Presentation on theme: "The Organization of Congress Institutions of Government #2."— Presentation transcript:
The Organization of Congress Institutions of Government #2
Organization of Senate by Party Vice President of the United States Symbolic “President” of the Senate. Only votes in case of 50-50 tie. Vice President of the United States President Pro Tempore Called the President Pro Temp. Really only starts and ends meetings. No real power. Most senior member of the majority party President Pro Tempore Senate Majority Leader Elected by their fellow party members. Schedules Senate business, often in consultation with Minority Leader. A skilled bargainer may have influence over the outcome of Senate business as well Senate Minority Leader Elected by their fellow party members. Is the leader of the party and keeps them focused on the agenda set by the party. Senate Majority LeaderSenate Minority Leader Senate Majority Whip Elected by their fellow party members. Charged with keeping count of votes and influencing members. Senate Minority Whip Elected by their fellow party members. Charged with keeping count of votes and influencing members. Senate Majority WhipSenate Minority Whip Republican Committee on Committees Committee in charge of organizing committee assignments Democratic Steering Committee Committee in charge of organizing committee assignments
Organization of the House by Party Speaker of the House Elected by the majority party. Has much more control over the House than the Senate leadership has. 1)Decides who gets a chance to speak on the floor 2)Rules on motions made from the floor 3)Influences which Committee a bill is referred to 4)Influences the calendar and which bills are voted upon 5)Appoints members of special and select committees Speaker of the House House Majority Leader Elected by their fellow party members. Has less power than the same position in the Senate due to Speaker’s role House Minority Leader Elected by their fellow party members. Is the leader of the party and keeps them focused on the agenda set by the party. Takes blame for defeats in the House House Majority LeaderHouse Minority Leader House Majority Whip Elected by their fellow party members. Charged with keeping count of votes and influencing members. House Minority Whip Elected by their fellow party members. Charged with keeping count of votes and influencing members. House Majority Whip House Minority Whip Democratic Steering and Policy Committee Chaired by party leadership. In charge of setting legislative agenda and committee assignments Republican Committee on Committees Committee in charge of organizing committee assignments Republican Committee on Committees Republican Policy Committee Sets legislative agenda and schedules.
Differences between Senate and House Senate is less party centered Senate is less leader oriented Senate is more open to freshmen representatives Senate is more heavily staffed Senate changes more by norm than by official rule
Party Voting Measured by how often legislative votes fall along “party lines.” More evident since the 1990s than the 1960s- 1980s. Now more partisan for a different reason than pre-1960s – Then it was due to the greater influence of party leaders who focused on winning elections, keeping power, and dispensing patronage – Now it is due to the ideological splits between representatives.
Why so divided? Congressional Districts – Since the districts are drawn to favor a political party the general elections often don’t matter – In primary elections the more ideological voters turnout to vote. In addition voters may take cues now from representatives and become more partisan
The Committee System Take into account all the areas the Legislative Branch must act on….. Would it be possible for a person to have the depth of knowledge to make reasonable, intelligent decisions on all of these areas? Due to this the Legislative Branch has organized itself into Committees that specialize in different areas of policy Committees are mixed between both parties, with the majority party in the Legislative body having more members per committee
Roles of Committees Consider Bills/Legislative Proposals – Before bills are debated by the full body, they are studied and “marked up” in committee. The committee “reports” it out to the full House or Senate for a vote. – 94% of all bills DIE in committee Conduct Investigations – They look into areas of “concern” that fall under their area of expertise (MLB Steroid Hearings) Oversight of Executive Branch – They investigate the operations and actions of Executive Branch Agencies (“Fast and Furious”, “9/11 commission”)
Types of Committees 1)Standing Committees: Committees that are permanent parts of Congress. 2)Select Committees: Committees assembled for a specific period of time to accomplish a specific task (Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming) 3)Joint Committees: Committees put together that consist of members of both the House and Senate * Conference Committee: A special joint committee put together to hammer out differences between bills passed by the House and the Senate
HOUSE COMMITTEESSENATE COMMITTEES AgricultureAgriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Appropriations Armed Services Banking and Financial ServiceBanking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Budget CommerceCommerce, Science, and Transportation Education and the WorkforceEnergy and Natural Resources Government ReformEnvironment and Public Works House AdministrationFinance International RelationsForeign Relations JudiciaryGovernmental Affairs ResourcesHealth, Education, Labor, and Pensions RulesIndian Affairs ScienceJudiciary Small BusinessRules and Administration Standards of Official ConductSmall Business Transportation and InfrastructureVeterans Affairs Ways and Means
Committee Practices Majority party has majority of seats on the committee and names the chair Assignments – House members serve of two standing committees or one exclusive committee – Senators serve on two “major” committees and one “minor” committee Chairs are elected – Usually the most senior member is elected by the majority party but not always
Committee Practices Changes in Rules over time – 1970s House committee chairs are elected by secret ballot in the party caucus No House member or Senator may chair more than one committee Committee meeting open to public unless a vote was taken to close them – 1995 House gave Chairs ability to select staff members, banned proxy voting, and established term limits Senate imposed term limits and chairmen to be selected by secret ballot.
Policy vs. Constituency Policy-Oriented Members – Attracted to “national” issue committees (Foreign Policy, Finance, etc) – Usually are looking to make a national name for themselves for future career advancement Constituency-Oriented Members – Attracted to issue committees that appeal to local constituency (Small Business, Agriculture, etc) – Usually content in their current position
Organization of Staff and Specialized Offices Jobs of Congressional Staffers – Constituency Service About 1/3 of Staff Members work in the district All members have one full time district office – Legislative Functions Devising proposals Negotiating Agreements Organizing Hearings Meeting with Lobbyists – Serve as advocates for the Congress member Results of Larger staff – More legislative work in the chamber – More individualistic Congress
Specialized Offices Work for Congress as a whole to provide specialized knowledge – Congressional Research Service (CRS) – General Accounting Office (GAO) – Congressional Budget Office (CBO)