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  1. Date: March 7, 2011Topic: CongressAim: How does the United States Congress function?Do Now: Multiple Choice Questions

  2. Congress US CAPITOL BUILDING Legislative Branch – “makes laws”

  3. Congress in the Constitution • Checked and balanced by Executive and Judiciary. • Bi-cameral Congress – Senate and House check each other. • House member – elected every 2 years. • Senator – elected every 6 years. • House members directly elected. • Senators directly elected after 17th Amendment.

  4. Cup and Saucer • House – Cup of tea – hot • More connected to passionate interests of the public. • Why? – elected every 2 years • Senate – Saucer under cup – cool • Less connected to public interest allowing for more independent thinking and rational thought. • Why? – elected every 6 years

  5. The Representatives and Senators • The Job • Salary of $174,000 with retirement benefits. • Office space in D.C. and at home and staff to fill it. • Travel allowances and mail privileges. • But, there’s often 10 to 14 hour days, lots of time away from the family, and lots of pressure from different people to “do the right thing.” Russell Building Cannon Building

  6. How well do you know your NEW YORK senators? I’m Charles Schumer. I’m the SENIOR Senator from New York. I’m called the SENIOR SENATOR because I’ve been in the US Senate longer than my senate colleague from New York. I’m Kirsten Gillibrand! I’m the JUNIOR SENATOR from New York. Both Chuck and I won reelection in 2010!

  7. Gillibrand at work. • Bill

  8. The Senate Size • Two Senators from each state. • Framers hoped that the Senate would be a more enlightened and responsible body than the House. • Represent a larger population.

  9. Congressional Districts • The 435 members of the House are chosen by voters in 435 separate congressional districts. • Congressional districts are chosen by state legislatures. • How can this affect how congressional district lines are drawn?

  10. Gerrymandering • The process of congressional district lines being drawn to the advantage of the political party that control’s the state’s legislature.

  11. Purpose of Gerrymandering • Goal to create as many safe districts for the party in control of the line drawing process • 1.) to concentrate opposition voters in one or a few districts • 2.) to spread the opposition as thinly as possible among several districts

  12. House Qualifications • Must be at least 25. • Must have been a citizen of the United States for seven years. • Must be an inhabitant of the state where he/she is elected.

  13. Qualifications for Senators • Must be at least 30 years old. • Have been a citizen of the United States for nine years. • Must be an inhabitant of the state where you are elected. Sen. Carte Goodwin (D-WV), the youngest member of the U.S. Senate

  14. Congressional Elections • Who Wins Elections? • Incumbent: Those already holding office. Figure 12.1

  15. March 8, 2011 • Do Now: Multiple Choice. • Notes. Notes. • Presentation. • If you haven’t done so already please bring in the AP check!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Congressional Elections • The Advantages of Incumbents • Advertising: • The goal is to be visible to your voters. • Frequent trips home & newsletters are used. • Credit Claiming: • Service to individuals in their district. • Casework: specifically helping constituents get what they think they have a right to. Ex: My social security check is always late. • Pork Barrel: federal projects, grants, etc. made available in a congressional district or state.  Outside taxpayers money made available on a local level.



  19. March 9, 2011 • Do Now: Multiple Choice Questions. • Notes. • Notes. • Chapter 12 Vocabulary Quiz on Friday!

  20. Congressional Elections • The Advantages of Incumbents • Position Taking: • Portray themselves as hard working, dedicated individuals. • Occasionally take a partisan stand on an issue. • Weak Opponents: • Most opponents are inexperienced in politics. • Most opponents are unorganized and underfunded.

  21. Congressional Elections • The Role of Party Identification • Most members represent the majority party in their district. • Defeating Incumbents • Some incumbents face problems after a scandal or other complication in office. • They may get drawn out of their district. • They may face massive voter retaliation.

  22. Congressional Elections • Money in Congressional Elections • Open seats are expensive. • Spending lots of money does not guarantee a win. Figure 12.3

  23. Congressional Elections • Stability and Change • Incumbents winning provides stability in Congress. • But, it makes it more difficult to change Congress through elections. • Are term limits an answer?

