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Presentation on theme: "Congress."— Presentation transcript:

1 Congress

2 The Constitution creates a bicameral legislature for three reasons:
Two Houses of Congress The Constitution creates a bicameral legislature for three reasons: Historical: The British Parliament consisted of two houses since the 1300s, and many colonial assemblies were similar in form. Practical: A bicameral legislature was necessary to compromise the Virginia and New Jersey plans of representation. Theoretical: The Framers favored a bicameral Congress in order that one house might act as a check on the other.

3 Terms A term is the length of time that officials serve after an election, as in a two- or six-year term. The date for the start of each new term has been set by the Twentieth Amendment (1933) as “noon of the 3rd day of January.”

4 Sessions of Congress A session is the regular period of time during which Congress conducts business. Congress adjourns, or suspends until the next session, each regular session as it sees fit. If necessary, the President has the power to prorogue, or adjourn, a session, but only when the two houses cannot agree on a date for adjournment. Only the President may call Congress into a special session—a meeting to deal with some emergency situation.

5 Comparative Government: Legislative Bodies

6 Size and Terms The exact size of the House of Representatives, currently at 435 members, is determined by Congress. The Constitution provides that the total number of seats in the House shall be apportioned (distributed) among the States on the basis of their respective populations. Members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms. Although there have been recent movements to limit terms, there are no limits set on the number of terms a representative may serve.

7 Reapportionment Article I of the Constitution directs Congress to reapportion—redistribute—the seats in the House after each decennial census.(10 years) The Reapportionment Act of 1929 set the “permanent” size of the House at 435 members, and provided for “automatic reapportionment.”

8 Current Apportionment

9 Apportionment Continued…
Based on the Census 2000 apportionment, each member of the U.S. House of Representatives represents an average population of 646,952.

10 Congressional Elections
Congressional elections are held on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November of each even-numbered year. Off-year elections are those congressional elections held between presidential elections.

11 Districts and Gerrymandering
Districts that have unusual shapes or even defy description have sometimes been gerrymandered. Gerrymandering refers to the act of drawing congressional districts to the advantage of the political party that controls the State legislature.

12 Duties of the Job 1. Legislators who make the laws
2. Committee Members Screen bills and make recommendations Oversight function of governmental agencies 3. Representatives of their Constituents- Those who elect them 4. Servants of their Constituents 5. Politicians Much time spent fundraising for future elections

13 Qualifications for House Members
The Constitution says that a member of the House (1) must be at least 25 years of age, (2) must have been a citizen of the United States for at least seven years, and (3) must have been an inhabitant of the State from which he or she is elected. Party identification, name familiarity, gender, ethnic characteristics, and political experience.

14 Size, Election, and Terms
The Constitution says that the Senate “shall be composed of two Senators from each State.” Today’s Senate consists of 100 Senators. Originally, the Constitution provided that senators were chosen by the State legislatures.

15 Senators In 1912 the Seventeenth Amendment was passed and called for the popular election of senators. Senators serve for six-year terms. The Senate is a continuous body, meaning that all of its seats are never up for election at the same time.

16 Qualifications for Senators
The requirements for the U.S. Senate are higher than for the House of Representatives. The Constitution says that a Senator (1) must be at least 30 years of age, (2) must have been a citizen of the United States for at least nine years, and (3) must be an inhabitant of the State from which he or she is elected.

17 Types of Bills and Resolutions
Joint resolutions Unusual or temporary measures Constitutional amendments Concurrent Resolutions Jointly between the House and Senate Not sent to the President Resolutions Rule of procedure or amendment to rule Rider Addition to a bill

18 And now for a 3 minute pause…
Compare and Contrast the House and the Senate using a Venn Diagram…

19 All of the below are being discussed in the 110th Congress:
A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a credit for fuel-efficient motor vehicles A bill to amend the foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to provide assistance for developing countries to promote quality basic education and to establish the achievement of universal basic education in all developing countries as an objective of United States foreign assistance policy A bill that protects the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, prohibit exporting oil and gas produced A bill that discusses prohibits human cloning Drug testing standards for professional athletes A bill that protects Detainees, bans cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment A bill regarding foreign policy in Iraq, require quarterly progress reports to Congress from the President

