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What is a congressional hearing

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1 What is a congressional hearing
What is a congressional hearing? How are congressional hearings used by members of Congress? A congressional hearing is a meeting that is held after a committee decides to act on a bill, which includes testimony from experts on the bill’s subject, from government officials, and from interest groups that are concerned with the bill.

2 What are the different types of congressional bills and resolutions?
The different types of bills and resolutions are a bill itself, joint resolution, simple resolution, and concurrent resolution.

3 How do bills make their way through committee
How do bills make their way through committee? What is the process for debating, amending, and voting on bills on the floor? Bills are sent to the committees that deal with the subject and committee chairs may then send a bill to a subcommittee. From there it can be ignored and simply die or it can be killed by a majority vote. A committee can completely rewrite a bill, amend it, or recommend that it be adopted as is before sending it back to the House or Senate for action. If the bill survives the committee action, hearings are held. A few lawmakers take part in floor debates, with amendments offered and voted on by whatever members are present (majority vote is needed to amend the bill), and after that the bill is voted upon.

4 What are the final steps for a bill to become a law?
Both houses must approve an identical version of the bill and then it goes to the president. If he or she signs it, it becomes law. If he or she keeps it for 10 days without signing it, and Congress is still in session, it becomes law without the president’s signature, but presidents usually sign the bills.

5 What is the difference between a closed rule and an open rule?
A closed rule forbids members of Congress from offering amendments to a bill from the floor. An open rule permits floor debate and the addition of amendments from the floor.

6 What role does Congress play in raising money
What role does Congress play in raising money? What role does Congress play in spending money? Congress passes the laws that raise and spend money.

7 What is lobbying and why does this term have negative connotations?
Lobbying is attempting to influence Congress to support the preferred legislation of various interest groups. The term lobbying has negative connotations because many former members of Congress often become lobbyists. Congress moved to restrict this practice, as it was thought unethical for former members to use their past friendships and privileges to gain special access. The House of Representatives prohibits former members from making any appearance of communication with the intent to influence the legislative branch for one year after leaving office; the Senate’s ban is two years.

8 Who influences members of Congress
Who influences members of Congress? How do those groups influence Congress? Congress is influenced by congressional staffers, voters, parties, the president, interest groups and political action committees. Voters influence members of Congress with their opinion and needs, which are voiced through s and other forms of communication sent to Congress. A member of Congress is more likely to vote with his or her political party on issues involving economics or social welfare. They also vote with their party on issues in which they do not have a strong opinion about. The President gives speeches and TV appearances to influence public opinion. Interest groups influence the drafting of legislation, offering data and case studies, visiting lawmakers, and advertising.

9 What is pork-barrel legislation?
Pork-barrel legislation is when Congress passes laws to appropriate money for local federal projects.

10 How do members of Congress help their constituents
How do members of Congress help their constituents? How do members of Congress help bring federal projects to their districts and states? Members of Congress listen to and attempt to solve their constituents’ problems with federal agencies. Members of Congress appropriate billions of dollars for local projects through public works bills and they try to make sure their district or states get their fair share of the available federal grants and contracts that are funded through the national budget.

11 What is a blanket primary?
A blanket primary is a primary election in which all candidates are placed on the same ballot, regardless of their party affiliation.

12 What are the powers and organization of state legislative branches?
Legislatures are empowered to pass laws for the state on many topics: crime, education, business regulation, and transportation. Legislatures also check and balance the executive and judicial branches, and in many states, the legislature confirms some executive appointments, has the power to impeach executive and judicial officials, and oversees the work of the state executive agencies and commissions. Most state legislatures are organized as bicameral, like our Congress. Nebraska is a unicameral.

13 How do state legislatures get elected to public office and how do they make bills and pass laws?
State senators and representatives are directly elected by the people in their voting districts. Bills may be drafted by someone who works for the governor or other state executive branch official, or may be suggested by constituents or by representatives of interest groups. If one house passes a bill, it must go through the same process in the other chamber. If the second house changes a bill a conference committee of both houses can meet to draft an acceptable version of the bill. Both houses then vote on this version, and if it is passed, it goes to the governor for signature or veto.

14 How can citizens participate in the political process at the local level?
Citizens can attend local school board meetings or meetings of the county government, and they can give input to local civic groups, neighborhood associations, and citizen advisory groups.

15 How are local governments structured and how do they make laws?
Local governments are structured into five common types: Counties, townships, municipalities, special districts, and tribal governments.

16 What is public policy and how is it made at the state and local levels of government?
Public policy is a plan of action adopted by government decision makers to solve a problem or reach a goal.

17 What public policy issues are addressed by state legislatures?
State legislatures address issues such as voting laws, environment, education, and public safety and corrections.

18 What public policy issues are addressed by local legislatures?
Local legislatures address policy issues such as land use and zoning, transportation/mass transit, and economic development.

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