  24. March 10, 2011 • Do Now: Lets read and discuss the article shall we? • Notes. • Notes. • Quiz tomorrow.



  27.  Harry Reid (D) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) Senate Minority Leader 

  28. The Whips! • Assistant floor leaders in the House and Senate. • Serve as a link between the party’s leadership and the rest of its members. • Make sure all members of the party are present for important votes.

  29. Richard Durbin (D)  Senate Majority Whip Jon Kyl (R)  Senate Minority Whip

  30.  Eric Cantor (R) House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) House Minority Leader 

  31. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R) House Majority Whip STENY HOYER (D) House Minority Whip 

  32. How Congress is Organized to Make Policy • The Committees and Subcommittees • Four types of committees: • Standing committees: formed to handle bills in different policy areas. • Joint committees: few policy areas- made up of House & Senate members. • Conference committees: temporary panel made up of House and Senate members in order to resolve differences controversial legislation. • Select committees: A committee established by the Senate for a limited time period to perform a particular study or investigation. created for a specific purpose.

  33. March 14, 2011 • Do Now: Multiple Choice Questions. • Notes. • Video Clip. • Notes. • REMEMBER, IF YOU NEED TO MAKE SOMETHING UP IT HAS TO BE TODAY AFTER SCHOOL. • NO EXCUSES.

  34. Limits the Supreme Court Has Placed on Redistricting • Districts must be equally populated. • Lines must be connected. • Districts cannot dilute minority strength. • District lines cannot be drawn solely based on race.

  35. The Filibuster • **The House of Representatives has a Rules Committee that places a limit on debate when a bill goes to the floor.** • The Senate has no such limit. • Filibuster when a senator engages in endless debate in order to prevent a vote from taking place. • Example: Senator Nathaniel Dial (D-South Carolina) threatened to hold up senate action on a bill that provided for the mergers of the meat packing industry if his separate bill concerning the compensation of an Internal Revenue collector was not considered. One senator indicated that he would object to Dial’s bill, so Dial objected to the consideration of the meat packer’s merger bill. Dial’s threat appears to have been taken seriously because the meat packer’s bill was pulled from the floor. 

  36. Cloture Rule - Senate • Cloture the Senate needs 60 votes, a supermajority, to end a filibuster

  37. How Congress is Organized to Make Policy • The Committees and Subcommittees • The Committees at Work: Legislation and Oversight • Committees work on the 11,000 bills every year. • Some hold hearings and “mark up” meetings. • Marked Up Bill the rewritten bill that is debated in the House or Senate. • Legislative Oversight  the process of monitoring the bureaucracy and its administration of policy. • Oversight involves hearings and other methods of pressuring the executive branch into action. • Ex: when an agency wants a bigger budget the use of its present budget is reviewed. • As the size of government grows, oversight grows too.

  38. How Congress is Organized to Make Policy • The Committees and Subcommittees • Getting on a Committee • Members want to get on the right committee. • Members want committee assignments that will help them get reelected and gain influence. • New members express their committee preferences to the party leaders. • Support of the party is important in getting on the right committee. • Parties try and grant committee assignments.

  39. March 15, 2011 • Do Now: Handout. • Notes. • Notes. • Video Time.

  40. How Congress is Organized to Make Policy • The Committees and Subcommittees • Getting Ahead on the Committee: Chairs and the Seniority System. • The chair is the most important position for controlling legislation. • Chairs were chosen strictly by seniority. • Now seniority is a general rule, and members may choose the chair of their committee. PETER KING - HOMELAND SECURITY

  41. Subcommittees • Border and Maritime Security • Counterterrorism and Intelligence • Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies • Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications • Oversight, Investigations, and Management • Transportation Security


  43. How Congress is Organized to Make Policy • Caucuses: The Informal Organization of Congress • Caucus: A group of members of Congress sharing some interest or characteristic. • Caucuses pressure for committee meetings and hearings and for votes on bills. • Caucuses can be more effective than lobbyists.