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Splash Screen. Chapter Focus Section 1 How a Bill Becomes a Law Section 2 Taxing and Spending Bills Section 3 Influencing Congress Section 4 Helping Constituents Chapter Assessment. Contents. Why It’s Important. Chapter Objectives.

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Chapter Focus

Section 1 How a Bill Becomes a Law

Section 2 Taxing and Spending Bills

Section 3 Influencing Congress

Section 4 Helping Constituents

Chapter Assessment

chapter objectives

Chapter Objectives

  • How a Bill Becomes a Law Explain the process by which federal legislation is proposed, reviewed, and enacted.
  • Taxing and Spending Bills Analyze the power of Congress to raise and spend money through tax laws and appropriations bills.
  • Influencing Congress Identify factors that often influence members of Congress.
  • Helping Constituents Explain how members of Congress help voters in their state of district.
Chapter Objectives
section 1 introduction 1

How a Bill Becomes a Law

  • Key Terms
  • private bill, public bill, simple resolution, rider, hearing, veto, pocket veto

Find Out

• Why is it easier to defeat legislation than to pass it?

• What are the positive and negative implications of the lengthy process through which all bills must go before becoming laws?

Section 1 Introduction-1
section 1 introduction 2

How a Bill Becomes a Law

  • Understanding Concepts
  • Political ProcessesWhy does it take so long for Congress to pass legislation?

Section Objective

Explain how federal legislation is proposed, reviewed, and enacted.

Section 1 Introduction-2
section 1 1
One important bill was passed in a single day. In March 1933, on his first day in office, President Franklin D. Roosevelt drafted a bill closing the nation’s banks to prevent their collapse. The Senate and House both debated and passed the bill, and President Roosevelt signed it into law that evening. Section 1-1
section 1 2

I. Types of Bills and Resolutions (pages 181–183)

  • A. Public bills involve national issues; private bills deal with individual people or places.

B. Resolutions may be passed by either house or by both houses jointly.

C. Both houses pass concurrent resolutions, which do not have the force of law.

D. A rider is a provision attached to a bill on an unrelated subject.

Section 1-2
section 1 21

I. Types of Bills and Resolutions (pages 181–183)

  • E. Only a few bills become laws because:

1. the process is long and complex;

2. measures must have broad support;

3. supportersmustbewillingtocompromise;

4. many bills are introduced that have no chance of passing.

Section 1-2
section 1 3

I. Types of Bills and Resolutions (pages 181–183)

Why might a major public bill require months to move through Congress?

Many major public bills deal with controversial issues and may be debated for months.

Section 1-3
section 1 4

II. Introducing a Bill (pages 183–186)

  • A. Introducing a new bill in Congress is the first step in the lawmaking process.

B. New bills are sent to committees and sometimes subcommittees.

C. Both houses usually agree with the committees’ decision on a bill.

D. If a committee decides to act on a bill, it holds hearings on it.

E. When a committee hearing is complete, committee members review the bill line by line and make changes in it by a majority vote.

Section 1-4
section 1 5

II. Introducing a Bill (pages 183–186)

  • F. The committee kills or reports the bill to the House or Senate, sending with the bill a written report that describes the bill, explains the committee’s actions, lists the committee’s changes, and recommends passage or defeat.
Section 1-5
section 1 6

II. Introducing a Bill (pages 183–186)

Why do congressional committees play such a key role in bills after they are introduced?

Committee members have authority because they are considered experts on the bills they receive.

Section 1-6
section 1 7

III. Floor Action (pages 186–187)

  • A. During debate any lawmaker may offer amendments.

B. The bill, including proposed changes, must receive a majority vote in both the House and Senate to pass.

C. Congress may use standing, roll-call, record, or voice votes.

Section 1-7
section 1 8

III. Floor Action (pages 186–187)

How may bills be changed during floor debates in each house?

Amendments may be added.

Section 1-8
section 1 9

IV. Final Steps in Passing Bills (pages 187–188)

  • A. To become a law, a bill must pass in identical form in both houses; conference committees work out differences when necessary, and send a compromise bill to each house of Congress for final action.

B. The president may then let the bill become law by signing it or keeping it 10 days without signing it, or kill it using a veto or pocket veto.

