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Congress – Chapter 11

Congress – Chapter 11

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Congress – Chapter 11

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  1. Congress – Chapter 11 AP U.S. Government & Politics Mr. S. Kolesar, 3/2008

  2. The Ultimate Power Broker? • “First Branch” of American gov’t • Power of the purse • Can pass a law over exec. veto • Can expand or contract the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court

  3. Candidates elected through primaries, little party influence Less powerful – people select the executive Free to express views and vote as they wish Principal daily work = representation & action (mostly in committees) Membership & loyalty through national party organizations Majority party controls gov’t, i.e. – selects prime minister etc… All party members vote together – won’t get re-nominated if you don’t Principal daily work = debate Congress v. Parliament

  4. Independent Decent salary, up to 22 staffers, “franking privilege”, large office budgets More concerned with own constituencies and careers Decentralized institution Lack of independence Poorly paid, tiny staff, tiny budgets More concerned with party activities Centralized institution Congress v. Parliament

  5. The Evolution of Congress • Founders created a bicameral (two-house) legislature • Balance between large & small states • HOR elected directly by the people • Senate chosen by the state legislatures • Adjusted by Constitutional Amendment

  6. 17th AMENDMENT • Senators were elected by state legislatures. • In 1913, the 17th Amendment led to the direct election of Senators (1913) • Increased voters’ power and reduced corruption in Senate

  7. Evolution of Congress • Periods of strong central leadership • Current trend towards decentralizing decision-making and enhancing the power of the individual member • Ex. HOR all-powerful speaker or ? • HOR size creates issues in balancing power

  8. Evolution of Congress • The Senate size avoids some of the HOR issues • Easier to balance interests • Fixed size per state, not effected by the census • Filibuster – prolonged speech, or series of speeches designed to delay action is a part of the history of unlimited debate in the Senate

  9. House History: Six Phases • The Powerful House - 1st 3 administrations • The Divided House – 1830’s through Reconstruction, divisive issue of slavery produced no true majorities or leadership in the House • The Speaker Rules - 1880’s to 1910 • The House Revolts – 1910-1960’s, the speaker loses power to committees • The Members Rule – 1960’s to 1990’s, committee chairs lost power (not on seniority), individuals gained positions and power • The Leadership Returns – 1990’s to ? – Increased power back to the speaker, reduction in # of committees

  10. Major Differences Between the House and Senate differences House of Representatives Senate • Larger body 435 members • Based on Population • Shorter term = 2 years • Smaller constituencies • elected from districts • Younger membership • Less prestige • Lower visibility in news media • Congressmenor Representatives • At least 1 rep. per state • Elected by popular vote • Called the “lower house” • $174,000— 27th Amendment • Smaller body 100 members • Equal Representation • Longer term 6 years-continuous body • Larger constituencies-elected from entire state • Older membership • More prestige • Higher visibility in news • Called Senators • 2 Senators per state • Chosen by state congresses until 17th Amendment---popular vote • Called the “upper house” • $174,000---27th Amendment

  11. EXCLUSIVE POWERS OF THE HOUSE Powers only given to the House of Representatives. • Bring charges of impeachment. • Elects President if there is no majority in the Electoral College. • Elects its own officers. • Judges the qualifications and disciplines its membership. • Expel or censure members of the House.

  12. APPORTIONMENT • The Constitution directs Congress to • Apportion or distribute the seats among the states in the HOR based on their POPULATIONS. • Every state is required to have one representative in the HOR. • Congress has changed the number of seats in the HOR as the nation has grown. • 65 Seats in 1789 to 1793 • Increased to 106 from 1794 to 1800 • 142 seats from 1801 to 1810 • 186 seats from 1811 to 1820 • By 1912, 435 seats

  13. REAPPORTIONMENT • Article 1 of the Constitution directs Congress to • Reapportion or redistribute the seats in the HOR after each decennial census…. • Reapportionment Act of 1929 • Permanent size of the House is 435 members • Census Bureau conducts a decennial census and reapportions the seats each state should have. • Submitted to the President, sends it to Congress • Both Houseshave 60 days to approve it….. • If neither rejects the plan, it becomes effective.

  14. WI10 (11-1) NY 31 (33-2) MT3 MI 17 (18-1) WI MI NY PA NV5 (4+ 1) IL 21(22-1) OH 20(21-1) IN11(12-1) CO9 (8+ 1) CT7(8-1) CA 55 (53+ 2) NC 15(14+1) OK7 (8-1) AZ10 (8+2) GA15(13+2) MS TX 34 (32+ 2) FL MS 6(7-1) FL 27(25+2) • Total Representatives = 535 • Senate = 2 per state = 100 • House of Representatives = 435 • Parenthesis show + or – changes

  15. EXCLUSIVE POWERS OF THE SENATE • SITS AS JURY DURING IMPEACHMENT • ELECTS V.P. IF NO MAJORITY IN ELECTORAL COLLEGE • RATIFIES TREATIES AND APPOINTMENTS • ELECTS OWN OFFICERS • JUDGES THE QUALIFICATIONS AND DISCIPLINES ITS MEMBERSHIP

  16. Who is in Congress? • Typical member = middle-aged, white male protestant lawyer • See chart on page 289 • Trend = growth towards diversity (women, Hispanics, African-Americans), more in the HOR than the Senate, but still underrepresented as %’s of total population.

