The Legislative Branch Unit 6 AP Government
Important Terms and Concepts • Read your textbook carefully • Terms are VERY important this unit!
Roots of the Legislative Branch • The Framers were greatly influenced by the American colonial experience • Under the British, colonial assemblies were chosen as advisory bodies to the royal governors. • These assemblies gradually assumed more power and authority in each colony, eventually gaining responsibility over taxation and spending. • The Continental Congress was a gathering of the selected legislators from the 13 colonies • Upon independence, the Continental Congress became the first American Congress
Which Branch is the ‘Most’ Powerful?? • The framers of the U.S Constitution placed Congress at the center of the government. • Article I • In the early years of the republic Congress held the bulk of power. • Today, the presidency has become quite powerful particularly since FDR. • Congress now generally responds to executive branch legislative proposals.
Qualifications for Congress House • 25 years old • US Citizen for 7 years • Be a resident of the state you represent Senate • 30 years old • US Citizen for 9 years • Be a resident of the state you represent
Congressional Terms • Senators have a 6 year term with 1/3 of the seats up for reelection every two years. • House members serve 2 year termsand must be re-elected every general election. • NO LIMIT TO TERMS!
The Makeup of Legislative Branch • The Great Compromise provided the necessary vision to insure that the new legislature was accepted by the new country • A bicameral legislative branch of government was created • The upper house is called the Senate in which each state receives two representatives. • 100 total • The lower house is called the House of Representatives which is apportioned by population. • 435 total
111th Congress The Senate
112th Congress The Senate
Comparison of 111th and 112th Senate by State
111th Congress The House of Representatives Percentage of Each Party by State
112th Congress The House of Representatives Percentage of Each Party by State
Comparison of 111th and 112th Congress by Percentage
111th Congress The House of Representatives by District
112th Congress The House of Representatives by District
Comparison of 11th and 112th Congress by District
Critical Thinking Compare the Information You Can Draw from the Two House Maps
Critical Thinking 2 Compare the Information You Can Draw from the Three Maps
2001 GA Redistricting Map • Found to be unconstitutional
District 6 Walton
Gerrymander • To draw district lines in such a way that gives unfair advantage to one group over another. • Named for Elbridge Gerry the former Governor of Massachusetts • Had been part of the Revolutionary War • Was one of the American emissaries to France during the XYZ Affair • The term “gerrymander” is a mixture of the word salamander and Governor Gerry’s name • He often drew legislative and/or district lines to benefit his political friends
Apportionment and Redistricting • The Constitution requires that all Americans be counted every 10 years by a census. • The census determines the allotment of seats in the House of Representatives. • Redistricting (the redrawing of congressional districts to reflect changes in seats allocated to the states from population shifts) is done by state legislatures and, of course, always has political overtones. • When the process is outrageously political, it is called gerrymandering and is often struck down by the courts.
Spend Money Regulate Commerce Taxation Create Courts Powers of Congress Lawmaking Declare War Make all laws "necessary and proper" to carrying out the enumerated powers
1. Legislative Branch Checks over Judicial Branch 6. Judicial Checks over Executive Branch 2. Legislative Branch Checks over Executive Branch 5. Judicial Branch Checks over Legislative Branch 3. Executive Branch Checks over Legislative Branch 4. Executive Branch Checks over Judicial Branch
Power of the Incumbency • 92% of House members have won reelection since 1946 • Members of the Senate are also likely to win reelection although less likely that the House • 75% since 1946 • Advantages • Greater name recognition • Easier to raise money; about 75% of contributions goes to incumbents • Credit claiming which increases victory of margin • Discourages challengers • Franking- free mail to constituents • Disadvantages • Voters are more likely to vote for the person NOT the party • Challengers with deep pockets
Organization of Congress • Every two years, a new Congress is seated. • 113th currently in session • Congress opens each new session in January after election day • The first order of business is the election of leaders and adoption of new rules. • Both houses of Congress are organized by party for both leadership and committee purposes. • CONGRESS IS VERY PARTISAN!
Key Differences Between the HousesFound in the Constitution House • Initiate revenue, budget, and appropriation bills- $$$$ • All money bills start in House • Impeaches the president • Selects the President in case there is no majority winner in the electoral college Senate • Offers “advise and consent” for presidential nominees by confirming the presidential appointments of federal judges, Supreme Court justices, heads of departments and agencies, ambassadors • Ratifies treaties • Convicts the president AFTER impeachment in the House • Selects the Vice-president in case there is no majority winner in the electoral college
Majority Party Advantages in the House of Representatives House • Holds committee chairs • Controls Rules Committee • Sets the agenda • Controls debate • Chooses Speaker of the House • Holds majority on each committee • Assigns bills to committees Rules that lead to Majority Power in House • More formal rules • No filibuster • No holds • House has no unanimous consents so members must always individually vote • “Germaneness” rules concerning riders or amendments to House bills