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Chapter 7 Congress. Constitutional Powers All powers given to Congress can be found in Article I, Section 8 –Lay and collect taxes –Borrow money –Regulate.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 7 Congress. Constitutional Powers All powers given to Congress can be found in Article I, Section 8 –Lay and collect taxes –Borrow money –Regulate."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 7 Congress

2 Constitutional Powers All powers given to Congress can be found in Article I, Section 8 –Lay and collect taxes –Borrow money –Regulate commerce (Commerce clause) –Naturalization rules –Coin money –Create courts inferior to Supreme Court –Declare war –Raise and support an army and navy –Necessary and Proper clause (Art. I Sec. 8 Clause 15)

3 Congressional Checks on Executive and Judicial Branches

4 Congressional Control of President Impeachment –President and/or Vice President Sets Presidential budget Can override a presidential veto with 2/3 vote in both houses Confirmation of Presidential Appointments –Senate confirmation of key members of executive branch and federal courts White House Staff is the exception

5 Congressional Control of Executive Branch/Bureaucracy Confirmation of key bureaucratic heads Appropriations for agencies: can reward or punish agencies with money –Power of the purse: Congress’ power to fund government agencies –Congressional Review Act of 1996: allows Congress to nullify agency regulations by joint resolutions Congressional investigations –Benghazi, Steroids in baseball –Directs relevant agency to investigate the problem

6 Congress and Judiciary Senate confirmation of all federal judges Congress’ constitutional authority to establish size of Supreme Court, number and jurisdiction of lower courts Impeach federal judges Propose constitutional amendments to override judicial decisions

7 Theories of Representation Trustee: Congress member takes the opinions of their constituencies and can be trusted to make the final judgment Delegate: Votes the way their constituents would want them to, regardless of personal opinion

8 Differences between the Senate and the House of Representatives

9 House of Representatives More centralized, hierarchical, less anarchic More formal rules and procedures Party loyalty to leadership and party-line voting more prevalent Highly specialized Speaker appoints committee members Initiates revenue bills House can impeach officials

10 House Rules Committee Most important committee in the House Reviews most bills coming from a house committee before they go to the full House (traffic cop) Gives each bill a “rule”, which schedules the bill on the calendar, allots time for debate, specify what kind of amendments to bill can be offered

11 Senate Less centralized, weaker leadership Less formal rules and procedures; no rule committee Ratifies treaties (2/3) Confirms important presidential nominations (majority) Tries impeached officials (2/3) Party leaders schedule bills

12 Congressional Leadership

13 How Congress is Organized to Make Policy The House –Led by Speaker of the House—elected from majority party by House members –Presides over House –Major role in committee assignments and legislation –Assisted by majority leader and whips The Senate –Formally led by Vice President –Really led by Majority Leader—chosen by party members –Assisted by whips Congressional Leadership

14 Speaker of the House Most important leader in the House –Presides over House Chosen from majority party in the House –Makes committee assignments –Exercises substantial control over which bills get assigned to which committees

15 Committees in Congress

16 Standing committees: Permanent committee in a legislative body to which bills in a specified subject matter area are referred Joint committees: Legislative committee composed of members of both houses (Conference Committee) Conference committees: Temporary joint committee created to reconcile any differences between the two houses’ versions of a bill Select committees: Legislative committee created for a limited time and for some specific purpose; also known as a special committee


18 Some Important House Committees Rules: sets the rules, date, and manner for all bills debated in the house Ways and Means: makes recommendations to the US House on all bills that would raise revenue (tax policy) Appropriations: responsible for setting specific expenditures of money by the government of the United States (funding of government)

19 Important Senate Committees Judiciary: provides oversight of the Department of Justice and the agencies (i.e. FBI, Dept. of Homeland Security), plays an important role in the consideration of nominations

20 Committee Membership Why members want to serve on particular committees: –Interest or expertise –Access to pork: legislation that allows representatives to bring home the bacon to their districts in the form of programs that benefit their districts directly

21 How Members Make Decisions Party: Members tend to vote with their party Constituents: Delegate role Colleagues (logrolling) Interest groups, lobbyists, PACs

22 War Powers Act Passed by Congress in 1973 in response to the Vietnam War Designed to limit the president’s power when deploying troops –Obtain Congressional Approval before committing U.S. forces –Notify Congress within 48 hours –Must remove troops if no war declaration within 60 days

23 Majority Party Importance in Congress

24 Majority Party Advantages Holds committee chairs Controls the Rules Committee Sets the Agenda for House and Senate Controls debate in the House Chooses the Speaker of the House Holds majority on committees Assigns bills to committees –Can make it easier/more difficult for passage

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