  17. Who is in Congress? • Incumbency • Professional politicians • No term limits – 1995 HOR approved constitutional amendment – died in the Senate • Approximate 90% rate of incumbent re-election rate

  18. Who is in Congress? • Marginal districts – winner gets less than 55% of the vote • Safe Districts – winner gets more than 55% of the vote • HOR trend = more towards safe districts • Why? Familiar name, party, franking, re-districting

  19. Who is in Congress? • Party • 1933-1998 – 33 Congresses (a new Congress convenes every 2 years) • Democrats controlled both houses in 25, and at least 1 house in 28

  20. Who is in Congress? • Why? Redistricting by Democratically controlled state leg., incumbency privileges, better, more-experienced candidates • 1990’s changes • Why? Mess in D.C., scandals, corruption, anti-professional politician attitude, redistricting, etc…

  21. Do Members Represent Their Voters?(& the three theories) • Representational View – members want to get reelected and vote to please constituents. Big on hot issues, (civil rights, social welfare, gun control, abortion). Constituents often split on key issues. • Organizational View – Not essential to please constituents, as most do not know how their rep has voted, but important to please fellow members of Congress. Typically party-line voting, or through info from committees, etc… • Attitudinal View – So many conflicting views that they cancel each other out. Reps then vote on the basis of their own beliefs. Liberal v. Conservative, Democrats are more ideologically divided.

  22. The Organization of CongressThe Senate • Senate • Majority party chooses the president pro tempore (requirement by Constitution for a presiding officer in absence of the V.P.) President Pro TemporeRobert C. ByrdDemocrat, West Virginia

  23. The Organization of CongressThe Senate • Majority Leader • Schedule business • Right to be recognized 1st in any floor debate • Serve additional needs of senators • Minority leader • Serve the needs of the party • Mitch McConnell (Kentucky) • Whip • Party leader who makes certain that party members are present & vote the way of the party • Richard Durbin (Illinois) • http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/senators/a_three_sections_with_teasers/leadership.htm Majority LeaderHarry ReidDemocrat, Nevada

  24. The Organization of CongressThe Senate • Policy committees – chosen by both parties help schedule Senate biz • Dems – Steering Comm. • Repubs. – Committee on Committees • Both assign senators to standing committees • Huge for BOTH individual senators & their constituents

  25. The Organization of CongressThe Senate • Party control helps determine what issues get to the floor for a vote • Party leadership also helps set the ideological and regional balance of the committee members

  26. The Organization of CongressThe House • Party structure similar to that of the Senate • Leadership is more powerful due to rules due to size (435) • Debate restricted • Strict scheduling of business • Speaker elected by majority party • Current – Dem. Nancy Pelosi

  27. The Organization of CongressThe House • Duties of the speaker • Presides over all house meetings • Decides who is recognized to speak on the floor • Rules on relevance • Decides (generally) the committees to which new bills shall be assigned • Influences what bills will be voted on • Appoints members of special/select committees • Nominate the majority-party members of the rules Committee • Informal – patronage jobs, office space, etc…

  28. The Organization of CongressThe House • Majority Leader • The Majority Leader is the second-ranking official in the United States House of Representatives.  Congre-ssman Steny Hoyer, who represents Maryland's Fifth Congressional District, was elected House Majority Leader by the Democratic Caucus on November 16, 2006. • Minority Leader • Whips • See chart on page 300 (Wilson) for Party Leadership Structure of Congress • See diagram on page 301 for the layout of the U.S. Congress

  29. Party Unity • Party polarization – a vote in which a majority of voting Democrats oppose a majority of voting Republicans • Seemingly the norm in the House & Senate • Ex Clinton’s impeachment • Partisanship

  30. Caucuses • Caucus – an association of members of Congress created to advocate a political ideology or a regional or economic interest. • Members benefits: • Gaining information • I.D. as a “leader” • Showing concern over the issues

  31. Caucuses • 6 Types of caucuses • Intraparty – members share a similar ideology • Ex. Dem Study Group • Personal Interest – form around a common interest on an issue • Ex. Human Rights • Constituency Concerns, National – established to represent certain groups • Vietnam Veterans

  32. Caucuses • 6 Types of caucuses • Constituency Concerns, Regional – to represent regional concerns • Ex. Sunbelt Council • Constituency Concerns, state/district – to represent states/districts • Ex. Suburban • Constituency Concerns, industry – to represent certain segments of biz • Ex. Steel

  33. The Committee System • “Most important” organizational feature of the House and the Senate • Chairmanship, power, number & jurisdiction are all key components of (sub)committees • 3 Types of committees 1. Standing – permanent bodies with specific legislative responsibilities 2. Select – groups appointed for a limited purpose, usually lasting a few Congresses. 3. Joint – both representatives & senators serve Ex. Conference comm. – to resolve differences in the Senate & House versions of the same piece of legislation before passage.