20 Congressional Leaders
Majority Leader—the legislative leader of the party holding the majority of seats in the House or Senate Minority Leader—the legislative leader and spokesperson of the party holding the minority of seats in the House or Senate Whip—a senator or representative who works with the party leaders to communicate views, solicit support before votes are taken, and keep track of how voting is likely to go

21 Presiding Officers Speaker of the House- doesn’t vote
Elected from the majority party President of the Senate-Vice President President Pro Tempore Elected by the senate from majority party Honorary position based on seniority Floor Leaders- legislative strategists Whips- Assist floor leaders – aware of how others will vote Party Caucus- party meeting Committee Chairman Seniority Rule-no longer the rule

22 And now another Pause…Go back to your Venn Diagram and add anything new….

23 110th Congress Membership 435 Members House Party Divisions 230 Democrats 196 Republicans   Membership 100 Senators (Vice President votes in case of a tie) Senate Party Divisions 51 Democrats 49 Republicans

24 Education Levels of Congress
139 members of Congress have experience in the military 396 Members of the House and 97 Senators hold bachelor’s degrees 120 Members of the House and 19 Senators have master’s degrees 170 Members of the House and 58 Senators hold law degrees 20 Members of the House have doctoral degrees 14 Members of the House and four Senators hold medical degrees

25 Prior Occupations of Congress
13 medical doctors (including a psychiatrist), three dentists, three nurses two veterinarians, two psychologists, an optometrist, and one pharmacist six ministers 35 mayors, 10 state governors, nine lieutenant governors (including two Delegates), two state first ladies (one of whom was also the first lady of the United States), and one territorial first lady three former cabinet secretaries, a former Secretary of the Navy, a former deputy administrator in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, a former deputy assistant Secretary of State, a former ambassador three state supreme court justices, and a federal judge 275 (236 in the House and 39 in the Senate) former state legislators 109 congressional staffers (including 11 congressional pages), 15 White House staffers or fellows, several former executive branch employees four sheriffs, four police officers (including a Capitol policeman) two state troopers, two volunteer firemen, two probation officers, and a border patrol chief two FBI agents, one CIA agent two physicists, two chemists, a biomedical researcher a biomedical engineer, a geologist, and a microbiologist six Peace Corps volunteers

26 VIPS SENATE: Harry Reid (D-NV), Majority Leader,
Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Minority Leader Pro Temp: Robert Byrd (D-WV) President of Senate: Vice President-Dick Cheney HOUSE OF REPS: Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Speaker of the House Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Majority Leader, John Boehner (R-OH), Minority Leader Majority Whip- James Clyburn (D-SC) Minority Whip- Roy Blunt (R-MO)

27 Representatives of the People
Senators and representatives are elected to represent people. As legislators, they have four voting options:

28 Committee Membership and Public Servants
As committee members, senators and representatives screen proposed laws before they are voted on. Members of the House and the Senate also act as servants of their constituents.

29 Oversight Function Another vital part of their committee work involves the oversight function. Oversight is the process by which Congress, through its committees, checks to see that the agencies of the executive branch are working effectively.

30 Compensation Today, senators and representatives are paid a salary of…
$165, 200 a year, Certain members, such as the Speaker of the House and the Senate’s president pro tem, are paid more. Senate Leadership Majority Leader - $183,500  Minority Leader - $183,500  House Leadership  Speaker of the House - $212,100 Majority Leader - $183,500 Minority Leader - $183,500 The franking privilege allows members of Congress to mail letters and other materials postage-free by substituting their facsimile signature (frank) for the postage.

31 The Constitution says that Congress fixes its own “compensation
The Constitution says that Congress fixes its own “compensation.” Therefore, the only real limits to congressional pay are the President’s veto and fear of voter backlash against a pay increase.

32 Membership Privileges
Members of Congress are immune from arrest for noncriminal offenses while engaged in congressional business. More importantly, the Speech and Debate Clause (Article I, Section 6, Clause 1) protects representatives and senators from suits for libel or slander arising from their official conduct.

33 To summarize the info we learned today…
Create a one sentence summary using the following prompt…. A___________is a kind of______________ that__________________. ___________happens because________________.

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