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Chapter 6: The Legislative Branch

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1 Chapter 6: The Legislative Branch

2 Capitol Building- “Capitol Hill”
Congress- Bicameral House of Representatives and Senate

3 House of Representatives
- 435 Members (determined by population) - Each State gets at least one member - 2 year term (no limits) - Each state is divided into one or more congressional districts - Districts are determined by the census - Every 10 years - Each state should have a similar number of citizens per district - Gerrymandering- shape a district in order to have a majority of specific group. - Focus on the needs of their districts as well as the nation.

4 Missouri Congressional Districts

5 Gerrymandering Named after Elbridge Gerry
State legislatures decide their federal congressional districts. The party which controls the state legislature will design districts to best benefit their party. - Gerrymandering is an abuse of power.

6 Senate -100 members (2 per state) - Represent the entire state - 6 year term (no limit) - Staggered election cycle - 33 senators every 2 years - “When the Founding Fathers agreed to give six-year terms to Senators, they also decided to stagger the elections, so that a third of the Senate was up for election every two years. With this staggered turnover, the Founding Fathers wanted to ensure stability in the Senate, and encourage Senators to deliberate measures over time, rather than risk a rapid turnover of the entire chamber every six years. At the same time, they wanted more frequent elections, as opposed to waiting every six years, to prevent Senators from permanently combining for ‘sinister purposes’.”

7 Congressional Leaders
Majority and Minority Party (Two Party System) Speaker of the House (House of Reps- Majority Party) Steers legislation, in charge of floor debates, in line for P after VP, DOES FAVORS! NPR- Speaker of the House can “call” vote? Vice President is president of the Senate- Breaks Ties President Pro Tempore (for the time being)- majority party Party Whips- assistant leaders in House and Senate, help organize votes over important issues

8 Where legislation happens!
Committees Where legislation happens! Standing Committee- Permanent Committee Subcommittees- More specialized/specific issues Select Committee- special issues with a time limit Joint Committee- Includes members from both the House and the Senate Conference Committee- temporary joint committee to discuss specific legislation. - How are seats determined? - Chairperson holds power over committee

9 Powers- Expressed and Implied
Expressed: Powers Taxing All bills for raising revenue must start in the House, but the senate may propose or concur on with amendments. Senate must approve. Authorization bill: establish projects to spend taxes Appropriation bill: provide money for projects and activity

10 Regulate Foreign and Interstate Commerce
Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) Facts of the Case  A New York state law gave two individuals the exclusive right to operate steamboats on waters within state jurisdiction. Laws like this one were duplicated elsewhere which led to friction as some states would require foreign (out-of-state) boats to pay substantial fees for navigation privileges. In this case a steamboat owner who did business between New York and New Jersey challenged the monopoly that New York had granted, which forced him to obtain a special operating permit from the state to navigate on its waters. Question: Did the state of New York exercise an authority (regulation of trade) that was expressed specifically to Congress? If so, is that constitutional?

11 Implied Powers Necessary and Proper (Elastic) Clause
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) Facts of the Case  In 1816, Congress chartered The Second Bank of the United States. In 1818, the state of Maryland passed legislation to impose taxes on the bank. James W. McCulloch, the cashier of the Baltimore branch of the bank, refused to pay the tax. Two Part question: Did Congress have the power to establish a National Bank? Did congressional law override the powers of the state of Maryland?

12 Foreign Relations Declare War
Oversee armed forces (executive oversight) Senate approval of presidential treaties

13 Checks and Balances • Checks on the Executive
◦ Impeachment power (House) ◦ Trial of impeachments (Senate) ◦ Selection of the President (House) and Vice President (Senate) in the case of no majority of electoral votes ◦ May override Presidential vetoes ◦ Senate approves departmental appointments ◦ Senate approves treaties and ambassadors ◦ Power to declare war ◦ Power to enact taxes and allocate funds • Checks on the Judiciary ◦ Senate approves federal judges ◦ Power to initiate constitutional amendments

14 Limits Cannot Suspend Habeas Corpus
Prohibits Bills of Attainder- an act of legislation which punishes an individual or group without a trial. Prohibits ex post facto laws- a law that makes criminal an act that was legal when it was committed. Checks- Presidential veto/ Judicial review Bi-Cameral- Both Houses must approve Bills to create law.

15 Congressional Supports
1. Personal Staff: gather issues on bills, arrange meetings, and meet with lobbyists: people who represent interest groups and influence political decisions. 2. Committee Staff: Experts on specific issues 3. Support Services: A. Library Congress- Available for research B. Congressional Research Service (CRS)- does non-partisan research for congressional members C. GAO- Government Accountability Office- Researches in matter of finance for Congress.

16 How a Bill becomes a Law 1. An IDEA or observation of a citizen. Recognize a problem and create a solution in a bill. A bill can be created by anybody. 2. Only a member of the Senate or House can introduce a bill by placing it in the hopper (spending bills must start in House). 3. The bill is sent to a committee or subcommittee. - bill can be scratched, amended, create a new bill, pigeonholing, or sent to floor for debate. 4. House has limit of time before a vote has to held. - Senate (no limit) can hold a filibuster: “talk a bill to death.” Can be ended with a cloture vote- 3/5th of Senate

17 5. Vote- Majority Rule 6. If passed, the bill goes to the next house (Senate or House of Representative) whereby the process starts over. - Each House must pass an identical Bill to be passed on for executive approval. 7. The President: - can sign bill into law. - wait ten days with congress in session and bill becomes a law - veto a bill (which can be overruled by 2/3rds of both houses - pocket veto- wait ten days with congress out of session and the bill is automatically vetoed and cannot be overruled.

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