C. Congress can override a presidential veto by a two-thirds vote in each house.

Section 1-9
section 1 10

IV. Final Steps in Passing Bills (pages 187–188)

  • D. The line-item veto was challenged in the Supreme Court and declared unconstitutional.

E. After a bill becomes a law, it is registered with the National Archives and Records Service.

F. Citizens can track legislation using an online information resource called THOMAS.

Section 1-10
section 1 12

IV. Final Steps in Passing Bills (pages 187–188)

Do you believe the president’s line-item veto is constitutional? Explain.

Answers will vary. Students should demonstrate understanding of legislative powers.

Section 1-12
section 1 assessment 1

Checking for Understanding

  • 1. Main Idea Create a flow chart to analyze the major stages by which a bill becomes a law. Which stage do you think takes the longest?

Introduced, Committee action, Floor action, Conference action, Sent to president. Answers will vary. Students may suggest the committee step is the longest step because of hearings that may take place regarding the bill.

Section 1 Assessment-1
section 1 assessment 2

Checking for Understanding

  • A. when a president kills a bill passed during the last 10 days Congress is in session by simply refusing to act on it
  • B. a statement adopted to cover matters affecting only one house of Congress
  • C. a provision included in a bill on a subject other than the one covered in the bill
  • D. rejection of a bill
  • E. a bill dealing with general matters and applying to the entire nation
  • F. a bill dealing with individual people or places

Match the term with the correct definition.

___ private bill

___ public bill

___ simple resolution

___ rider

___ pocket veto

___ veto







Section 1 Assessment-2
section 1 assessment 3

Checking for Understanding

  • 3. Identify voice vote, standing vote, roll-call vote.

A voice vote occurs when a bill is voted upon and members together call out “Aye” or “No.”

A standing vote, or division vote, occurs when those in favor of the bill stand and are counted and then those opposed stand and are counted.

A roll-call vote is a voting method in which everyone responds “Aye” or “No” as their names are called in alphabetical order.

Section 1 Assessment-3
section 1 assessment 4

Checking for Understanding

  • 4. Why do so few bills actually become laws?

The process provides opportunities to kill a bill. Many bills are introduced that have little chance of becoming law.

Section 1 Assessment-4
section 1 assessment 5

Critical Thinking

  • 5. Drawing Conclusions Is it possible for all members of Congress to keep abreast of all bills under consideration? Support your answer.

Possible answer: Because the task is impossible single-handedly, Congress has the subcommittee system, aides, party leaders, and so on.

Section 1 Assessment-5
section 1 concepts in action
Political Processes Imagine that you are asked to help younger children learn how laws are made in the United States. Create a poster, using cartoonlike illustrations, to show how a bill becomes a law. Section 1 Concepts in Action
section 2 introduction 1

Taxing and Spending Bills

  • Key Terms
  • tax, closed rule, appropriation, authorization bill, entitlement

Find Out

• What authority does Congress have over how the national government will raise and spend money?

• What is the procedure whereby Congress provides money to the executive agencies and departments?

Section 2 Introduction-1
section 2 introduction 2

Taxing and Spending Bills

  • Understanding Concepts
  • Public PolicyWhen Congress votes to begin a government program, what process is followed to fund that program?

Section Objective

Analyze the ways in which Congress raises and spends money.

Section 2 Introduction-2
section 2 1
Members of Congress often promote spending bills that benefit their district or state. For example, in 1997 Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama added a measure to the House appropriations bill to spend $3 million for fertilizer research in Alabama. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas added a bill to build a new commuter lane on a bridge in El Paso. Both senators were important members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and their efforts were successful. Section 2-1
section 2 2

I. MakingDecisionsAboutTaxes(pages 189–190)

  • A. The House of Representatives has exclusive power to start all revenue bills, and all important work on tax laws occurs in the House Ways and Means Committee.

B. Until the 1970s the closed rule forbade members of Congress from amending tax bills from the floor of the House; members felt tax bills were too complicated and in too much danger of being amended under pressure from special-interest groups to allow such changes.

Section 2-2
section 2 3

I. MakingDecisionsAboutTaxes(pages 189–190)

  • C. In 1973 the House revolted against the powerful Ways and Means Committee and its chairperson to do away with the closed rule; critics charge that doing away with this rule has allowed tax bills to become a collection of amendments favoring special interests.

