Presentation on theme: "The Legislative Branch: Congress. The Evolution of Congress Intent of Framers Congress generally dominant over the presidency for more than 140 years."— Presentation transcript:
Who is in Congress? Requirements – Senate – 30 years old, a citizen for 9 years and a resident of the state; House of Representatives – 25 years old, a citizen for 7 years and a resident of the district he or she represents. Years of service – No terms limits, thus the “incumbency effect” Party Affiliation Sex, race, religion?
According to C-Span’s “Membership of the 111 th Congress: A Profile” “The average age of Members of both Houses of Congress at the convening of the 111th Congress is 58.2 years; of Members of the House, 57.0 years; and of Senators, 63.1 years. The overwhelming majority of Members have a college education. The dominant professions of Members are public service/politics, business, and law. Protestants collectively constitute the majority religious affiliation of Members. Roman Catholics account for the largest single religious denomination, and numerous other affiliations are represented.” “A record number of 95 women serve in the 111th Congress: 78 in the House, 17 in the Senate. There are 41 African American Members of the House and none in the Senate. This number includes two Delegates. There are 31 Hispanic or Latino Members serving: 28 in the House, including the Resident Commissioner, and three in the Senate. Eleven Members (seven Representatives, two Delegates, and two Senators) are Asian or Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander. The only American Indian (Native American) serves in the House.”
112 th Congress The average age of Members of the House at the beginning of the 112th Congress was 56.7 years; and of Senators, 62.2 years. The overwhelming majority of Members have a college education. The dominant professions of Members are public service/politics, business, and law. Protestants collectively constitute the majority religious affiliation of Members. Roman Catholics account for the largest single religious denomination, and numerous other affiliations are represented Ninety-one women serve in the 112th Congress: 74 in the House, including 3 Delegates, and 17 in the Senate. There are 44 African American Members of the House (a record number) and none in the Senate. This House number includes two Delegates. There are 28 Hispanic or Latino Members serving: 26 in the House, including the Resident Commissioner, and 2 in the Senate. Thirteen Members (nine Representatives, two Delegates, and two Senators) are Asian or Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander. The only American Indian (Native American) serves in the House. Source: www.Senate.gov
Getting Elected Representatives elected from single member districts Senators serve six year terms and Representatives serve two year terms. One-third of the senators are up for re-election every two years, making the Senate a continuous body. Problem of drawing district boundaries (gerrymandering) Congress decides size of the House of Representatives– reapportioned every 10 years The “incumbency effect” occurs due to name recognition, casework for constituents, media exposure, experience, voting records. No term limits.
Organization of Congress Senate leaders are the majority leader and the minority leader. The Vice President is the President of the Senate. The Speaker of the House is the leader of the House of Representatives. Party whips keep leaders informed Senate Policy Committee gives senators committee assignments House Rules committee – controlled by the Speaker of the House Party of majority controls all committee chairs and majority members of every committee
Types of Committees Standing Committees, Select Committees, Joint Committees, Joint Conference Committees The Senate has 20 committees, 68 subcommittees and four joint committees including Foreign Relations, Armed Services, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (see www.senate.gov for full listing and specific information.) www.senate.gov The House of Representatives has 22 committees and more than 100 subcommittees including Agriculture, Education and Labor, Rules, Science and Technology and Ways and Means (see www.House.gov for full listing and specific information.)www.House.gov
Roles and Privileges of Members of Congress Roles: Policymaker Representative (Delegate or Trustee?) Constituent Servant Committee Member Politician/Party Member Privileges: Offices and staff Travel allowances Franking privilege Immunity from certain charges
Congressional Powers Delegated Powers: Article I, Section 8 - tax, defend, borrow money, regulate commerce, raise and regulate an army, declare war Implied Powers: Article I, Section 8, Clause 18, Necessary and Proper Clause, Elastic Clause The Senate has the power to confirm presidential nominations such as Supreme Court justices, ambassadors, federal judges, ratify treaties and hold impeachment trials. All revenue bills (raising taxes) must start in the House. Congress can also override a presidential veto and initiate amendments. Oversight Power
How a Bill Becomes a Law http://bensguide.gpo.gov/9-12/lawmaking/index.html When debating a bill, the Senate may use the filibuster, but the House debate is limited. The Rule of Cloture ends a filibuster.
Legislative Tactics Caucuses The Committee System Filibuster and cloture Pork Barrel Legislation Logrolling Riders Amendments Lobbying Legislative veto (used between 1932 and 1980, but declared unconstitutional in 1983.
Influences on Lawmakers Ideology Colleagues Staff Party President Constituents Lobbyists and Special Interest Groups