Presentation on theme: "The United States Congress Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself. Mark Twain."— Presentation transcript:
The United States Congress Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself. Mark Twain
More partisan and unified More loyalty to party More structured and organized Majority rules always Limited debate and amendments The House of Representatives
Senators more powerful individually Less party-oriented and party- dependent Looser rules of debate and amendments Minority can block the majority (the filibuster) The Senate
Special Rules of the Senate Unlimited debate Bills brought to floor by consent of party leaders Filibusters (can be ended by a cloture vote,60 votes) The hold put on bills non-germane amendments
Structure of the House Chosen from the Majority Party Speaker of the House: John Boehner (R - OH) Elected by House members Only Congressional office mentioned by the Constitution Duties: controls debate, approves committee assignments, designates which bills are considered by the House
Structure of the House The Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R – VA) The Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R- CA)
Structure of the House The Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D – CA) The Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D- MD)
Structure of the Senate President of the Senate: Joseph Biden Duties: presides over the Senate can not vote unless there is a tie rarely present in the Senate
The Majority Leader Harry Reid (D – NV) The Majority Whip Richard Durban ( D - IL)
Structure of the Senate The Minority Leader Mitch McConnell ( R - KY) The Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R – AZ)
The Committees Four Types: Standing (permanent) Joint (for investigations) Select (info gathering) Conference (to reconcile different bills from House and Senate)
The Committees Most Important (House) Sander Levin (D-MI) Norm Dicks (D- WA) Jerry Lewis (R – CA) Louise Slaughter (D – NY) David Dreier (R – CA) Ways and Means David Camp (R – MI) Rules Appropriations Energy and Commerce Henry Waxman (D – CA) Fred Upton (R – MI)
The Senate Committees Appropriations Daniel Inouye (D – HA) Thad Cochran (R – MS) Judiciary Patrick Leahy (D – VT) Finance Max Baucus (D – MT) Charles Grassley (R – IA) Foreign Relations John Kerry (D –MA) Richard Luger (R – IN) Budget Jeff Sessions (R – AL) Kent Conrad (D – ND) (Orrin Hatch R – UT)
The Committees Chair Positions: Based on seniority Majority party holds chairs Power to hold or move bills forward or pigeonhole them Conducts hearings
The Committees Staff Does research Gathers information Assigned to committees or to Congress itself Rep. Sam Hall (R – TX)
Powers of Congress Non-legislative: Investigative (i.e. Watergate) Power to subpoena witnesses and gather information
Powers of Congress Non-legislative: Electoral – chooses president when no majority is achieved in Electoral College
Powers of Congress Non-legislative: Executive – Senate Confirms appointments of the president Also confirms treaties
Powers of Congress Non-legislative: Impeachment: House files charges, Senate acts as jury, Chief Justice presides
Powers of Congress Non-legislative: Amendment: two thirds of House and Senate needed to send amendments to States (3/4 needed for ratification)
Powers of Congress Types Expressed: Article I, Section VIII, clauses 1 - 17 Implied: necessary and proper (clause 18) (the Elastic Clause) To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers…
The Electoral Connection Advantages of the incumbent: franking or unlimited mailings to home district
The Electoral Connection Advantages of the incumbent: Money and the ability to raise money
The Electoral Connection Constituency service Advantages of the incumbent: Bill Flores – R – TX 17)
The Electoral Connection Credit claiming Name recognition Position taking Advantages of the incumbent:
The Electoral Connection Advantages of the incumbent: Lack of quality opponents Ignorant voters
The Electoral Connection Reasons for defeat: Scandal Re-districting Re-alignment of electorate: 1932, 1994, 2006, 2010?
The Electoral Connection Usually nonfactors: Foreign Policy Economy coattails Can be factors occasionally (2006, 2008, 2010)
Bill is introduced by a member in House YouTube - I'm Just a Bill Hello, Bill!
How a Bill Becomes A Law! Member of Congress submits bill, read by clerk, and then put in the hopper Can be killed by Speaker or sent forward to Rules Committee
How a Bill Becomes A Law! Bill sent to the Rules Committee, to determine which committee is to work on it (or it can be pigeonholed) Bill dies
How a Bill Becomes A Law! Sent to the Committee, assigned to a subcommittee Subcommittee holds hearings, performs studies, and makes revisions (mark-up)
How a Bill Becomes A Law! Subcommittee reports it back to full committee Committee can either: Approve it pigeonhole it Kill it!
How a Bill Becomes A Law! Back to the Rules Committee Sets guidelines on: length of debate amendments, yes/no type of vote put on the calendar
How a Bill Becomes A Law! Full House Debate YES – on to the Senate NO – bummer! Bill is killed!
How A Bill Becomes a Law! Bill introduced to the Senate by a member Assigned to appropriate committee by Senate leadership (no Rules Committee in the Senate) McConnellReid
How A Bill Becomes a Law! Subcommittee hearings, mark-ups, etc. Report to the full committee
Committee can kill it or pass it Sends it to the Senate leadership to be put on the calendar How A Bill Becomes a Law!
Full Senate debate, filibusters, amendments, final vote If yes: conference committee If no: big bummer!
How A Bill Becomes a Law! Conference Committee made up of both House and Senate members works out differences in the two bills Sent back to original body for final vote No debate or amendments Yes or No
How A Bill Becomes a Law! Sent to President If signed: ITS A LAW! Veto: sent back to Congress for possible 2/3 override
Influences on Legislation The PresidentThe Courts Events Interest Groups The Media
Influences on Legislation The Party Constituent demands Crazy, Right Wing, God-fearin Conservatives AP Government Classes
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