2 House of Representatives The BasicsHouse of RepresentativesAge _____Membership size _____Residence req. _____Citizenship req. _____Term Length _____Constituents _____Leader ______SenateAge _____Membership size _____Residence req. _____Citizenship req. _____Term Length _____Constituents _____Leader _____
3 The Representatives and Senators The JobSalary of $169,300 with retirement benefits27th amendment, 1992Speaker of the House $217,400President Pro Tempore & Maj/Min Leaders $188,100Office space in D.C. and at home and staff to fill it.Travel allowances, pensions, and mail privileges.Committee MembershipsBut, 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.”Is this a lot of Money?
4 Congressional Elections The Advantages of IncumbentsAdvertising: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.
5 Congressional Elections The Advantages of IncumbentsPosition 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.
6 Congressional Elections The Role of Party IdentificationMost members represent the majority party in their district.Defeating IncumbentsSome 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.Ted Stevens?
10 How Congress is Organized to Make Policy The Committees and SubcommitteesFour types of committees:Standing committees: subject matter committees handle different policy areas.Joint committees: few policy areas- made up of House & Senate members. (economy and taxation)Conference committees: resolve differences in House and Senate bills.Select committees: created for a specific purpose.
11 How Congress is Organized to Make Policy The Committees and SubcommitteesThe Committees at Work: Legislation and OversightCommittees work on the 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.
12 How Congress is Organized to Make Policy The Committees and SubcommitteesGetting on a CommitteeMembers want to get on the right committee, to get them reelected and gain influenceNew members express their committee preferences to the party leaders.Support of the party is important in getting on the right committee.Parties try and grant committee assignments.
13 How Congress is Organized to Make Policy The Committees and SubcommitteesGetting Ahead on the Committee: Chairs and the Seniority System.The chair is the most important position for controlling legislation.Chairs used to be chosen strictly by seniority.Now seniority is a general rule, and members may choose the chair of their committee.
14 How Congress is Organized to Make Policy Caucuses: The Informal Organization of CongressCaucus: A group of members of Congress sharing some interest or characteristic.Caucuses pressure for committee meetings and hearings and for votes on bills.Congressional Special Interest Groups
15 How Congress is Organized to Make Policy Congressional StaffPersonal 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.
16 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.HouseHouse Rules Committee1 hour speaking limit, no ramblingSenateNo time limitFilibuster
17 The Congressional Process Presidents and Congress: Partners and ProtagonistsPresidents have many resources to influence CongressPresidents have the power of veto to ultimately influence legislation. (10 day rule and pocket veto)
18 The Congressional Process Party, Constituency, and IdeologyParty 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.
19 The Congressional Process Lobbyists and Interest GroupsThere 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, it is a combination of lobbyists and others that influence members of Congress.