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The Congress and the President Units 4 and 5

The Congress and the President Units 4 and 5

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The Congress and the President Units 4 and 5

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  1. The Congress and the President Units 4 and 5

  2. The United States Congress

  3. Comparison: Congress V. Parliament • Members of Parliament are: • Chosen to run for office by their Party • Able to vote for one of their own to be Prime Minister (Executive) • Expected to vote as a block by Party • To debate issues of national importance • Given little pay and few perks

  4. Comparison: Congress V. Parliament • Senators and Representatives are: • Chosen through primary elections with little party control or input • Elected when citizens cast a vote for the individual candidate, not the Party • Members of a very independent body that is chosen to represent the people of their Districts/States, not their Party • Without the power to choose the President • Given enormous power, perks, and excellent pay

  5. Origin, purpose, structure, etc… • Article I, Section I: “Congress shall make laws for the good of the people of the United States of America…” • Make LAW: really means make public policy • Bicameralism: • History: we had many previous experiences with bicameral legislatures that were positive • Theoretical: create a system of checks within the legislature • Practical: resolve the dispute at the constitutional convention over the issue of representation

  6. Evolution of Congress • Intent of the Framers: • To prevent the concentration of all legislative power into a single institution • To balance the interests of both large and small States • To make Congress the dominant institution on government In general, Congress dominates the Presidency for 140 years (exception Jackson) Domination ends with the election of FDR

  7. Major Political Struggles with in the Congress • Over issues of national importance (war, trade, slavery, etc…) • Distribution of power w/in Congress • Centralization- if need is for quick, decisive action (declare war, 9/11, etc…) • Decentralization- is constituency interests dominate (slavery, economic growth, etc…) • Trend over time has been for decentralization

  8. Early History of Congress • President supplied congress leadership (sent bills to be considered) • House was pre-eminent • House declines in 1820’s • Assertiveness of Jackson • Issue of slavery and beginnings of sectionalism (Civil War)– split parties and power fragmented Senate gained importance -Opportunity for unlimited debate made Senators “stars” {Filibuster} a single member can take control of the floor and block passage of a bill -Closer association with party (6 year terms)

  9. Rise of Party Control 1889-1910 • House: • Powerful House Leaders like Joe Cannon become dictatorial • Party Caucus: meeting of the members of one party to set an agenda and form voting blocs • Rules Committee created to decide if/when a bill will come to the floor for debate/vote

  10. Decentralization of the House • House Speaker’s power reduced due to a change in the rules 1910-1911 • Party caucus power increases • Rules Committee increases in powers • Committee Chairmen increase in power and autonomy

  11. Recent changes in the House • Chairmanships become “elective” {majority party and Seniority Rule} • Subcommittee chairs become more powerful • Congressional staff increases in number, power, and influence {went from 2-3 to over 20 per member)

  12. Senate made more democratic • Direct Election of Senators – 17th Amendment in 1913 {part of the progressive reforms} • Limited party influence over the Senate • Made Senators more responsive to their States and voters • Campaigns for Senate dominate • Filibuster could now be restricted by the Cloture Rule (3/5ths vote {60} to limit debate on any bill to 30 minutes per member)

  13. The House of Representatives • Membership • 435 members • Congress sets the size of the House, not the Constitution • Reapportionment Act of 1929 set permanent size • Membership now a career– most serve 20+ years • Democrats have had almost exclusive control • Except Civil War and Reconstruction • 1996-2007

  14. House of Representatives • Election: • Tuesday following the 1st Monday of November every even numbered year • Voted upon directly by people who reside in the District and are eligible to vote for the State Legislature • Primaries and general elections now the norm • Incumbents almost always win (the benefits of incumbency) • Candidates run very personalized campaigns and have great independency from party control– candidate centered • Only about 20% of the $ comes from the Parties

  15. Reapportionment and Re-Districting • House seats must be reapportioned after each census every 10 years • States’ # of seats is determined by population • States’ legislatures re-district single member districts • Gerrymandering: • Republicans: like a sliced pizza • Democrats : like a bagel

  16. Supreme Court Cases and Representation • Weberry v. Sanders: one man one vote rule • Reynolds v. Sims: reapportionment must be based upon population equity • Baker v. Carr: reapportionment must occur after every census to reflect population shifts within each State • Requirements for redistricting: • same # people in each District • Contiguous territory • Compact area

  17. Current Apportionment

  18. Proposed 2010 Plan

  19. Texas Districts

  20. House of Representatives • Qualifications: • 25 years of age • US citizen for 7 yrs • Resident of the State from which elected • Term: 2 years • Session: 2per year • Salary: currently $174,000 per year • COLAs : Cost of Living Adjustments

  21. Perks/Benefits • Members Representational Allowance: • Amount depends on several factors: • How big is your District (area and population) • How far away is your District from DC • Covers things like: • Office rent in Home State • Computers and equipment • Furniture • Staff salaries • Some travel expenses • Paper and envelopes • Office supplies • Etc…