D. The Senate may propose changes in tax bills, and the Senate Committee on Finance has primary responsibility for tax matters.

Section 2-3
section 2 4

I. MakingDecisionsAboutTaxes(pages 189–190)

Compare the role of the House Ways and Means Committee in tax legislation before the 1970s with the role it plays today.

See discussion of changes in closed-rule procedure on text page 190.

Section 2-4
section 2 5

II. Appropriating Money (pages 191–192)

  • A. Congress has the power of appropriation, or approval of government spending.

B. Congress uses a two-step procedure in appropriating money:

1. an authorization bill, setting up a federal program and specifying how much money may be spent on it;

2. an appropriations bill, providing the money needed to carry out the program or law.

C. In each house of Congress, an appropriations committee and its subcommittees handle appropriations bills.

Section 2-5
section 2 6

II. Appropriating Money (pages 191–192)

  • D. Appropriations subcommittees may develop close relationships with certain agencies and projects for which they appropriate funds.

E. Powerful interest groups try to influence appropriations subcommittees to give the agencies all the money they request.

F. Most of the money the federal government spends each year is for uncontrollable expenditures.

Section 2-6
section 2 7

II. Appropriating Money (pages 191–192)

Why are certain expenditures such as social security given long-term spending authority?

Government entitlement programs must be honored from year to year.

Section 2-7
section 2 assessment 1

Checking for Understanding

  • 1. Main Idea Using a graphic organizer like the one below, show the two-step procedure that Congress follows when appropriating money.

1. authorization bill

2. appropriations bill

Section 2 Assessment-1
section 2 assessment 2

Checking for Understanding

  • A. forbids members of Congress to offer amendments to a bill from the floor
  • B. a required government expenditure that continues from one year to the next
  • C. sets up a federal program and specifies how much money may be appropriated for the program
  • D. money that people and businesses pay to support the activities of the government
  • E. approval of government spending

Match the term with the correct definition.

___ tax

___ closed rule

___ appropriation

___ authorization bill

___ entitlement






Section 2 Assessment-2
section 2 assessment 3

Checking for Understanding

  • 3. Identify Ways and Means Committee, HUD.

The Ways and Means Committee is a House committee where almost all important work on tax laws occurs. They decide whether to go along with presidential requests for tax cuts or increases.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, is a federal government agency whose mission is to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination.

Section 2 Assessment-3
section 2 assessment 4

Checking for Understanding

  • 4. What control does the House Ways and Means Committee exert over presidential requests for changes in tax laws?

It decides whether to go along with presidential requests for tax cuts or increases.

Section 2 Assessment-4
section 2 assessment 5

Critical Thinking

  • 5. Synthesizing Information Do you think Congress should have the power both to raise and to spend money? Support your answer.

Answers will vary. Students who agree may suggest that the checks and balances provided are sufficient to prevent abuse of the power, and that Congress, as the branch of government closest to the people, is perhaps the most appropriate body to make those decisions.

Section 2 Assessment-5
section 2 concepts in action
Public Policy Using the library or the Internet, research the major categories of revenue and expenditure in the current federal budget. Find out what amounts of money the government plans to raise and spend in each category. Create an illustrated report or series of graphs and charts.Section 2 Concepts in Action
section 3 introduction 1

Influencing Congress

  • Key Terms
  • lobbyist, lobbying

Find Out

• How closely should the votes of members of Congress reflect the opinions of their constituents?

• What factors must a member of Congress weigh when deciding whether to support the views of an interest group or of the president?

Section 3 Introduction-1
section 3 introduction 2

Influencing Congress

  • Understanding Concepts
  • Political ProcessesWhat specific groups and individuals influence the legislators’ decisions?

Section Objective

Identify factors that often influence members of Congress.

Section 3 Introduction-2
section 3 1
Lobbyists representing interest groups may have gotten their name from favor-seekers operating in the New York state legislature. As early as the 1820s, those favor-seekers sought out New York lawmakers in the “lobby”—the corridor or other parts of the state capital building at Albany—seeking to influence legislators’ votes. Since that time, lobbyists have become one of the most powerful influences on governments. Section 3-1
section 3 2

I. Influences on Lawmakers (page 194)

  • A. Lawmakers’ views on decisions are seldom based on individual conscience.

