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American Government and Politics Today . Chapter 11 The Congress. Why Was the Congress Created?. Fear that power in the hands of a single individual would be abused and the people would suffer. Congress that was to be a bicameral (two-house) institution.

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why was the congress created
Why Was the Congress Created?
  • Fear that power in the hands of a single individual would be abused and the people would suffer.
  • Congress that was to be a bicameral (two-house) institution.
  • Each house different constituencies.
  • House elected by the people for the people.
  • Senate selected by the state legislatures (no more), one step removed from the people.
  • Served to balance small and large states and commoners and elites
the functions of the congress
The Functions of the Congress
  • The lawmaking function
  • The representation function
    • The trustee view of representation
    • The instructed delegate view of representation
  • Service to constituents
  • The oversight function: Reviewing actions of the Executive Branch
  • The Public-Education Function, agenda setting
  • The Conflict Resolution Function
the powers of congress
The Powers of Congress
  • Enumerated Powers. (Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution)
    • Include taxing, spending, borrowing, and coining; regulation of foreign trade and trade among states; regulation of the military (state militias, an army and navy, and to declare war); as well as the power to define the court structure.
      • Powers of the Senate approve ambassadors, treaties, court appointments
      • Constitutional Amendments and may choose president if no clear majority
  • The Necessary and Proper Clause.
    • Allows Congress to make laws that are deemed to be necessary to carry out the expressed powers
congresspersons and the citizenry a comparison
Congresspersons and the Citizenry: A Comparison
  • Members of Congress are older, wealthier, and better educated than the general public.
  • There are relatively few women and members of minority groups in Congress.
  • Finally, there are a disproportionate number of lawyers in both houses of Congress. The current congressional salary is $157,000.
congressional elections
Congressional Elections
  • Candidates for Congressional Elections:
    • Candidates for congressional seats can be self-selected or recruited by the local political party. Party attempts to select a candidate that has many of the social characteristics of the population in the district.
  • Congressional campaigns and elections
    • Campaign funding
    • Effects of Presidential elections
  • The Power of Incumbency, Coat-tails
congressional apportionment
Congressional Apportionment
  • House seats are apportioned among the several states every ten years, following the census.
    • Reapportionment—the allocation of seats in the House of Representatives to each state after each census;
    • Redistricting—The redrawing of the boundaries of the congressional districts within each state
  • Gerrymandering
  • Redistricting After the 2000 Census
  • Minority-majority districts
perks and privileges
Perks and Privileges
  • Permanent professional staffs
  • Privileges and immunities under the law
  • Congressional Caucuses: Another source of support
the committee structure
The Committee Structure
  • The Power of Committees
    • These “little legislatures” determine whether a bill will reach the floor and be called for a vote.
  • Types of Congressional committees
    • Standing Committees
    • Select Committees
    • Joint Committees
    • Conference Committees
    • House Rules Committees
  • The Selection of Committee Members
formal leadership
Formal Leadership
  • The majority party controls the legislative process, including the selection of congressional leaders.
  • Leadership in the House
    • The Speaker
    • The Majority Leader
    • The Minority Leader
    • Whips
  • Leadership in the Senate
    • Vice President, President Pro-tem
    • Majority Leader, Minority Leader and whips
congressional decision making
Congressional Decision-making
  • Party membership is a major determinant of how members vote, but it is not the only factor at work.
  • The Conservative Coalition, Caucuses: Hispanic, Black and others from Environmental to Labor.
  • “Crossing over”
current congressional leadership
Current Congressional Leadership
  • Senate LeadershipTitle Member
  • Pro Tempore Robert C. Byrd (D-WV)
  • Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
  • Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
  • Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-MS)
  • House LeadershipTitle Member
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
  • Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD)
  • Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC)
  • Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-OH)
  • Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO)
how a bill becomes a law
How a Bill Becomes a Law
  • For a bill to become law, it must pass through both houses of Congress. All “money bills” or spending measures must originate in the House.
  • House of Representatives
    • Introduction
    • Committee Stage
    • Rules Committee
    • Floor Action
  • The procedure in the Senate is similar, but there are no special rules such as those set by the House Rules committee; the leadership schedules action.
how a bill becomes a law cont
How a Bill Becomes a Law (cont.)
  • Conference committee
    • If there are differences between the House version of the bill and the Senate version of the bill, the bill will be sent to a conference committee. Members of each chamber selected by the leaders will attempt to reach a compromise on the bill.
    • The House and Senate vote on the bill as reported by the conference committee
presidential action on proposed bills
Presidential Action on Proposed Bills
  • If the president is in favor of the bill s/he will sign the bill into law.
  • If the president is opposed to the bill s/he will most likely veto the bill and send it back to the chamber that originated action on the bill with his reasons for the veto.
  • If both houses vote to override the veto by a two-thirds vote, the bill becomes law without the president’s signature.
how much will the government spend
How Much Will the Government Spend?
  • Preparing the Budget
  • Congress Faces the Budget
    • Authorization, a formal declaration by a legislative committee that a certain amount of funding may be available to an agency. Some authorizations terminate in a year; others are renewable automatically without further congressional action. Appropriation, the passage, by Congress, of a spending bill specifying the amount of authorized funds that actually will be allocated for an agency’s use.
  • Budget Resolutions