  34. The Committee System • Majority party typically takes the majority of committee seats, & name the chairman. • Ratios of members are (usually) similar to that in Congress

  35. The Committee System • Standing committees are the most important – only ones that can (typically) propose legislation by reporting a bill to the floor. • House members usually serve on 2 standing committees & 4 subcommittees • Limited to one if you serve on an “exclusive” committee (Appropriations, Rules, Ways & Means) • Senators usually serve on two major and 1 minor committee & 7 subcommittees

  36. The Committee System • Chairs are typically picked by seniority • Committee rules for the House & Senate are on pages 306 & 307 (Wilson) • Goals were to increase power of individual members at the expense of party leaders • Pros v. Cons ?????

  37. The Organization of CongressStaffs an Specialized Offices • 1998 – Average Rep. • 17 assistants • Average Senator • 40+ assistants • Huge personal staffs + committee & research staffs = huge bureaucracy

  38. The Organization of CongressStaffs an Specialized Offices • Tasks • Constituent Requests • Answering mail • Sending out newsletters • Meeting w/ voters • Devising proposals • Negotiating agreements • Organizing hearings • Drafting reports • Meeting with lobbyists

  39. The Organization of CongressStaffs an Specialized Offices • In district or D.C.? • Legislators have offices in BOTH • Loyal to their “boss” • Increasing relied upon by their “bosses” • Results in staff to staff relations • Results in depersonalization of Congress

  40. The Organization of CongressStaffs an Specialized Offices • Staff Agencies • Work for Congress as a whole • Examples – • General accounting Office (GAO) – 5,000 employees, head appointed by President • Congressional Research Service (CRS) – 900 employees, politically neutral

  41. How a Bill Becomes a Law • USG_How_A_Bill_Becomes_A_Law.ppt • Or See pages 312-313 (Wilson)

  42. Miscellaneous Facts About – How a bill Becomes a Law • “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House” • Most bills die in committee • A bill may be examined by several committees at one time – multiple-referral • Speaker of the House may send the bill to a 2nd committee, or parts to separate committees – sequential referral • House uses several calendars for consideration of bills while the Senate uses only one.

  43. Misc.Facts About – How a Bill Becomes a Law • A bill on a calendar does not assure action • House – (Powerful) Rules Committee governs this process • Closed rule – sets time limits on debate & forbids amendment except by sponsoring committee • Open rule – permits amendments from the floor • Restrictive rule – permits some amendments but not others • Bypassing the Rules committee • A member moves that rules be suspended 2/3 vote to approve • Discharge petition is filed • “Calendar Wednesday” procedure • Bills stalled in committee can be “discharged” to the full floor • House – discharge petition – 218 members sign to get the bill out of committee then the house vote on that petition • Senate – a member can move for discharge, and the Senate votes on the motion

  44. Misc.Facts About – How a Bill Becomes a Law • Senate • Bills may be considered at any time in any order by Senate majority • Majority leader sets the calendar with consultation from the minority leader. • Senate floor Debate • No limits on debate • Amendments can be offered at any time • Amendments do not have to be relevant to the bill • Cloture rule – to end or limit debate (to end a filibuster) – 16 senators petition 3/5th’s of Senators must vote for it. • Limits debate to 1 hour per senator • Double tracking allows the senate to set aside the filibustered bill and work on other issues “to keep the process going”

  45. Misc.Facts About – How a Bill Becomes a Law • House • Quorum – minimum number of members who must be present to conduct business = 100 members • Committee of the Whole – whoever happens to be on the floor. • Can not pass a bill, but recommends it in its final form to the House for action. • Amendments are allowed, but must be germane to the purpose of the bill – no riders allowed • Bills usually passed in this form though

  46. Methods of Voting • House • Voice vote – shout yea or nay • Division vote – members stand and are counted • Teller vote – pass between two tellers, one yea, one nay, and names may be recorded • Roll-call vote – answer yea or nay to your name. Electronically recorded.

  47. Conference Committees • To reconcile a bill passed in the House & Senate in different forms • 3-15 members from each house, picked by chairman of standing committees • Legislation is often substantially rewritten

  48. Conference Committees • Report from the committee is sent back to both houses for immediate review • It can be accepted or rejected, but not amended • Majority – accepted • Alternative – no bill at all for that session of congress

  49. Reducing Power & Perks • Pork-barrel legislation • Bills that give tangible benefits to constituents in hopes of winning their votes • Franking privilege • Earmarks • See chart on page 322 (Wilson) for rules on congressional ethics

  50. COMPENSATION Senators and representatives are paid a salary of $174,000 a year. Certain members, Speaker of the House and the Senate’s president pro tem, are paid more. Constitution says that Congress fixes its own “compensation.” Check and balance: President’s veto and fear of voter backlash against a pay increase. 27th Amendment:Congress can give itself a pay raise but takes affect after the next congressional elections.