B. Voters back home, lawmakers’ staff members, lawmakers’ own political parties, the president, and special-interest groups all influence lawmakers’ views.

Section 3-2
section 3 3

I. Influences on Lawmakers (page 194)

Why do members of Congress consider other factors and not just cast their votes according to their own views on proposed bills?

Lawmakers want to serve their constituents, be reelected, and support their party or president.

Section 3-3
section 3 4

II. The Influence of Voters (pages 195–196)

  • A. Lawmakers are heavily influenced by the needs and opinions of their constituents.

B. Lawmakers stay informed of voters’ attitudes and needs by making frequent trips back home, by reading messages from home, by questionnaires, and by reports from their staff in their home district.

Section 3-4
section 3 5

II. The Influence of Voters (pages 195–196)

What influence do voters back home have on lawmakers’ decisions on legislation?

On issues that affect their constituents’ daily lives, lawmakers generally listen to voters’ preferences.

Section 3-5
section 3 6

III. The Influence of Parties (pages 196–197)

  • A. Nearly all members of Congress belong to one of the two major political parties and generally support their own party’s stands on legislation.

B. House members support their parties more strongly than do Senate members, but the issues themselves also determine whether members follow their party leaders’ agenda.

C. Members of Congress usually support their party because party members usually share the same general political beliefs.

Section 3-6
section 3 7

III. The Influence of Parties (pages 196–197)

What might happen when lawmakers do not vote with their own political party on an important bill?

Answers will vary. Students should consider the value of party membership to a lawmaker.

Section 3-7
section 3 8

IV. Other Influences on Congress (pages 197–198)

  • A. Presidents work hard to persuade lawmakers to support laws they want passed and give or withhold political favors to secure lawmakers’ support.

B. Interest groups and their lobbyists represent various interests, including labor and business groups, education and environmental organizations, and minority groups.

C. Political action committees (PACs) are political fund-raising organizations that give their funds to support lawmakers who favor the PAC’s position.

Section 3-8
section 3 9

IV. Other Influences on Congress (pages 197–198)

Do you think lobbyists are beneficial or detrimental to the lawmaking process in Congress? Explain.

Answers will vary. See lobbyists’ influence on text page 198.

Section 3-9
section 3 assessment 1

Checking for Understanding

  • 1. Main Idea Using a graphic organizer like the one below, identify four ways lawmakers can keep in touch with voters’ opinions.

Answers might include: 1. trips home; 2. screening mail; 3. questionnaires; 4. opinion surveys

Section 3 Assessment-1
section 3 assessment 2

Checking for Understanding

Fill in the blank with the correct term.


1. A(n) ________ is an interest group representative.

2. ________ is direct contact made by a lobbyist in order to persuade government officials to support the policies their interest group favors.


Section 3 Assessment-2
section 3 assessment 3

Checking for Understanding

  • 3. Identify PAC.

A PAC, or Political Action Committee, is a political fund-raising organization established by a corporation, labor union, or other special-interest groups who use their funds to support lawmakers who favor the PAC’s position on issues.

Section 3 Assessment-3
section 3 assessment 4

Checking for Understanding

  • 4. On which type of issues do lawmakers tend to pay less attention to voter opinion?

Lawmakers tend to pay less attention to issues in which voters have less information or interest.

Section 3 Assessment-4
section 3 assessment 5

Checking for Understanding

  • 5. What influence does the president have on Congress?

Presidents can use the media to rally public opinion for or against a policy. They can also grant or withhold support for projects important to a lawmaker’s constituents.

Section 3 Assessment-5
section 3 assessment 6

Critical Thinking

  • 6. Making Inferences Why do some people think that PACs now have more influence over members of Congress and the process of congressional legislation than do individual lobbyists?

PACs often are better organized and better funded than individual lobbyists.

Section 3 Assessment-6
section 3 concepts in action
Political Processes Contact a special-interest group to request literature on the group’s purpose and activities. Summarize how the group attempts to influence legislators. Post the literature and summary on a bulletin-board display.Section 3 Concepts in Action
section 4 introduction 1

Helping Constituents

  • Key Terms
  • casework, pork-barrel legislation, logrolling

Find Out

• Why do legislators spend much of their time helping their constituents?

