congress congressional membership ch 5 sect 1 n.
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Congress- Congressional Membership Ch.5 sect.1 . U.S. Government- 2013. Quick Write. What do you know about Congress? List 3 things:. Define 3 Key Terms. Bicameral legislature Session Census Reapportionment Redistrict Gerrymander At-large Censure Incumbent.

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quick write
Quick Write

What do you know about Congress?

List 3 things:

define 3 key terms
Define 3 Key Terms

Bicameral legislature









congressional sessions
Congressional Sessions
  • Each Term starts on January 3 of odd-numbered years and lasts 2 years.
  • Each term is divided into two sessions (meetings); a session = 1 year
  • Congress remains in session until its members vote to adjourn.
  • If Congress is adjourned, the president may call it back for a special session.
membership of the house
Membership of the House

435 Members- Based on Population

A. Members must be:

1. 25+ years old

2. U.S. citizens 7+ years

3. Residents of the state they represent

B. House members serve 2-year terms

membership of the house1
Membership of the House

C. The number of state representatives is apportioned according to the census every 10 years (2000, 2010, 2020, etc.)

D. Congressional districts are determined by state legislatures

E. One representative from each district represents approx. 750,000 people

California has 53 representatives (largest)

congressional reapportionment and redistricting
Congressional Reapportionment and Redistricting

After the 10 year Census is taken (2000, 2010, 2020, etc.) the number of Representatives may be reapportioned to account for changes in population

Reapportionment after 2012 Census

State legislatures then sets the new districts

Some states abuse this power in two ways

1. Districts with very unequal population

2. Gerrymandering (ruling political parties redraw boundaries to gain electoral advantages)

membership of the senate
Membership of the Senate

A. Members must be:

1. 30+ years old

2. U.S. citizens 9+ years

3. Residents of the state they represent

B. Senate members serve 6-year terms

C. Each state elects 2 senators

100 Senators

vice president senate president
Vice President = Senate President
  • VP Joe Biden
  • Presides over the Senate
  • Cannot partake in Senate debates
  • Votes only in a tie
congressional salary and benefits
Congressional Salary and Benefits

A. Financial benefits:

1. Set their members’ salaries

2. Allowances for office, staff and business trips

3. Tax breaks for two residences (D.C. & home state)

4. Sizable retirement pensions

5. Franking privilege: paid postage for business mail

B. Immunity from arrest in:

1. Non-felony or non-treason cases

2. Anything they say on the House or Senate Floor

C. Both houses can censure or even expel members

Censure: vote of formal disapproval of a member’s actions

members of congress characteristics
Members of Congress-Characteristics
  • Almost half of members are lawyers
  • Most come from business, banking, and education
  • Most members of Congress win reelection
  • Incumbents (members already in office)
  • Incumbents are successful in reelections because they find it easier to raise campaign funds (PAC’S- Political Action Committees)
  • Incumbents also may represent districts that have been gerrymandered in their party’s favor.

Think about the key characteristics and qualifications of the members of Congress. Do you think there should be other qualifications to run for a House or Senate seat?

ch 5 section 2 3

Ch. 5 Section 2 & 3

The House of Representatives & The Senate

the house of representatives
The House of Representatives
  • The House has very complex, strict rules
    • Ex: Speakers are limited to 5 minutes
  • Leaders in the House of Reps can make decisions about legislative work without consulting other House members.
the house of representatives1
The House of Representatives
  • Committee Work:
    • Committees do most of the work of Congress
    • Most important in the House of Reps than in Senate
    • They help ease the workload and are key power centers.
    • In Committees, Representatives can specialize in a few issues that are important to their constituents (people they represent)
the house of representatives2
The House of Representatives
  • Party Affliliation:
    • In each House, the party with the larger number of members (majority party) selects the leaders, controls flow of legislative work, and appoints committee chairs.
    • Majority party organizes the House
the house of representatives3
The House of Representatives
  • Speaker of the House:
    • Presiding Officer of the House of Representatives
    • A caucus (closed meeting) of the majority party chooses speaker.
    • Next to v.p. in line of succession to presidency
  • Nancy Pelosi, former Speaker.
  • First woman speaker
  • From California
  • John Boehner, current Speaker (113th Congress)
  • Representative from Ohiorom California
the house of representative house floor leaders
The House of RepresentativeHouse Floor Leaders
  • Majority Leader
  • Helps plan legislative program, steer important bills
  • 113th Congress:

Eric Cantor

  • Democratic Leader
  • 113th Congress:

Nancy Pelosi

lawmaking in the house
Lawmaking in the House

Law starts as a bill (bill = proposed law)

Only about 10-20 % of bills ever go to the full House for a vote

House Rules Committee: serves as “traffic officer” helps direct flow of major legislation

the senate
The Senate
  • Rules are more flexible
  • Senate has no speaker, but they have a Senate President
  • Have power to break a tie vote
  • 113th Congress Senate President:
    • Joe Biden
the senate1
The Senate

Majority and Minority Leaders are the most important officers in the Senate

They are elected by members of their political parties.

They keep their party members working together.

113th Congress: Majority party is the Democratic Party; minority= republican

senate bills
Senate Bills

Any member of Senate may introduce a Bill (more informal)

Senate leaders control the flow of bills

Senate allows unlimited debate on a bill so one way to defeat a bill is to filibuster against it.

Filibuster: to keep talking until a majority of the Senate either abandons the bill or agrees to modify it.

Filibuster can be stopped if 3/5 of the Senate (60) votes for cloture(only 1 hour allowed for each senator)

Filibuster not as effective now

political action committees
Political Action Committees

Political Action Committee (PAC) an organization that raise money privately to influence elections or legislation.

Leadership PAC: money coming from a leadership PAC is not limited. They can fund travel, administrative expenses, polling, and non-campaign expenses.

Super PAC: you can have no direct contact with candidate. No legal limit on donation size.

Campaign Finance Reform- Article: Debate whether there should be limits on individual and corporation contributions to campaigns.