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Chapter 10 Congress

Chapter 10 Congress

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Chapter 10 Congress

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  1. Chapter 10Congress

  2. Section 1—The National Legislature • “Representative” • Madison: “The first branch.” • “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.”—Article I, section 1

  3. A Bicameral Congress • Historical • British had two houses • Most Colonies had two houses • Practical • Dispute between Virginia and New Jersey Plans. • Theoretical • “To cool it.” • There would be no Constitution without the bicameralism.

  4. Terms and Sessions • Two year terms. • Terms of Congress • Noon of the 3rd day of January of every odd numbered year. • Sessions • Two sessions • Adjourns • “sine die” • “prorogue”—never used. • Special Sessions • Only used occasionally.

  5. Section 2—The House of Representatives • Size and Terms • Size is set by Congress-435 since 1910 • Minimum of one representative per State. • “Unofficial” representatives. • Unlimited terms

  6. Reapportionment • 1st Congress was 65 • Raised to 106 in 1792 • A Growing Nation • Raised to 142 in 1800 • Raised to 186 in 1810 • 435 by 1912 (Arizona and New Mexico were added) • No reapportionment in 1920 • The Reapportionment Act of 1929 • Every ten years • Permanent size of 435 • Represent about 650,000 citizens • State Legislatures determine boundaries.

  7. Congressional Elections • Date—Since 1872, “first Tuesday, following the first Monday in November of each even-numbered year.” • Voting devices vary widely and some are controversial. • Off-Year Elections • Non-presidential election years. • Party of the president “usually” loses ground.

  8. Congressional Elections (cont.) • Districts • 7 States with one representative • 428 divided among the rest. • Single-member districts are the norm. • At-Large has occurred at times. • Questions: • Equal population • Equal size. • Compactness. • Contiguous—one piece • Gerrymandering • Can concentrate opposition in one or a few districts. • Spread the opposition to make all districts open. • Aims to create “safe” districts.

  9. Congressional Elections (cont.) • Wesberry v. Sanders, 1964 • Established principle of equal representation. • Later: One person---one vote principle. • Race cannot be the primary determinant in districting, but can be one factor. • Qualifications for House Members. • 25 years of age. • A U.S. citizen for 7 years. • A inhabitant of the state from which they are elected. • Informally of the district from which they are elected.

  10. Section 3—The Senate • Size, Election, and Terms • Size • 1789—22 members • 1791—26 members • “Dispassionate.” • Represent entire states. • Election • Until 1913—chosen by State legislatures. • 17th Amendment. • Now elected statewide.

  11. Size, Election, and Terms (cont.) • Term • 6 years • Strom Thurmond-48 year record. • Senator Robert Byrd—48 years in 2007 • Terms are staggered 33 or 34 each 2 year election. • Continuous body. • Larger constituencies---bigger picture.

  12. Qualification for Senators • 30 years of age. • Citizen of the U.S. for 9 years. • An inhabitant of the State from which they are elected. • Senate judges its own members. • 15 have been expelled—14 during the Civil War. • Many simply resign • Many do not seek reelection.

  13. Section 4—The Members of Congress • Personal and Political Backgrounds • Not representative • Median age of House is 55, Senate 60 • Mostly male. 68 women in House, 14 women in the Senate. • 42 African Americans, 24 Hispanics, 5 Asians, and 1 Native American in the House. • 1 African American, 2 Hispanics, 1 Asian, 1 Hawaiian sit in Senate.

  14. Personal and Political Backgrounds (cont.) • Most are married and average 2 children. • 60% are Protestant, 30% Catholic, 6% Jewish. • 1/3 of House and 1/2 of Senate are lawyers • Nearly all have a college degree and many advanced degrees.

  15. Personal and Political Backgrounds (cont.) • Most have political experience • Senators average in second term • House members 4 terms • Former governors • Cabinet seats • The Job • Legislators • Representatives of constituents • Committee members • Servants of constituents • Politicians

  16. The Job (cont.) • Representatives of the people • Trustees—independent judgment • Partisans • Politicos—balancing act • Committee Members • Oversight function • Servants • Compensation (cont.) • The politics of pay • Controversial • Membership Privileges • Legislative Immunity • To protect free speech

  17. Compensation • Salary • $158,000 • Speaker=$193,600 • Senate president pro tem=$172,900 • Nonsalary Compensation • Fringe benefits • Travel • Franking privilege • Free printing