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Congress. The House of Representatives Rules for Lawmaking Complex Rules House and Senate print rules every two years. House rules are generally geared.

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Presentation on theme: "Congress. The House of Representatives Rules for Lawmaking Complex Rules House and Senate print rules every two years. House rules are generally geared."— Presentation transcript:

1 Congress

2 The House of Representatives

3 Rules for Lawmaking Complex Rules House and Senate print rules every two years. House rules are generally geared at what an individual representative can and can’t do.

4 House rules are generally geared towards moving legislation along quickly. Committee Work Due to large size of the House committee work is vital for efficiency.

5 Specialization Members of Congress tend to use committees to specialize in one area of legislation or another. Also use positions to get things done for their constituents (the people they represent) back home.

6 House Leadership Purposes The purpose of the leaders of the House serve 6 purposes Organizing and unifying party members Scheduling the work of the House

7 Making certain of the attendance of representatives for key votes Distributing and collecting information Keeping the House in touch with the Presidency Influencing lawmakers along party lines

8 The Speaker of the House Presiding officer and most powerful leader The majority party chooses the Speaker and the House as a whole approves of them at the start of each session.

9 Powers of the Speaker Gets to decide which members get recognized on the floor and when they get to speak. Appointment power to some committees Control the scheduling of the House Refers bills to committee

10 Third in line for the Presidency House Floor Leaders The Majority Leader Speaker’s top assistant Elected by his party Plans party’s legislative program and steers bills through the legislative process.

11 Floor leader for his political party- making him a party official not an H of R official. The Whips Majority whips and deputy whips are assistants to the majority leader who coordinate party activities in regards to legislation.

12 The Minority Party Leaders They too have their leaders, minority leaders and whips, who fulfill the same role as their majority counter parts- without the scheduling power.

13 Lawmaking in the House Scheduling of House Bills A bill is what we call a proposed law until it passes both houses of Congress and gains Presidential approval or a Congressional override.

14 To introduce a bill in the House you drop it in the “hopper”- a wooden box at the front of the chamber. Bills to Committee Following introduction the Speaker refers the bill to the appropriate committee for study, review, and discussion.

15 If it gets out of committee its is put on a calendar to be brought up for consideration. The House Rules Committee Who are they Rules committee serves as traffic cops in the House when it comes to legislation.

16 Can push a bill ahead quickly, hold it back, or stop it completely. The Speaker chairs the committee and has the power to approve with caucus ratification all majority party members.

17 Function of the Rules Committee They can move a bill up the ladder so that it actually gets a vote. Can limit debate time or amendments on a bill that is on the floor. Settles disputes between committees over a bill

18 Often delays or blocks votes that politicians do not want to get to a floor vote. A Quorum It is the minimum number of members who must be present for official action.

19 The Senate

20 Informal Atmosphere The Senate has a more informal atmosphere than the House- their rules are less than 100 pages.

21 Senate Leadership The President of the Senate The VP presides over Senate and can: Recognize members Put questions to a vote Not Participate in Debate Only vote in case of a tie

22 President Pro Tempore (President Pro Tem) Senate elected majority party leader who presides over the Senate in the absence of the VP

23 Floor Leaders The Majority and Minority party floor leaders fill the same role in the Senate as do the Floor leaders in the House. Whips and assistant whips also fill the same role.

24 Lawmaking in the Senate Scheduling of Senate Bills Any one can propose a bill Senate leaders control the flow of bills to committees, and to the floor. Bills are brought to a vote by unanimous consent.

25 The Filibuster The Senate allows unlimited debate on a bill. To defeat a bill an opponent may filibuster- talk until the bill is abandoned or modified.

26 After 3 hours of continuous talking on the subject the Senator who has the floor can talk about anything they want. The record for a filibuster is 24 hours and 18 minutes. To defeat a filibuster you must obtain a 3/5 vote (60 votes) for cloture.

27 Cloture is a limit of 1 hour per Senator for debate of a bill. Has lost its effectiveness over the years, but the threat can delay or kill a bill.

28 Congressional Committees

29 Purposes Eases the Workload Divides work into smaller groups Allows for specialization Process selects the key bills to be brought forward Allows supporters and opponents to be heard Compromises can be made in this small setting

30 Allows for Public Hearings Allows for public education of the issues

31 Kinds of Committees Standing Committees These committees continue form one Congress to the next and were set up as permanent committees to oversee certain types of bills. Six year term limits on committee chairs

32 Majority party selects the chair of the standing committees, as well as holding the majority of the seats on the committees. Subcommittees These committees specialize in categories that standing committees oversee.

33 Select Committees Typically are committees set up to investigate a matter of interest at the time Usually last one Congressional term. Joint Committees Made up of members from both the Senate and the House

34 Can be temporary or permanent In theory they are to coordinate the work of the two houses. Conference Committees When the House and Senate both pass different versions of a bill this type of committee is set up to resolve the differences through bargaining.

35 Both chambers must vote to pass the same version of the bill.

36 Choosing Committee Members Importance Can influence ones career through power acquired by what committee they sit on.

37 Assignment The political parties assign their members to committees and subcommittees. Role of the Chairperson Control meeting times, bill consideration, the witness lists for hearings.

38 Also hire staff and control budget. Manage floor debates on bills from their committee. Seniority System Historically leadership of a committee was given to the longest standing majority party member on the committee.

39 Staff and Support Agencies

40 Congressional Staff Role Help handle workload Communicate with the public Run meetings and floor sessions Draft bills Write reports

41 Speechwriters Campaign workers Fundraisers Growth The increased workload of Congress brought about the support staff for Congressmen.

42 Personal Staff vs. Committee Staff Personal Staff work directly for individual congressmen, while Committee staff work for many committees. Types Administrative Assistants Advisor who runs office and schedule

43 Legislative Assistant Researches and studies bills to keep their Congressman informed. Helps to write speeches and bills. Caseworkers Handle requests from constituents.

44 Committee Staffers Do the same type of work as Legislative Assistants for committees.

45 Support Agencies Library of Congress One of the world’s largest libraries Collects all kinds of medium of information. Has a team of researchers at the disposal of lawmakers.

46 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) The economic advisory office to Congress. General Accounting Office (GAO) Watch over the funds that Congress allocates in the budget. Watchdog group

47 Government Printing Office (GPO) The printing office for the federal government.

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