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6 Chapter Notes The Structure of Congress. The Legislative Branch. Bicameral - a lawmaking body of 2 houses The upper house is the Senate . The lower house is the House of Representatives. Reasons For a Bicameral Legislature

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Bicameral- a lawmaking body of 2 houses
  • The upper house is the Senate.
  • The lower house is the House of Representatives.
  • Reasons For a Bicameral Legislature
  • Other countries had been successful with this type of legislature before.
  • It came about because of the compromise at the Constitutional Convention
The House of Representatives
  • Has 435 members
  • Representation is based on the population of each state. One representative for every 800,000 people.
  • A member of the House serves a 2-year term with an unlimited number of terms.
cabarrus county s representation
Cabarrus County’s Representation
  • North Carolina has 13members in the House of Representatives. With each serving a Congressional District in the State.
  • Your representative is Larry Kissell (D) from North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District.

House of Representatives:

  • You must be 25 years old.
  • You must be a citizen of the US for at least 7 years.
  • You must live in the State you represent.
  • Representatives have a yearly salary of 165,500 dollars.
  • Other benefits: free parking, free mail (Franking privilege), a travel allowance, free treatments in V.A. hospitals, and recreation activities.
officers of the house of representatives
Officers of the House of Representatives
  • The presiding officer is the Speaker of the House (Nancy Pelosi a democrat from California.).
  • She is in charge of the House.
duties of the speaker
Duties of the Speaker
  • The Speaker:
  • Conducts the every day operation of the House
  • Appoints Representatives to special committees
  • Conducts impeachment procedures
  • Signs all bills passed by the House
  • Becomes President if the President and the Vice-President are disabled.
  • The Speaker gets paid 212,100 dollars a year.
party leadership
Party Leadership
  • Whip - is the strong man for the party floor leader.
  • The floor leader is in charge of their party’s operations in the House. The Majority party leader is Steny Hoyer a Democrat, and the Minority leader is John Boehnera Democrat.
  • Floor Leaders get paid 183,500 dollars a year.
Special powers of the House
  • The House impeaches federal officials.
  • All revenue bills (money) must begin in the House,
  • They choose the President if a candidate does not reach 270 electoral votes
the us senate
The US Senate
  • There are 100members, 2 from each state
  • Senators serve a 6-year term, without term limits.
north carolina senators
North Carolina Senators
  • In NC we are represented by a Republican and a Democrat:
  • Richard Burr (R)
  • Kay Hagen (D)
qualifications for the senate
Qualifications for the Senate
  • You must be at least 30 years old
  • A citizen of the US for 9 years.
  • A resident of the State that you live in
  • Their salary is 165,500 dollars a year
  • They also have all of the same benefits that members of the House of Representatives enjoy.
officers of the senate
Officers of the Senate
  • The leader of the Senate: is the Vice-President.
  • Currently the Vice-President is Joe Biden
  • The Vice-President is not a regular member of the Senate, but can break a tie if necessary.
  • The President pro-tempore handles the everyday business of the Senate. The president pro-tempore is the most senior member of the majority party. Currently the president pro-tempore is Robert Byrd of West Virginia.
party leadership1
Party Leadership
  • The minority leader is Mitch McConnell a Republican.
  • The majority leader is Harry Reid a Democrat.
  • They have the same duties as the party leaders in the House.
special powers of the senate
Special powers of the Senate
  • The impeachment trial is held in the Senate. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court conducts the trial. For the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton, Chief Justice William Rehnquist was the Judge. 2/3 votes are needed by the Senate to remove a federal official from office (67).
  • Approves all treaties.
  • Confirms all Presidential nominations to office
congressional procedures
Congressional Procedures
  • Policing its Members- Members of Congress are above the law and cannot be arrested for anything, that cannot even be given a traffic ticket. But here are some ways to keep them in check.
  • Censure- is a formal reprimand for bad behavior while in Congress. Usually for a less serious offense. This publicly exposes the problem and humiliates the member of Congress.
  • Expulsion- is the removal from office of a member of Congress. This is for a serious offense that will bring criminal charges. A 2/3 vote is needed to remove a member of Congress.
Gerrymandering- is the process of drawing a Congressional district with a preconceived result in mind. The Supreme Court has ruled gerrymandering unconstitutional. The district must then be redrawn. The 12th district in NC had to be redrawn in 2002.
floor procedures
Floor Procedures-
  • Pigeon Hole- to set aside a bill without studying it. By doing this the bill will die in committee.
  • Filibuster- a tactic used by wasting time talking about anything until the bill’s sponsor withdraws the bill.
  • Cloture- a procedure to limit a filibuster. This limits each Senator to 1 hour of floor time. 3/5, or 60 votes are needed to enact cloture
bills and committees
Bills and Committees
  • How a bill becomes a law (refer to the chart)
  • A member introduces the bill in one house.
  • The bill then goes to committee and a conference committee to work out problems.
  • The bill is then passed by that house.
  • The bill then goes to the other house
  • Then the bill goes to another committee to work out problems.
  • If there are differences, the bill must go to another conference committee to work out exact wording.
  • If it is all right, then the bill can pass the other house. A bill must pass both houses with the exact language.
  • The President signs the bill into law, or he vetoes it. If it is vetoed, Congress can override the veto with a 2/3 vote in each house.
  • Standing Committee- Permanent committees of Congress.
  • Select Committees- Presidential committees made for a special issue.
  • Joint Committees- committees of both houses of Congress.
  • Conference Committees- committees to work out a compromise bill.