slide1 n.
Download
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
The United States Congress PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
The United States Congress

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 94

The United States Congress - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • 126 Views
  • Uploaded on

The United States Congress. I’m so confused! If the opposite of “ pro ” is “ con ,” does that mean that the opposite of progress is Congress ?. The United States Congress. The first branch of government, Article I of the Constitution; main

loader
I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
capcha
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'The United States Congress' - rocco


An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
slide1

The United States Congress

I’m so confused! If the opposite of “pro” is “con,” does that mean that the opposite of progress is Congress?

slide2

The United States Congress

The first branch of government,

Article I of the Constitution;main

roles—legislate, oversee the performance of government agencies, provide services to constituents

slide3

The United States Congress

Students, I am Speaker of the House, John Boehner. Why were the results of the 2010 United States congressional elections, taken as a whole, considered an earthquake?

slide4

The United States Congress

GOP took 60 seats from Democrats in

House of Representatives

Democrats <200 seats

GOP took 6 Senate seats from Democrats

What factors can explain those significant Democratic losses in 2010?

slide5

The United States Congress

I’m former Speaker and now Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi. There are two of the four reasons indicated below.

  • President Obama’s placating of Blue Dog
  • Democrats led to watered-down bills that
  • disappointed the liberal base of the party.
  • Democrats did not publicize the good they had
  • done and failed to focus on jobs.
  • more
slide6

The United States Congress

Here are the final two reasons.

  • The Tea Party factor coupled with a general
  • disillusioned and disappointed Democratic
  • base
  • Huge advantage GOP enjoyed in campaign
  • finance, particularly in independent spending
  • on issue advertising
slide7

The United States Congress

Form into small groups and discuss the constitutional foundations of the modern Congress.

Article I, Section 8—enumerated powers and the

elastic clause

Article I, Section 9--limitations

slide8

The United States Congress

Article I, Section 8: “Congress shall

have Power To. . .make all Laws which

shall be necessary and proper for carrying

into Execution the foregoing Powers, and

all other Powers vested by this Constitution

in the Government of the United

States, or in any Department or

Officer thereof.”

slide9

The United States Congress

The Constitution prevents the Senate from doing several things. For example: Congress cannot pass ex post facto laws, bills of attainder or suspend the writ of habeas corpus.Can anyone define those terms?

slide10

The United States Congress

Ex Post Facto Law:

a law that applies to an

action that took place before the law was

passed

Bill of Attainder:

a law that punishes a

person who has not been convicted in a

court of law

Writ of Habeas Corpus:

a court order

requiring police to bring all persons

accused of a crime to court and to show

sufficient reason to keep them in jail

slide11

I am Senator Daniel Inouye from Hawaii. Every 6 years since 1962 the people of Hawaii have elected me to the United Stated Senate—I am now, at age 87, the longest serving member of the Senate. Because I am also in the majority party, I am the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.Why did the Founders specify that senators be elected by state legislatures and not the people?

The United States Congress

slide12

The United States Congress

The objective was to insulate one

house of Congress from popular pressures

and to make it a seat of deliberation and

reflection.

The use of the Senate is to consist in its proceeding with more coolness. . . And with more wisdom than the popular branch.

slide13

The United States Congress

  • I’m Congressman Jeff Denham from California’s 19th District. Under the Constitution, the requirements to be a Member of Congress are:
  • 25 years old
  • U. S. citizen for at least 7 years, and
  • A legal resident of the state they represent
  • Members are elected every 2 years
slide14

The United States Congress

Members of the House earn $174,000 a year and are given office space both in Washington and in their districts and allowances to hire an office staff based on the distance from Washington to the center of the district.I am also given money for stationery, supplies and other necessary items.

slide15

The United States Congress

I am Senator Diane Feinstein, from California. Senators differ considerably from Members of the House in many areas, although their salaries are the same.ButSenators serve for 6 years, must be 30 years old, and must have been a citizen of the U.S. for 9-yearsbefore they can be elected.

slide16

The United States Congress

I am Senator Barbara Boxer, also from California. There are no term limits on members of Congress, although many states, like California, have them on their state legislators.

slide17

The United States Congress

One of the key issues of being

a legislator: are you a delegate

or a trustee?