• How do the organization and methods of Congress contribute to pork-barrel legislation?

Section 4 Introduction-1
section 4 introduction 2

Helping Constituents

  • Understanding Concepts
  • FederalismHow does the need to weigh the interests of their constituents affect national policy decisions by members of Congress?

Section Objective

Explain how members of Congress help voters in their state or district.

Section 4 Introduction-2
section 4 1
Critics say that the “pork” in “pork-barrel legislation” is used to “grease” the wheels of government. By that, they mean that when Congress appropriates millions of dollars for local projects, such as hydroelectric dams, environmental cleanup programs, and mass transit projects, it does so for two reasons: to help districts and states provide services and, just as important, to improve their own chances of being reelected. Section 4-1
section 4 2

I. Handling Problems (pages 200–201)

  • A. Lawmakers in both houses must deal with their constituents’ problems and needs involving government.

B. Caseworkers on lawmakers’ staffs help them deal with voters’ requests for help.

C. Lawmakers spend a great deal of time on casework because responding to voters helps them get reelected, casework brings problems with federal programs to lawmakers’ attention, and caseworkers help citizens cope with the huge national government.

Section 4-2
section 4 3

I. Handling Problems (pages 200–201)

How much of their time should members of Congress spend handling the problems of their constituents? Explain.

Answers will vary. See discussion of casework on text page 201.

Section 4-3
section 4 4

II. Helping the District or State (pages 201–203)

  • A. Lawmakers bring federal projects and money to their districts and states through pork-barrel legislation, federal grants and contracts, and keeping federal projects.

B. Congress appropriates billions of dollars for local projects that can bring funds and jobs to districts and states; these appropriations for local projects are sometimes called “pork-barrel legislation.”

Section 4-4
section 4 5

II. Helping the District or State (pages 201–203)

  • C. Lawmakers also try hard to obtain federal grants and contracts for their districts and states, working closely with executive department agencies that award those grants and contracts.

D. Although lawmakers do not have direct control over funds for grants and contracts, they may try to influence how these are awarded. They may pressure agency officials to grant their state favorable hearings, urge constituents to contact agency officials, and assign staff members to help constituents apply for grants and solve any special problems.

Section 4-5
section 4 6

II. Helping the District or State (pages 201–203)

Do you think members of Congress should spend much time obtaining federal projects and federal grants and contracts for their districts and states? Explain.

Answers will vary, but should demonstrate an understanding of the pressure to win projects, grants, and contracts for their home districts.

Section 4-6
section 4 assessment 1

Checking for Understanding

  • 1. Main Idea Using a graphic organizer like the one below, explain how allocation of grants and contracts is different from pork-barrel legislation.

Grants/contracts: lawmakers appeal to agencies of the executive branch. Pork barrel: Congress appropriates money.

Section 4 Assessment-1
section 4 assessment 2

Checking for Understanding

  • A. an agreement by two or more lawmakers to support each other’s bills
  • B. laws passed by Congress that appropriate money for local federal projects
  • C. work that a lawmaker does to help constituents with problems

Match the term with the correct definition.

___ casework

___ pork-barrel legislation

___ logrolling




Section 4 Assessment-2
section 4 assessment 3

Checking for Understanding

  • 3. Identify caseworker, public works bill.

A caseworker is a member of a lawmaker’s personal staff who handles requests for help from constituents.

A public works bill is a bill in which Congress appropriates money for local projects.

Section 4 Assessment-3
section 4 assessment 4

Checking for Understanding

  • 4. Why do lawmakers get involved in casework?

Casework helps lawmakers get reelected, allows Congress to oversee the executive branch, and provides a way for the average citizen to cope with the huge national government.

Section 4 Assessment-4
section 4 assessment 5

Checking for Understanding

  • 5. List three ways lawmakers bring federal projects to their states.

Lawmakers bring federal projects to their states through pork-barrel legislation, federal grants and contracts, and keeping federal projects.

Section 4 Assessment-5
section 4 assessment 6

Checking for Understanding

  • 6. Which branch of government awards federal grants and contracts?

