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Unit 4 The Legislative Branch. Section 1: Role of Congress.

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Presentation on theme: "Unit 4 The Legislative Branch. Section 1: Role of Congress."— Presentation transcript:

1 Unit 4 The Legislative Branch

2 Section 1: Role of Congress

3 Legislative Branch—Make laws Federal: Congress (House of Representatives and Senate) in Washington, D.C. State: Congress (House of Representatives and Senate) in each state capitol Local: City Council, Township Trustees

4 3 Key Roles of Congress Congress 1. Making Laws 2. Overseeing Agencies 3. Helping Constituents

5 1. Making Laws--how do members decide what laws to pass? – Personal belief – Constituents’ (the citizens the representative represents) Interests – Interest groups—a group of like-minded individuals who band together to influence public policy, public opinion, or governmental officials – Political Party Loyalty *Congressmen must factor in these things before deciding how to vote on a bill.

6 2. Overseeing Agencies – Conduct investigations of agency actions and programs – Seen as the “neglected function” – Congress would rather make programs that finding out if existing ones work

7 3. Helping Constituents—members of Congress receive 200 million pieces of mail each year – Individual requests Giving their views Ask for assistance with gov services, like Social Security – Detecting patterns If they get the same type of request or complaint, Congressman will see there is a problem – Handling requests Usually handled by congressional staffs

8 Legislative Branch Section 2: Houses and Members of Congress

9 Comparison of both houses of Congress House of RepresentativesSenate Size1. Set by Congress 2.Decided by Population of each state (10 year census) 3.Currently 435 members 1. Two from each state (100 total) Terms2 years6 years Qualifications1.25 years old 2.US citizen for at least 7 years 3.Legal resident of state they represent 1.30 years old 2.US citizen for at least 9 years 3.Legal resident of state they represent Salary and Benefits1.$174,000 salary 2.Office in congressional building 3.Send mail for free 4.General pensions, medical services, tax deductions, free parking, free health club memberships 5.Immunity—legal protection. Can’t be arrested if it keeps them from performing their job 1. All the same as House of Representatives Salary and benefit link

10 Congressional Districts for House of Representatives After each census, Congress uses the new population count to apportion the 435 seats among the states States with population growth (West and South) gain seats States that lose population (Northwest) lose seats Each state will always have at least 1 rep State legislature sets the districts for each rep

11 Gerrymandering Districts are drawn for political reasons to favor a political party *Refer to Mr. Williams drawing on board for example Ohio Gerrymandering Map

12 Profile of Members of Congress – Businesspeople or lawyers – Most have college degree – Most are over 40 – Minorities and women underrepresented, but getting better

13 Legislative Branch Section 3: Powers of Congress

14 Powers of Congress 1. Expressed Powers 2. Special Powers 3. Implied Powers

15 1. Expressed Powers (written specifically in the Constitution, Article I, Section 8) – Lay and collect taxes, pay debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the US – To borrow money – Regulate foreign and interstate commerce – Establish uniform rules for becoming a citizen – Coining money – Punish counterfeiters – Make copyright and patent laws – Est. national courts – Punish piracy – Declare war – Raise and maintain army – Call up a national militia – Govern DC – Make laws necessary to carry out above powers

16 2. Special Powers – Impeaching officials – Ratifying treaties – Approving appointments – Deciding elections If no majority of electoral votes in a presidential election, each state votes for the winner (happened in 1801—Thomas Jefferson and 1825—John Quincy Adams)

17 3. Implied Powers – “Congress has the power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers”—THE ELASTIC CLAUSE – Ex: Right to establish military academies

18 Limits on Powers of Congress – Pass ex post facto laws—a law that applies to an action that took place before the law was passed – Pass bills of attainder—a law that punishes a person who has not been convicted in a court of law – Suspend the writ of habeas corpus—a court order requiring police to bring all persons accused of a crime to court and to show sufficient reason to keep them in jail – Pass laws violating the Constitution – Pass laws giving a state or group of states an unfair trade advantage – Grant titles of nobility – Engage in spending that has not been authorized by law

19 United States Capitol Webpage


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