailings and a taxpayer "notice"Congressional Accountability Act of 1995For years Congress routinely exempted itself from many of the laws it passedConcern for enforcement (by Executive branch) and separation of powers1995 ActObliged Congress to obey eleven major lawsCreated the Office of ComplianceEstablished an employee grievance procedure
40THEME E ‑ Ethics and Congress 1977 Code of Ethics1. Financial‑Disclosure Statement2. Honoraria prohibited by House. Senate must be donated to a charity.3. House and Senate ‑ maximum of 15% of salary in outside earned income not including stocks and bonds.
41Problem of defining unethical conduct Violation of criminal law is obviously unethicalSince 1941, over one hundred charges of misconductMost led to convictions, resignations, or retirementsEthics codes and related reforms enacted in 1978, 1989, and 1995 have placed members of Congress under tight rulesOther issues are more difficult.A substantial outside income from speaking and writing does not necessarily lead to vote corruption.Personal friendships and alliances can have an undue influence on votes.Bargaining among members of Congress may involve exchange of favors and votes.
42Summary: The old and the new Congress – Since Second World War House has evolved thru three stagesMid-1940s to early 1960sPowerful committee chairs, mostly from the SouthLong apprenticeships for new membersSmall congressional staffsEarly 1970s to early 1980sGrowth in size of staffsCommittees became more democraticMore independence for membersFocus on reelectionEarly 1980s to presentStrengthening and centralizing party leadershipSenate meanwhile has remained decentralized throughout this period