Presentation on theme: "THE U.S. CONGRESS The legislature of the United States Defined in Article I of the Constitution All legislative power is vested in the U.S. Congress."— Presentation transcript:
THE U.S. CONGRESS The legislature of the United States Defined in Article I of the Constitution All legislative power is vested in the U.S. Congress
Elections Elected directly by constituents House = every 2 years Seats apportioned according to population Senate = every 6 years States are equal, all get 2
Requirements House: must be 25 years old, a citizen for seven years, inhabitant of state represented. Senate: must be 30 years old, a nine-year citizen, inhabitant of state represented.
What do I get if I become a legislator? Immunity for Legislative acts Freedom of speech on floor of legislature is staunchly guarded, must provide for open debate Free postage to constituents (one piece of mail every three months) Access to library of Congress (limitless learning!)
Demographics: Compensation & Socio-Economic Status Current salary = $174,000 50 members have a net worth of $5million+ 115 days off/year; whole month of August John Kerry ($230 million – not including wifes estate) is the wealthiest
Demographics: Education & Professional Background Lawyers (60%) Government employees (various levels, including 5 teachers in the Senate) 30% have degrees in politics, 14% have an economics-related degree, only 6% have an economics degree, 18% have degrees in the humanities ( Wall Street Journal )
Demographics Gender& Age Senate: Average age in Senate: 62 Robert Byrd (D-WV) is oldest – 91 years Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), 43, is youngest. Senate has 17 females House: Average age in House: 56 Aaron Schock (R-IL), 28, youngest member. Ralph Hall (R-TX), 86, is oldest. House: 75 female Representatives
Ethnic background In the current Congress, the 111th, there are: African-American Members: 39 in House; 1 in Senate. Hispanic-American Members: 24 in House; 3 in Senate Asian-American Members: 6 in House; 1 in Senate Native American Members: 2 in House; 0 in Senate
Composition of the House 435 members 257 Democrats 178 Republicans Speaker (Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Majority leader: Steny Hoyer (D-MD) Minority Leader (John Boehner (R-OH))
Composition of the Senate 100 members 2 per state (equal representation) 58 Democrats 40 Republicans 2 Independents Vice President: tie breaker vote President Pro Tempore: Robert Byrd (D-WV) Majority Leader: Harry Reid (D-NV) Minority leader: Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Enumerated Powers of Congress Taxation Make laws Interstate commerce Establish post offices Approve treaties (Senate only) Declare war Impeachment Borrow $$ on U.S. credit Coin money Raise and support armies
Implied Powers Necessary & Proper Clause "To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof."
Implied Powers, continued Commerce Clause Often paired with necessary & proper Expansion of fed gov power Article I, Section 8, Clause 3: Congress shall have power to… regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes
Implied Powers, continued General welfare Section 8. The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States
How a Bill Becomes a Law Review the link below for a quick overview. http://www.lexisnexis.com/help/CU/The_L egislative_Process/How_a_Bill_Becomes_ Law.htm
How a Bill Becomes Law Once a bill is passed by both the Senate and the House, it goes to the president. He/she may do 1 of 4 things: a. Sign it (bill becomes law) b. Veto it (bill does NOT become law, can be overridden) c. Let it sit for 10 days (automatically becomes law) d. Pocket veto = ignored by president at end of session (does NOT become law)
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