British author Edmund

Burke(1729-1797):

delegate—always vote the

way the majority of your

constituents want you to;

trustee—people elect you

to vote in line with your

ownconscience—they

trust you to make the

right decisions.

Burke favored the trustee

slide18

The United States Congress

Students, please tell us some aspects of the demographic backgrounds of members of Congress.

slide19

The United States Congress

Despite recent gains, women and racial

minorities underrepresented

Hispanics—largest minority group in US—

very low representation

Women—1992 “year of the woman”

111th Congress: 77 H; 17 S

Better educated than rest of population

75% legal or business backgrounds

Most career politicians/civil servants

Women: introduce more bills related to

women’s/children’s issues

slide20

The United States Congress

I am Dennis Cardoza, the Member of Congress representing California’s 18th District. How does your textbook define the terms constituents?

Constituents are residents of a Member’s

district or state—they can be citizens or

non-citizens; voters or non-voters; adults

or children.

slide21

The United States Congress

Hello constituents. Jeff Denham again. Many of you live in my district. Who can tell me how state representation in the House is determined?

The 19th District, like all districts, was determined based on the census and apportioned by Congress.

What is a census?

What does apportioned mean?

Census: the official

population count.

Apportioned: House seats are distributed based on the census; reapportioned

every 10 years

slide22

The United States Congress

Since the 1910 census, there have been435 votingmembers of Congresswithat least one from each state.Again, House membership per state is based on population. Right now, our California delegation has 53 seats. There are also5 non-voting seats: Puerto Rico, Guam, the American Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Washington, D. C.

slide23

The United States Congress

On the average, each Memberof the House of Representativesrepresents about 646,952 people. State legislatures draw the districtsin the state, trying to average around 650,000 people per district. Based on reapportionment, state legislatures redistrict every 10 years—change district boundaries.

slide24

The United States Congress

Barbara Boxer again. Sometimes state legislatures create weird-looking congressional districts in order to preserve the majority party’s power in Congress. The technique for drawing such boundaries is called gerrymandering, named after the founding father,

Elbridge Gerryof Mass.

slide25

The United States Congress

Chief Justice John Roberts again. How has the Supreme Court weighed in with regard to district boundaries?

Baker v. Carr (1962)

Voters have the right to

challenge how state

legislatures allocate legislative

seats and such questions could

be considered in federal courts.

Essentially, we have gone along

with the old adage: “to the

victor belong the spoils.”

slide26

The United States Congress

I am former Congressman Tom DeLay of Texas. What does the phrase “cracking a district” mean?

A party does not want a district with too great of

a majority (wastes votes). It chooses to draw

congressional district boundaries to spread its

popular strength across two or more districts in

hopes of winning more seats in the state’s

congressional delegation. Validated by United

Latin American Citizens v. Perry (2006)

slide27

The United States Congress

Edward Greenberg, one of your textbook’s authors again. What is incumbent-protection re-districting and what have been its affect has been on House membership

Majority parties in state legislatures redrawing

congressional district boundaries to protect incumbents of a particular party. It has become so extensive that in 2008, only about 75 out of 435 seats were competitive—winning margin 5% or less (100/435 in 2010). Has contributed to partisan divide in Congress.

slide28

The United States Congress

Thank you, Dr. Greenberg. So what are majority-minority districts and how did the Supreme Court’s decision in Hunt v. Cromartie(2001) affect them?

Majority-minority districts are congressional

districts drawn to ensure that a racial minority

comprises the majority of voters. Today there are 15 with African-American majorities and 9 with Hispanic majorities. Hunt v. Cromartie(2001) ruled that race can be a significant factor in drawing district lines “so long as it is not the dominant or controlling one.”

slide29

The United States Congress

Since World War II, on average, 93% of House incumbents and 80% of Senate incumbents have won re-election. So incumbents definitely have advantages. What are some of them?

