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Congress Chapter 12. The Representatives and Senators  The Job  Salary of $174,000 with retirement benefits.  Office space in D.C. and at home and.

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Presentation on theme: "Congress Chapter 12. The Representatives and Senators  The Job  Salary of $174,000 with retirement benefits.  Office space in D.C. and at home and."— Presentation transcript:

1 Congress Chapter 12

2 The Representatives and Senators  The Job  Salary of $174,000 with retirement benefits.  Office space in D.C. and at home and staff to fill it.  Travel allowances and mail privileges.  But, there’s often 10 to 14 hour days, lots of time away from the family, and lots of pressure from different people to “do the right thing.”

3 The Representatives and Senators CharacteristicHouseSenate Democrat21250 Republican22149 Independent21 Male37687 Female5913 Lawyers15653 Business15924 Education9216 From Table 12.2  The Members- 535 total:

4 Congressional Elections  Who Wins Elections?  Incumbent: Those already holding office. Figure 12.1

5 Congressional Elections  The Advantages of Incumbents  Advertising:  The goal is to be visible to your voters.  Frequent trips home & newsletters are used.  Credit Claiming:  Service to individuals in their district.  Casework: specifically helping constituents get what they think they have a right to.  Pork Barrel: federal projects, grants, etc. made available in a congressional district or state.

6 John Stossel  Pork barrel spending  YbT_vGw YbT_vGw

7 Congressional Elections  The Advantages of Incumbents  Position-Taking:  Portray themselves as hard working, dedicated individuals.  Occasionally take a partisan stand on an issue.  Weak Opponents:  Most opponents are inexperienced in politics.  Most opponents are unorganized and underfunded.

8 Congressional Elections  The Role of Party Identification  Most members represent the majority party in their district.  Defeating Incumbents  Some incumbents face problems after a scandal or other complication in office.  They may get drawn out of their district.  They may face massive voter retaliation.

9 Congressional Elections  Money in Congressional Elections  Open seats are expensive.  Do PACs buy candidates?  Spending lots of money does not guarantee a win. Figure 12.3

10 Congressional Elections  Stability and Change  Incumbents winning provides stability in Congress.  But, it makes it more difficult to change Congress through elections.  Are term limits an answer?

11 Citizen U:Bicameralism  SOiQ1kI SOiQ1kI

12 How Congress is Organized to Make Policy From Table 12.3  The House  435 members, 2 year terms of office.  Initiates all revenue bills, more influential on budget.  Limited debates.  The Senate  100 members, 6 year terms of office.  Gives “advice & consent”, more influential on foreign affairs.  Unlimited debates. American Bicameralism – Bicameral: Legislature divided into two houses.

13 How Congress is Organized to Make Policy The House – Led by Speaker of the House- elected by House members. – Speaker Presides over House. – Speaker plays major role in committee assignments and legislation. The Senate – Officially led by Vice President. – Really led by Majority Leader- chosen by party members. – Majority Leader must work with Minority leader. Congressional Leadership

14 How Congress is Organized to Make Policy  The Committees and Subcommittees  Four types of committees:  Standing committees: subject matter committees that handle different policy areas.  Joint committees: few policy areas- made up of House & Senate members.  Conference committees: resolve differences in House and Senate bills.  Select committees: created for a specific purpose.

15 How Congress is Organized to Make Policy  The Committees and Subcommittees  The Committees at Work: Legislation and Oversight  Committees work on 11,000 bills every year.  Some hold hearings and “mark up” meetings.  Serve as a reference for other members.  Oversight involves hearings and other methods of pressuring the executive branch into action.  As the size of government grows, oversight grows too.

16 How Congress is Organized to Make Policy  The Committees and Subcommittees  Getting on a Committee  Members want to get on the right committee.  Members want committee assignments that will help them get reelected and gain influence.  New members express their committee preferences to the party leaders.  Support of the party is important in getting on the right committee.  Parties try to grant committee assignments.

17 How Congress is Organized to Make Policy  The Committees and Subcommittees  Getting Ahead on the Committee: Chairs and the Seniority System.  The chair is the most important position for controlling legislation.  Chairs were chosen strictly by seniority.  Now seniority is a general rule, and members may choose the chair of their committee.

18 How Congress is Organized to Make Policy  Caucuses: The Informal Organization of Congress  Caucus: A group of members of Congress sharing some interest or characteristic.  Caucuses pressure for committee meetings and hearings and for votes on bills.  Caucuses can be more effective than lobbyists.

19 How Congress is Organized to Make Policy  Congressional Staff  Personal staff: Work for the member. Mainly providing constituent service, but help with legislation too.  Committee staff: organize hearings, research & write legislation, target of lobbyists.  Staff Agencies: CRS, GAO, CBO provide specific information to Congress.

20 The Congressional Process  Legislation:  Bill: A proposed law.  Anyone can draft a bill, but only members of Congress can introduce them.  More rules in the House than in the Senate.  Party leaders play a vital role in steering bills through both houses.  Countless influences on the legislative process.

21 The Congressional Process  Presidents and Congress: Partners and Protagonists  Presidents have many resources to influence Congress.  In order to “win” in Congress, the president must first win several battles in each house.  Presidents have the power of veto to ultimately influence legislation.

22 The Congressional Process Figure 12.5

23 The Congressional Process  Party, Constituency, and Ideology  Party Influence: Party leaders cannot force party members to vote a particular way, but many do vote along party lines.  Constituency versus Ideology: Most constituents don’t know how their member voted on any particular issue. It is difficult for constituents to influence their member.

24 The Congressional Process  Lobbyists and Interest Groups  There are over 26 lobbyists for every member of Congress- the bigger the issue, the more lobbyists will be working on it.  Lobbyists can be ignored, shunned and even regulated by Congress.  Ultimately, there is no single dominant influence on the members of Congress.

25 Understanding Congress  Congress and Democracy  While it is a representative body, it doesn’t necessarily represent the people, just their interests.  Congress does try to respond to what the people want, but some argue it could do a better job.  Interest groups and presidents exert influence on what Congress does.

26 Understanding Congress  Reforming Congress  Democratization- more power was dispersed around, and more subcommittees and caucuses were created. Some of this has been changed in recent years  Representation versus Effectiveness- some argue that Congress has too much to do, and can’t do much of it right. But it does get some of its work done.

27 Understanding Congress  Congress and the Scope of Government  The more policies Congress works on, the more ways they can serve their constituencies.  The more programs that get created, the bigger government gets.  Everybody wants government programs cut, just not their programs.

28 Internet Resources  House of Representatives  U. S. Senate  Thomas  Roll Call  FEC  Center for Responsive Politics  C-Span

29 Freshman Year Videos  man.year/ man.year/

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