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Overview Structure Organization Functions Legislative Process Representation Reapportionment and Redistricting Gerrymandering Elections/Demographics/Democracy Structure Congress Senate House of Representatives Structure Congress Senate House of Representatives 435 members

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overview
Overview
  • Structure
  • Organization
  • Functions
    • Legislative Process
    • Representation
      • Reapportionment and Redistricting
      • Gerrymandering
  • Elections/Demographics/Democracy
structure
Structure

Congress

Senate

House of Representatives

structure4
Structure

Congress

Senate

House of Representatives

435 members

2 year term

local districts

100 members

6 year term

state

structure5
Structure

Congress

Senate

House of Representatives

Must be 30 years oldUS citizen for 9 yearsResident of state

Must be 25 years oldUS citizen for 7 yearsResident of state

demographics
Demographics

Congress

Senate(100)

House of Representatives (435)

56 Democratic

41 Republicans

2 Independents

1 race undecided yet

257 Democratic

178 Republican

demographics7
Demographics

Congress

Senate(100)

House of Representatives (435)

83 Men

17 Women*

*Highest total ever

360 Men

75 Women

demographics8
Demographics

Congress

Senate(100)

House of Representatives (435)

94 White

1 Black

3 Hispanic

2 Asian

364 White42 Black25 Hispanic4 Asian

demographics9
Demographics

Congress

Senate(100)

House of Representatives (435)

Average Age: 62

Average age: 57

powers
Powers

Congress

Senate

House of Representatives

Convict federal officals for

impeachable offenses

Advise and Consent role on

presidential powers

Impeach federal officals

Originates all revenue raising bills

procedures
Procedures

Congress

Senate

House of Representatives

Fewer rules and restrictions

More individualistic

More formal rules

More partisan

prestige
Prestige

Congress

Senate

House of Representatives

Greater national leadership

More national media exposure

More local/regional power base

More local media exposure

organization
Organization
  • Both chambers rely on two overlapping organizational features to get work done:
    • The Party System
    • The Committee System
organization14
Organization
  • Parties determine leadership in both chambers
  • Leadership determines committee structure and assignments
party system in house
Majority Elects

Speaker

Leader

Whips

Minority Elects

Leader

Whips

Party System in House

Nancy Pelosi(D, CA)

John Boehner

(R, OH)

Official House Leadership Webpages:

http://www.house.gov/house/orgs_pub_hse_ldr_www.shtmlCampaign Finance of Leadership

http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/index.asp

party system in senate
Majority elects:

President Pro Tempore

Leader

Whips

Minority Elects

Leader

Whips

Party System in Senate

President of the Senate

(Vice President)

Robert Byrd (D, VA)

Harry Reid(D, NV)

Mitch McConnell (R, KY)

Official Senate Leadership Webpages:http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/senators/a_three_sections_with_teasers/leadership.htmCampaign Finance of Leadershiphttp://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/index.asp

party in congress
Party in Congress
  • Over the past 20 years we have seen a marked increase in partisan divide in Congress
  • Party unity scores (the number of times that members of party vote with other members of the party) have increased dramatically
  • Bipartisan agreements are more difficult to obtain (e.g., stimulus package vote)
committee system
Committee System
  • Three (3) types of committees
    • Standing
    • Select
    • Joint
committee system19
Committee System
  • Three (3) types of committees
    • Standing
      • Semi-Permanent (they can be changed, but rarely are) committees in House and Senate devoted to relatively narrow area of public policy

links: http://www.house.gov/house/CommitteeWWW.shtmlhttp://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/committees/d_three_sections_with_teasers/committees_home.htm

committee system20
Committee System
  • Three (3) types of committees
    • Select
      • Temporary committee established for a limited time period and for a specific purpose
        • House select committeeshttp://www.house.gov/house/CommitteeWWW.shtml
        • Senate select committeeshttp://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/committees/d_three_sections_with_teasers/committees_home.htm
committee system21
Committee System
  • Three (3) types of committees
    • Joint
      • Legislative committee composed of members of both chambers of Congress
      • Most common is the “Conference Committee” which reconciles competing House and Senate versions of a bill
functions of congress
Functions of Congress
  • Lawmaking
  • Representation
  • Constituent Service
  • Oversight
  • Public Education
  • Conflict Resolution
functions of congress23
Functions of Congress
  • Lawmaking
    • Enumerated Powers (most are in Article I, section 8)
    • Implied powers of “necessary and proper” clause
legislative process
Legislative Process
  • Click here for a quick video description of the legislative process

link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dVo3nbLYC0

representation
Representation
  • Basic Theories of Representation
    • Delegate: Elected official attempts to determine as best as possible the views of the electorate and vote accordingly
representation27
Representation
  • Trustee: Elected official attempts to determine what is in the best interest of the electorate and vote accordingly
representation28
Representation
  • Politico: Combination of the preceding two
representation29
Representation
  • Representation in the House requires states to divide themselves into legislative districts, based on a number determined by the state’s population
    • Each state required (Art. I, clause 3) to have at least one (1) representative
reapportionment
Reapportionment
  • Up through 1910 census, size of the House membership expanded as the population expanded
  • 1911 Congress capped the membership at 435, so since 1920 census Congress must reapportion seats among the states to reflect shifts in population growth rates
redistricting
Redistricting
  • Redrawing legislative districts within states to reflect population shifts and reapportionment results
  • Occurs every 10 years, after the decennial census
  • Next census is 2010
  • Districts are drawn according to state government plans (some states use the legislature, some use special “commissions”
gerrymander
Gerrymander
  • Drawing congressional districts for partisan advantage
gerrymander33
Gerrymander

3

1

4

2

Packing

gerrymander34
Gerrymander

4

1

3

2

Cracking

redistricting35
Redistricting
  • Since the 1960s though, districts are required to contain roughly the same number of people
    • Baker v. Carr (1964)
    • Wesberry v. Sanders (1964)
    • Drawing gerrymandered districts is more difficult now than it was, but it can still be done
elections
Elections
  • Impact of districting:
    • fewer “competitive” seats
      • 2008 New Jersey datahttp://www.opensecrets.org/states/election.asp?State=NJ&year=2006
    • higher re-election rates for incumbents
      • see chart in text for data from 1946 through the 2004 election
      • 2008 results: 95.3% of incumbents reelected
elections37
Elections
  • Other factors contributing to incumbent advantage:
    • Fundraising
      • Check the Center for Responsive Politics website for the spending differentials among challengers and incumbents

http://www.opensecrets.org/races/index.asp

elections38
Elections
  • Other factors contributing to incumbent advantage
    • Name recognition among electorate
    • Easier access to media
    • Easier access to electorate
      • “franking” privilege
useful links
Useful Links
  • Overview of the Legislative Process:http://thomas.loc.gov/home/lawsmade.toc.html
  • Rules of the 110th Congress (House)http://www.rules.house.gov/ruleprec/house_rules.htm
  • Process in the Senate Legislativehttp://thomas.loc.gov/home/enactment/enactlawtoc.html