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Congress: The Legislative Branch. Back to Chapter 1 for a sec…. What kind of democracy do we live in? So the people rule, but they don’t make public policy Who does make it?. Bicameral Congress. Our Congress is bicameral, meaning it has two houses

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Congress:

The Legislative

Branch

back to chapter 1 for a sec
Back to Chapter 1 for a sec…
  • What kind of democracy do we live in?
  • So the people rule, but they don’t make public policy
  • Who does make it?
bicameral congress
Bicameral Congress
  • Our Congress is bicameral, meaning it has two houses
  • The larger house, which is supposedly the “common man’s house,” is the House of Representatives
  • The smaller house, which is for “the elite” of America is the Senate
members of the house of representatives
Members of the House of Representatives
  • Official title is “Representative So and So”
  • Also called “congressman”
  • There are 435 congressmen
  • Congressmen are elected to a term of 2 years
members of the senate
Members of the Senate
  • Official title is “Senator So and So”
  • There are 100 Senators (2 from each state)
  • Senators are elected to a term of 6 years
the senate
The Senate

The Senate

basic information
Basic Information
  • Since you get new congressmen every 2 years, we call each 2 year period a “term” of Congress
  • The terms are numbered consecutively… the one that ends Dec. 2008 was the 110th Congress
  • The one that was just elected is called the 111th Congress
basic information11
Basic Information
  • A session of Congress is all the time it takes to finish their business for the year
  • So how many sessions are there in a term of Congress?

Two!

seats in the house
Seats in the House
  • Seats are apportioned (given out) to each state based on population
  • Every 10 years seats are reapportioned after the census, when a new count of the population is taken
  • Ever since 1929, the number has been 435 (Reapportionment Act)
seats in the house13
Seats in the House
  • Every state divides itself into districts based on the number of seats apportioned to the state
  • For example, Arizona is given 8 seats based on our population
what does it take to be in the house
What Does it Take to be in the House?
  • 25 years old
  • U.S. citizen for at least 7 years
  • Must live in the state you are elected in

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ 6th)

seats in the senate
Seats in the Senate
  • The Constitution establishes that there are 2 seats per state in the Senate
  • 50 States = 100 Senators
what does it take to be in the senate
What Does it Take to be in the Senate?
  • 30 Years Old
  • U.S. Citizen for 9 Years
  • Must live in the state you are elected in

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)

off year elections
Off-Year Elections
  • In the election years where there is no presidential election (2006, 2010), the president’s party usually loses seats in Congress

In 2006 Republicans lost 27 seats in the House and 6 in the Senate

comparing the house and the senate
Comparing the House and the Senate
  • Originally, congressmen were elected by the public, and Senators were elected by the state legislatures
    • Founding Fathers did not trust the public with all power
    • 17th Amendment has since changed Senate elections to a public vote
comparing the house and the senate21
Comparing the House and the Senate
  • Senators have a much longer term
  • Entire House is elected at once, while only 1/3 of Senate is chosen at a time
  • House members appeal to one small district, Senators appeal to entire state
founding fathers intent
Founding Fathers’ Intent
  • The Founding Fathers wanted to have one house that would quickly respond to the desires of the public (House of Reps)
  • And one house that would be moderate, and stop any crazy nonsense the House would try (Senate)
demographics of congress
Demographics of Congress
  • Congress is not at all demographically representative of the U.S. population
    • For example…
demographics of 111 th congress
U.S.

Males – 49%

Females – 51%

Congress

Males – 83%

Females – 17%

Demographics of 111th Congress
demographics of 111 th congress25
U.S.

White – 75%

Black – 12%

Hispanic – 13%

Asian – 4%

Native – 1%

*Many people qualify as more than 1 race

Congress

White – 85%

Black – 8%

Hispanic – 6%

Asian – 1%

Native – 0%

Demographics of 111th Congress
demographics of 111 th congress26
U.S.

Millionaires – 0.7%

Non-Millionaires – 99.3%

Congress

Millionaires – 33%

Non-Millionaires – 67%

Demographics of 111th Congress