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The Capitol Building CONGRESS. The Capitol Building The architecture and floor plan of the Capitol building in Washington reflect the bicameral division.

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Presentation on theme: "The Capitol Building CONGRESS. The Capitol Building The architecture and floor plan of the Capitol building in Washington reflect the bicameral division."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Capitol Building CONGRESS

2 The Capitol Building The architecture and floor plan of the Capitol building in Washington reflect the bicameral division of Congress

3 The Powers of Congress: Article I *Section One: bicameral legislature *Section Two: length of terms for House members and qualifications for service *Section Three: selection of Senators, length of terms *Section Four: congressional election process *Section Seven: how a bill becomes a law *Section Eight: powers of the legislative branch

4 Constitutional Foundations of the Modern Congress *The framers of the Constitution were ambivalent about democracy and concerned about the possibility of government tyranny. *Fear that power in the hands of a single individual would be abused and the people would suffer. *They wanted an energetic government, with the legislative branch as the center of policymaking. *Yet they also limited Congressional power * bicameralism * bills of attainder * ex post facto laws * habeas corpus * separation of powers * checks and balances

5 Drawing the District Lines *Apportionment *Established through the Great Compromise *Seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are apportioned to the states on the basis of their population after every ten- year census and on equal representation in the Senate. *Reapportionment *In the 1910 census, the House limited the total number of districts to 435, so now some states gain and some states lose each time we count. *Malapportionment *Unequal numbers of people in legislative districts resulting in inequality of voter representation.

6 *Redistricting *When the census is final each state is told how many districts it now has—then state legislatures draw district lines * To accommodate population shifts and to keep districts as equal as possible *Gerrymandering *When districts are drawn to help or hurt a political party, group or incumbent Drawing the District Lines *Every district has roughly 650,000 people, except states like Wyoming which has only 580,000 *Every state is guaranteed at least one member.

7 Congressional Elections *Congressional Elections *Where Representatives and Senators are Elected *Predicting Congressional Elections *The 2010 Congressional Elections *The Campaigns *Election Day *Explaining The Results

8 Representation and Democracy  Styles of representation  two principal styles of representation in  Delegate theory  Trustee theory  Senators (who have longer terms of office) usually have more latitude than representatives to assume the trustee style.

9 The Job of the Legislator *Legislators as Representatives *Legislators as Lawmakers *Policy and Philosophical Convictions *Voters *Congressional colleagues (other legislators) *Congressional Staff *Party *Interest Groups *The President

10 Quick Assessment List 5 influential agents on legislators that shape their lawmaking decisions

11 Race, Gender and Occupation in Congress  Gender Gender  Race  African Americans African Americans  Hispanics  Others  Occupation  dominance of law, business, and banking  lack of blue-collar representation  Is it important that Congress be demographically representative of the American people?

12 Diversity in Congress

13 Reapportionment, 2010

14 Advantages of Incumbency

15 How Congress Works  Congress remains the most influential and independent legislature among Western democratic nations. Political Parties in Congress  At the opening of each new Congress, parties in the two houses hold caucuses to organize their legislative business and select their leadership.

16  Party composition of Congress  Party voting in Congress  Party discipline Political Parties in Congress Congressional Leadership  The political parties work through the leadership structure of Congress.  Leaders of the majority political party are also the leaders of the House and Senate.

17 Congressional Leadership Leading the House Speaker of the House Majority Leaders Minority Leaders Whips House Rules Committee Closed Open Leading the Senate President pro tempore Majority leader Minority leader Whips Individual senators have power Filibuster Cloture

18 Organization of Congress Majority Leader Minority Leader SteeringPolicy Democratic Conference Republican Caucus

19 Managing Congress (continue) *Types of Committees  Choosing Committee Members *The Role of Seniority *Investigations and Oversight *The Special Role of Conference Committees

20 Legislative oversight of the executive branch ( Bureaucratic Oversight & Investigations)  Reviewing the performance of executive branch agencies to ensure that laws are being properly administered and that power is not being abused  Primarily managed by the committees and subcommittees  Special committees may conduct investigations or hold hearings, such as Supreme Court confirmation hearings  Hearings are an important part of the process.

21 Congressional Committees  Most of the work of Congress takes place in its committees and subcommittees.  Why Congress has committees  Types of committees  standing committees  subcommittees  select committees  joint committees  conference committees  Committee assignments  Committee and subcommittee chairs

22 HouseSenate Joint Committees AgricultureAgriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Economics AppropriationsAppropriations Printing Armed ServicesArmed Services Taxation BudgetBanking, Housing, and Urban Affairs On the Library Ed. and the WorkforceBudget Energy and CommerceCommerce, Science, and Transportation Financial ServicesEnergy and Natural Resources Government ReformEnvironment and Public Works House AdministrationFinance International RelationsForeign Relations JudiciaryGovernmental Affairs ResourcesHealth, Education, and Pensions RulesIndian Affairs Science, Space & Tech.Judiciary Congressional Standing and Select Committees

23 House SenateJoint Committees Select Intelligence Rules and Administration Small Business Select Ethics Standards of Official Conduct Select Intelligence Transportation and Infrastructure Small Business Veterans’ Affairs Special Aging Ways and Means Veterans’ Affairs Congressional Standing and Select Committees

24 Rules and Norms  Reciprocity  Senate  bills scheduled by unanimous consent  filibuster & cloture  House  more rule-bound  more hierarchical Until recently, many norms guided the behavior of members of Congress. Members were supposed to specialize in a small number of issues, defer to members with longer tenure in office, never criticize anyone personally, and wait their turn to speak and introduce legislation.

25 The Legislative Obstacle Course

26 Legislative Responsibilities: How a Bill Becomes a Law  It is extremely difficult to make law because it is relatively easy to block bills from becoming laws.  Only about 6 percent of all bills that are introduced are enacted into law.

27  Introducing a bill  Committee action and review  Floor action  Floor Debate and Passage  Conference committee  The Importance of Compromise  Presidential action  sign into law  veto  pocket veto Legislative Responsibilities: How a Bill Becomes a Law

28 Quick Assessment List the different types of congressional committees

29 Quick Assessment List in chronological order how a bill becomes a law  Conference committee  Introducing bill in the House & Senate  Floor Debate and Passage  Subcommittee hearings  Executive action  Committee action

30 Quick Assessment List 3 similarities and 3 differences between the House and Senate

31 Congress: An Assessment and a View on Reform  Congress as Policymaker  Frequent criticisms of Congress  Yet, the evidence is mixed  Other Criticisms of Congress  Congress is Inefficient  Congress is Unrepresentative

32 Congress: An Assessment and a View on Reform  Other Criticisms of Congress  Congress is Unethical  Congress Lacks Collective Responsibility  A Defense of Congress  Americans tend to approve of their own representatives and senators, but have low regard for Congress as an institution

33 Congressional Approval

34 HouseSenate Two-year termsSix-year terms 435 members100 members Smaller constituenciesLarger constituencies Less personal staffMore personal staff Equal populations representedStates represented Less flexible rulesMore flexible rules Limited debateExtended debate More policy specialistsPolicy generalists Less media coverageMore media coverage Less prestigeMore prestige Less reliance on staffMore reliance on staff More powerful committee leadersMore equal distribution of power Difference Between the House of Representatives and the Senate

35 HouseSenate Very important committeesLess important committees20 major committeesNongermane amendments(riders) not allowed Important Rules CommitteeSpecial treaty ratification power Some bills permit no floorSpecial “advise and consent” Amendments (closed rule)confirmation power Filibuster allowed Difference Between the House of Representatives and the Senate

36 A Day in the Life of a Member


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