The executive branch awards federal grants and contracts.

Section 4 Assessment-6
section 4 assessment 7

Critical Thinking

  • 7. Drawing Conclusions Why do you think the size of the lawmakers’ staff has increased in recent years?

Answers include keeping up with growing federal agencies and a complicated bureaucracy.

Section 4 Assessment-7
section 4 concepts in action
Federalism Look through several editions of your local paper to find examples of federal money spent in your state or community. Present your findings in the form of a radio news broadcast. Your broadcast should explain how the pork-barrel legislation benefited your state or local community.Section 4 Concepts in Action
chapter assessment 2

Reviewing Key Terms

Fill in the blank with the correct term or concept listed below.

tax closed rulerider authorization billshearing entitlementspocket veto caseworklobbyist pork-barrel legislation

1. A(n) ___________________ is money that citizens and businesses pay to support the government.

2. ___________________ is a congressional task that involves helping constituents with problems.

3. A(n) ___________________ is an often controversial provision tacked on to a bill pertaining to a different subject.




Chapter Assessment 2
chapter assessment 3

Reviewing Key Terms

Fill in the blank with the correct term or concept listed below.

tax closed rulerider authorization billshearing entitlementspocket veto caseworklobbyist pork-barrel legislation

4. Interest on the national debt and Social Security payments are examples of ___________________.

5. A person who represents a special-interest group to Congress and other government officials is known as a(n) ___________________.

6. Witnesses usually offer testimony in a committee ___________________ regarding a specific bill.




Chapter Assessment 3
chapter assessment 4

Reviewing Key Terms

Fill in the blank with the correct term or concept listed below.

tax closed rulerider authorization billshearing entitlementspocket veto caseworklobbyist pork-barrel legislation

7. Under a(n) ___________________, House members were forbidden to offer amendments to tax bills from the floor.

8. ___________________ is when Congress passes laws to appropriate money for local federal projects.

9. The president gives a(n) ___________________ by not signing a bill during the last 10 days Congress is in session.

closed rule

Pork-barrel legislation

pocket veto

Chapter Assessment 4
chapter assessment 5

Reviewing Key Terms

Fill in the blank with the correct term or concept listed below.

tax closed rulerider authorization billshearing entitlementspocket veto caseworklobbyist pork-barrel legislation

10. ___________________ set up federal programs and specify how much money may be appropriated for those programs.

Authorization bills

Chapter Assessment 5
chapter assessment 6

Recalling Facts

  • 1. Describe the two types of bills that may be introduced and three types of resolutions that may be passed in Congress.

Private bills deal with individual persons or places. Public bills concern general matters that apply to the whole nation. A resolution deals with matters regarding only one house of Congress. Joint resolutions concern unusual or temporary matters. Concurrent resolutions address matters requiring the action of both houses.

Chapter Assessment 6
chapter assessment 7

Recalling Facts

  • 2. What are four actions a president may take on a bill?

A president may sign the bill into law, veto the bill, pocket veto the bill, or leave the bill unsigned and allow it to become law after 10 days if Congress is still in session.

3. What role does the House Ways and Means Committee play in tax legislation?

It initiates and reviews all the tax laws.

Chapter Assessment 7
chapter assessment 8

Recalling Facts

  • 4. What factors influence lawmakers when they consider legislation?

Possible answers include the nature of the issue, voters at home, other lawmakers, staff members, political parties, the president, special-interest groups, and the lawmaker’s own beliefs.

5. What key tool do lawmakers use to secure the passage of public works legislation?

Lawmakers use logrolling to secure the passage of public works legislation.

Chapter Assessment 8
chapter assessment 9

Understanding Concepts

  • 1. Public PolicyWhat procedure is Congress supposed to use to fund its programs and control its expenses?

Congress funds its programs with tax money and uses appropriations to control how much can be spent on each program.

Chapter Assessment 9
chapter assessment 10

Understanding Concepts

  • 2. Political ProcessesWould lawmakers’ activities be different if there were no special-interest groups?

Possible answers: Without special-interest groups, lawmakers would not be pressured to vote according to the demands of the special-interest groups but would vote in the best interest of their constituents; there are enough other influences to continue to have an impact on lawmakers’ activities.