  22. Perks • Retirement Plan • Social Security • Health Insurance • Office of the Visiting Physician (7 on the Hill) • Medical care at Bethesda and Walter Reed • Free publication of videos and photos • Budget for DC office decorations and art

  23. More Perks • Free Parking at Reagan National Airport and the US Capitol

  24. More Perks • Special license plates that allow them to park virtually anywhere in DC

  25. Perks • Budget for reception room • Allowance for meals w/ constituents

  26. More Perks • Franking: Free postage for official government mail • Member just signs envelope

  27. Even MORE Perks! • Travel allowance • Entertainment Allowance • Allowance for souvenirs and gifts for constituents … See Ms Stimson’s giant box o’crap!

  28. Exclusive Powers Power of the purse 1. TAX 2. Spend/appropriate $ Impeachment Investigation Elect the President (if a tie in EC)

  29. Leadership in the House • Speaker of the House • Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CAL) • Leader of the majority party • Chosen in an election by the majority party • Is both presiding officer of the House and a member of the House • Tremendously powerful post • Makes $205,000

  30. Speaker Pelosi • Powers • Call on members to speak (or not) • Select the bills to be introduced (or not) • Assign members to committees (or not) • Assign Committee Chairs • Assign Sub-com chairs • Send bills to committee • Etc…

  31. Speaker Pelosi • Perks • Has own dining room • Has own plane (Air Force 3) • Has own helicopter (Marine 3) • Secret Service Protection • Limo and driver • Entertainment Allowance • Travel Allowance • Etc…

  32. Pelosi’s Demand for new Air Force 3

  33. Leadership in the House • Majority Party : Democrats • Majority Leader: Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) • Majority Whip: James Clyburn (D-SC)

  34. Majority Leader and Whip • Majority Leader’s job is to get party’s agenda made into law • Whips job is to: • Count votes • Make sure all party members will vote as a block • Convince party members to vote “correctly” on each bill

  35. Minority Party Leadership in the House • Minority Leader: David Boehner (R-Ohio) • Minority Whip: Eric Cantor (R-VA)

  36. Job of the Minority Leadership • Minority Leader’s job is to try to get party’s agenda made into law • Minority Whip’s jobs: • Count votes • Keep all party members in line • Make sure party has enough votes to block majority (when possible)

  37. Committee Chairs • Chosen in the House by the Speaker (majority party caucus) • Chosen in the Senate by Majority and Minority Leader • Always from the majority party (Dems today) • Seniority Rule followed strictly in both houses

  38. Committee Chairs • Why so powerful? • Can speed up consideration • Can slow down consideration • Can prevent consideration (pigeon-holing) • Can offer a committee bill • Can amend a bill • Schedules hearings • Calls witnesses (subpoenas!)

  39. The Rules Committee • Most powerful of all Committees in Congress • Chairwoman: Louise Slaughter (Dem-NY) • Why so powerful? • Places bills on the calendar(s) for debate • Can schedule debate now or at the end of the session • Can schedule debate for an unusual time of day • Can schedule debate for a non-existent date or during a recess • Can never put your bill on the calendar(s)

  40. The Senate • Membership: 100 Senators • 2 Senators per State • Set by the Constitution • Can only get more Senators if we get more States • Elected independently of one another • Originally elected by State Legislatures

  41. Qualifications for the Senate • 30 years of age • US Citizen for at least 9 years • Resident of State from which elected • Informal qualifications same as the House, except older and whiter!

  42. Terms, Sessions, etc… • Terms are 6 years • Terms are staggered so that 1/3rd is up for re-election every 2 years • Senators from the same State are never elected the same year • Staggered terms allows for the Senate to be a “continuous body” • Sessions: like the House, 2 per year

  43. Salary, Perks, Benefits • Same as the House • $174,000 a year in salary • Constitution requires that they be paid equally and receive same benefits

  44. Exclusive Powers • The Senate alone can: • Convict those who have been impeached • Confirm presidential appointments • Ratify presidential treaties

  45. Leadership • President of the Senate: Vice President Joseph Biden • Presiding officer of the Senate • Not a member of the Senate, so cannot debate and can vote only in the event of a tie • Can call on members to speak and rule on points of order

  46. President of the Senate Biden • Pay: $205,000 per year • Home: United States Naval Observatory in Georgetown

  47. President of the Senate Biden • Air force 2 • Marine 2 • Offices in the White House, OEOB, and Senate • Staff of 150+ • Entertainment and travel allowances • Retirement and Social Security • Health Care at Bethesda and Walter Reed • Etc….

  48. President of the Senate Biden

  49. President Pro Tempore of the Senate • Senator Robert Byrd (D-WVA) • Same powers and VP • Same pay as Speaker and VP • Can borrow Speaker’s plane and helicopter