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Congress If progress is the advancement of society, what is congress?

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1 Congress If progress is the advancement of society, what is congress?

2 Congress US CAPITOL BUILDING Legislative Branch – “makes laws”

3 Founders’ Intentions 1.Strongest branch 2.Separation of lawmaking power from executive 3.Bicameralism balances large/small states House – more connected to people (2 yr term) Senate – allows for independent thinking (6 yr term)

4 Important Differences House 435 members 2 year term 7 year citizen Initiate impeachment Revenue bills Strict debate rules Senate 100 members 6 year term 9 year citizen Tries impeachment Approve presidential appointments Approve treaties’ Loose debate rules

5 The Representatives and Senators The Job –Salary of $145,100 with retirement benefits –Office space in D.C. and at home and staff to fill it. –Travel allowances and franking 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.”

6 Constitutional Powers Article I, Section 8 To lay and collect taxes, duties, imports To borrow money To regulate commerce (states and foreign) To establish rules for naturalization To coin money To create courts (except Supreme Court) To declare war To raise and support an army and navy

7 Evolution of Powers Elastic clause has extended Congress powers Oversight of budget – can restrict the fed. budget prepared by executive branch Appropriations – set amount of money made available for various activity in a fiscal year Investigation – Congress can launch investigations (Watergate, Clinton-Lewinski hearings, Steroids in baseball)



10 Leadership Majority party controls the most significant leadership positions House - Speaker of the House Allows people to speak on floor Assigns bills to committees Influences which bills are brought to a vote Appoints members of special and select committees Senate – Majority Leader Schedules Senate business Prioritizes bills

11 Who’s in Congress? 110 th Congress (2007-2008) 85% male 85% White 40% Lawyers 109 th Congress (2005-2006) 29 accused of spousal abuse 7 have been arrested for fraud 19 arrested for writing bad checks 117 have bankrupted at least 2 businesses 8 have been arrested for shoplifting In 1998 alone, 84 were stopped for drunk driving

12 Elections House members directly elected Senators directly elected after 17 th Amend House Incumbent advantage – Why? –Name recognition –Proven track record –Franking privileges – free mailing

13 Texas Districts

14 Representation Malapportionment – unequal population in districts –Wesberry v. Sanders (1963) – found unequal district pop. unconstitutional – 14 th amend Gerrymandering – district boundaries are redrawn in strange ways to make it easy for candidate of one party to win –Easley v. Cromartie (2001) – redistricting for political ideology was constitutional, led to increase in minority reps

15 12 th District

16 How A Bill Becomes a Law Create legislation, make laws Founders believed in a SLOW process Founders believed efficiency was a trait of an oppressive government

17 Step 1 – Introduce Bill Introduced in Senate or House (except tax) Single or multiple reps can introduce bill

18 Step 2 - Committee 1.Bill is assigned to a particular committee in its category (Ex. Tax bill – Ways and Means Committee, Farm bill – Agriculture Committee) 2.Bill is then placed in sub-committee 3.Bills are debated and “marked up” 4.Most bills die in committee, committee can vote to “report out” a bill

19 Step 3–Rules Committee Before bill can go to floor in House, it must first set time limits and amendment regulations. –Closed rule – sets time limits, restricts amendments –Open rule – permits amendments –Restrictive rule – permits some amendments

20 Step 4 – Floor Debate Senate Debate Less formal, no speaking limit Filibuster – practice of stalling a bill w/ debate Cloture – 3/5 of the Senate vote to stop debate House Debate More formal, no filibuster, strict rules

21 Step 5 - Voting Majority passes If the bill passes, it must go through the same process in the opposite chamber with a sponsor If the bill passes one house and fails the other, it must start over If the Senate and House cannot come to agreement over two versions, it goes to Conference Committee to fix it and resubmit the bill

22 Presidential Action Sign – bill becomes law Veto – bill returns to origin Override – 2/3 vote in both houses can override veto Pocket Veto – President has 10 days to act on a piece of legislation. If he receives the bill within 10 days of the end of the Congressional session, and doesn’t sign, it dies

23 Override

24 Committees and Subcommittees Most real work happens here Bills are passed, changed, ignored, or killed

25 Types of Committees Standing committee – handle bills in different policy areas –(ex. Appropriations, Agriculture, Armed Services, Science, etc.) – most important and have been “standing” (existing) for a long time Select committee – formed for specific purposes and usually temporary – run investigations (ex. Aging, Intelligence)

26 Types of Committees Joint committee – consist of both House and Senate members –similar in purpose to Select committee –Meant to draw attention to issues Conference committee – consist of both House reps and Senators –formed to hammer out differences between House and Senate versions of similar bills Congressional Committees and SubcommitteesCongressional Committees and Subcommittees

27 Committee Membership Controlled by majority party, committee membership divided proportionally Committee Chairman –Senior member of committee –Controls membership and debate

28 Work of Committees 11,000 bills introduced yearly, most die Committees can… –Report out favorably/unfavorably –Pigeonholed/table (do not discuss) –Amend / “mark up” (change or rewrite)

29 Congressional Caucuses Groupings of members pushing for similar interests Ex. – Sunbelt, Northeast-Midwest, Congressional Black, Women’s, Democratic Study Group, Boll Weevils, Steel

30 Criticisms of Congress “Pork” – aka “pork-barrel legislation” – bills to benefit constituents in hope of gaining their votes Logrolling – Congress members exchange votes, bills might pass for frivolous reasons Christmas-tree bill –bill with many riders (pork) –in Senate, no limit exists on amendments, so Senators try to attach riders that will benefit their home state

31 Term-limits Debate No current limit on how many terms members of Congress can serve 1.Some argue this has weakened popular control of Congress, reps might be unresponsive to their constituents 2.Some argue most experienced reps have the expertise to bring home more benefits (pork, riders, etc.)

32 FRQ Is Congress effective in exercising legislative oversight of the federal bureaucracy? Support your answer by doing one of the following: –Explain two specific methods Congress uses to exercise effective oversight of the federal bureaucracy –OR- –Give two specific explanations for the failure of Congress to exercise effective oversight of the federal bureaucracy

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