Chapter Assessment 10
chapter assessment 11

Critical Thinking

  • 1. Making InferencesUse the graphic organizer below to show three characteristics that help a bill make its way through the lawmaking process.

Characteristics might include: clearly written; obvious goals; wide public support.

Chapter Assessment 11
chapter assessment 12

Critical Thinking

  • 2. Drawing ConclusionsWhy is Congress reluctant to appropriate the full amount of money an agency requests?

Possible answer: Congress may want an agency to avoid wasteful spending or force an agency to concentrate its allotted spending on the most effective measures.

Chapter Assessment 12
chapter assessment 13

Interpreting Political Cartoons Activity

  • 1.What is the “Political Inaction Committee” referred to in the cartoon?

It is a PAC, or a political action committee.

Chapter Assessment 13
chapter assessment 14

Interpreting Political Cartoons Activity

  • 2.How is the “Political Inaction Committee” different from other interest groups?

It represents apathetic voters—those who do not care about issues being debated in the Capitol. Other PACs represent voters who are interested in influencing lawmakers.

Chapter Assessment 14
chapter assessment 15

Interpreting Political Cartoons Activity

  • 3.Why is this situation unrealistic?

Members of interest groups are not indifferent voters. They care enough about an issue to lobby lawmakers.

Chapter Assessment 15
chapter assessment 16

What are caucuses, and what role do they play in the work of Congress?

Caucuses are groups that consist of members of Congress with a common interest—for example, the Congressional Black Caucus—who meet privately to discuss and plan legislation relating to causes that they want to support.

Chapter Assessment 16
section focus 1

1) balanced budget

2) Possible answers: to emphasize an issue’s importance, disagreement with previous resolutions, or to gain personal publicity

3) 24 commendations of veterans and veterans’ groups, 16 for continuing appropriations, and 11 declarations of war

Section Focus 1
section focus 2

1) a continued increase

2) Outlays have remained about the same percent as GDP

3) GDP must have shown a continued increase

Section Focus 2
section focus 3

1) Answers will vary.

2) Answers will vary.

3) Answers will vary.

Section Focus 3
section focus 4

1) CA, NY, TX, FL, PA

3) PA ranks highest; FL ranks third.

2) CA, TX, FL, PA, NY

Section Focus 4
extra credit

Law in the News During the course of Chapter 7, collect newspaper or magazine articles that relate to the legislative process. Examples may include hearings on a current bill, introduction of new bills, or an interview with the president regarding the veto of recently proposed legislation. Alternately, you may tape such stories from radio or television news broadcasts. Select one news item and summarize it, indicating how it relates to the chapter.

Extra Credit
linking past and present 7 1

Civil Rights Act of 1964  The general use of riders is to get an unpopular proposal enacted by attaching it to a bill likely to pass. A bill’s opponents, if they cannot muster the votes to defeat it, may attach a rider to make the bill undesirable to some of its supporters. In 1964 Senate opponents of the Civil Rights Act tried to kill it by adding a rider to prohibit gender discrimination in the workplace. To their surprise both bill and rider passed, giving the nation a law against both racial and gender discrimination.

Linking Past and Present 7-1
linking past and present 7 3

Remembering the Folks Back Home Being sensitive to constituents’ tastes is not a new trend. More than a century ago, Representative J. Proctor Knott of Kentucky was asked in Washington one day whether he thought that Hamlet or Macbeth was the better Shakespearean play. Knott replied, “Friend, don’t ask me that question. I am a politician, and a candidate for reelection to Congress. My district is about equally divided. Hamlet has his friends down there, and Macbeth his, and I am unwilling to take any part between them!”

Linking Past and Present 7-3
did you know 7 1

If a lawmaker must be absent during a vote, he or she sometimes will try to “pair off” with an opposition colleague who also will be absent. The “paired” votes (which are listed in the Congressional Record) thus cancel out each other and do not affect the result. (If one of the lawmakers is in attendance for the vote, the colleagues are called a “live pair.”)

Did You Know 7-1
politics and you 7 1

More About Initiating Legislation  Before writing a description of a bill, evaluate your ideas carefully, perhaps starting with questions such as the following:

  • How do I know that current laws are ineffective in dealing with this injustice?
  • What do other people think of my idea?
  • What objections might people have to my idea?
  • If my idea became law, how easy would it be to enforce?
Politics and You 7-1
you don t say 7 1

Pigeonholing  The origin of pigeonholing is related to early American furniture. Old-fashioned desks had small compartments, or “pigeonholes,” into which minor papers could be stuffed, often to be lost or forgotten.

You Don’t Say 7-1
time for the record 7 1

Politeness Counts

Members of Congress address each other by terms such as “my esteemed colleague” and “the distinguished gentlewoman from the great state of Texas.” They’ve been doing that since the eighteenth century. Thomas Jefferson advised members of Congress to avoid using names so that debates would be kept impersonal and non-confrontational. By not using peoples’ names, debaters are reminded that they represent a constituency, not just themselves. In the House, members are not allowed to address each other in the second person (i.e., “you”) so debates don’t become personal.

TIME For the Record 7-1
issues to debate 7 3

Space Station: What Should Congress Do? Research the first human supported flights in space (the Mercury program, for example). In particular, focus on the arguments offered at the time both for and against the expense of such an endeavor. In a formal debate each side has a specified time to present arguments in favor of its position, to speak against arguments presented by the opposing side, and to sum up the presentation. One side begins the process; then the other presents its arguments.

Concluding the Debate After the debate and audience vote, discuss these questions with the debaters: Which part of the debate did you (or your side) find the most challenging, and why? What did you learn from the other side’s presentation? Which arguments (from your side or the other) did you find most convincing? Explain. How would you describe your contribution to the debate? What would you do differently if you could? Discuss these questions with the audience: Why did you vote the way you did? Which arguments did you think were most effective, and why?

Issues to Debate 7-3
issues to debate 7 4

The Value of Subcommittees  Read the following quotation from Tad Szulc: “The subcommittee system . . . has smothered or splintered legislation more often than it has expedited it. The 96th Congress has inherited 29 standing committees and 151 subcommittees in the House, 21 committees and 112 subcommittees in the Senate. . . . The average representative sits on three subcommittees, the average senator, five. . . .” Debate the value of subcommittees.

Issues to Debate 7-4
participating in government 7 1

Types of Testimony  People who testify during the hearings on a bill may come from universities, businesses, Hollywood—just about anywhere. Follow the hearings on a specific bill and note who gives testimony. As a class, discuss these questions: Who can speak with authority about the facts under consideration? Why might the publicity that comes from celebrity testimony be valuable?

Participating in Government 7-1
participating in government 7 3

Conducting a Poll  Polling is one way for a legislator to learn what constituents want. Poll five people about the influences upon their representatives—constituents, interest groups, the president, other legislators, the lawmaker’s party—asking each respondent to rank these influences from most influential to least influential (in the respondent’s opinion). Put your findings into a graph for classroom display and discussion.

Participating in Government 7-3
curriculum connection 7 1

Law  The bill that eventually led to the Federal Criminal Code Reform Act was very complex—more than 600 pages long!

Curriculum Connection 7-1
we the people 7 3

Arlys Endres

The statue for which Endres campaigned had been commissioned to celebrate the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment and had been created by sculptor Adelaide Johnson. Before Congress passed the relocation resolution, Representative Constance Morella (R-Maryland) said, “When schoolchildren from around the Nation come to visit Washington, . . . they will see in the rotunda a statue that not only honors the women who marched for the vote but a statue that also underscores the importance of the right to vote in our American democracy, a right that today so many of us take for granted.”

Activity: Suggest ways in which you might work in your community to raise funds for a national project or cause.

We the People 7-3
political profiles 7 4

Dennis Chávez(1888–1962)

Dennis Chávez was the first Hispanic member elected to the Senate. Chávez (D-New Mexico) used his position as chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Works to help get federal funding for land-improvement and flood-control projects in his home state. Chávez served in the Senate from 1936 until his death in 1962. He helped establish the Fair Employment Practices Committee and, during the McCarthy era, he publicly opposed the senator’s “witch-hunt” tactics. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed Dennis Chávez Day, saying Chávez “truly exemplified the dedication of the public servant and won distinction in the service of New Mexico and of his nation.”

Political Profiles 7-4

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