Name recognition, the redistricting process,

franking privileges (free postage), time spent in the district*, and political “war chests”—built-up contributions from people, organizations and Political Action Committees (PAC)—committees

focusing on particular issues that back

political candidates.

*Most congressional business: Tue-Thu

slide30

The United States Congress

Hello, I amSenator Mitch McConnell and I am the Republican, or Minority, Leader of the Senate.Another advantage incumbents have is case work. What is that?

Members of Congress receive more than

200 million pieces of mail each year.These

include:

Requests for flags flown over the capital

Opinions on issues facing Congress/

urging the member to vote a certain way

Requesting help with the Federal bureaucracy

Military or veterans issues

Asking for a Congressional Record insert

slide31

The United States Congress

Senator Daniel Inouye again. Incumbents can also use pork barrel legislation. What is that?

Pork-barrel legislation: federally funded projects designed to bring to the constituency jobs and public money for which Members of Congress can claim credit. They are also referred to as “earmarks.”

slide32

The United States Congress

Some of you may know that I worked as an aide for Senator John Warner of Virginia from December 1994 until August 1996. During that time, I worked several constituent issues. I’ll now share some of those with you. Often people ask for the Member to put something in theCongressional Record—the official and verbatim(exact)record of what is said each day in both houses.

slide33

The United States Congress

To begin this second section, I’m going to ask you the last question first. After reading the entire section what can you summarize about who makes things happen in both houses of Congress?

Over the years, congressional party leaders have

amassed the vast majority of power in Congress.

Therefore, decisions as to who becomes Speaker, Majority Leader and even Minority Leader are very important.

slide34

The United States Congress

I am Senator Harry Reid from Nevada, the Majority Leader of the U. S. Senate. In the same vein as what Speaker Boehner just asked, what is the role of the party conference (party caucus)?

All the members of a political party in a given house of Congress meet at the beginning of a session (January) and elect leaders, approve committee assignments (including committee/

subcommittee chairs) and reach agreement on the legislative goals for the session.

slide35

The United States Congress

I am Senator Mitch McConnell from Kentucky, the Minority Leader of the U. S. Senate. How partisan is congressional voting today?

Congressional voting is highly partisan. Party affiliation is the best predictor for voting behavior in Congress. Partisanship has been rising steadily since the early 1970s and is evident today in about 90% of votes. Consequently, bipartisan agreements is becoming more difficult.

slide36

The United States Congress

So Harry, members closely adhere to party lines.

Mitch, exactly why is partisanship increasing in Congress?

Changing regional bases of parties--for example, the Deep South now predominantly GOP

Partisan conflict is on the rise nationally—the electorate is more divided along party lines

Ideology is a major reason—the fundamental ideas of the parties conflict.

slide37

The United States Congress

Some history on Congress before

going further

Prior to 1958: Conservative coalition era

Oligarchy of senior leaders

Safe seats

Southern Democrats &

Republicans of NE & NW

Powerful committee chairs

Hostile to activist presidents

(Truman & Civil Rights)

slide38

The United States Congress

1958 election: More liberals

Lyndon Johnson rose to leadership

of Democratic (majority) Party

slide39

The United States Congress

Johnson began a “power

earthquake”

Power of old seniority system cut

1965-1978: Reform Era

Post Vietnam & Watergate

Leadership & decision-making open

to a wider circle of players

New House & Senate rules

and procedures

Folkways of Senate revamped

Today: Post Reform Congress

slide40

The United States Congress

I’d like to discuss with you congressional leadership.

What arefloor leaders and whips in the House of Representatives?

slide41

The United States Congress

House floor leaders:

Speaker: presiding officer of the House;

elected by whole House but reflects the

majority party; second in line to presidency.

John Boehner of Ohio. Extraordinary power.

slide42

The United States Congress

Majority leader: assistant to the Speaker

and is the second-most-influential member

of the House. Eric Cantor of VA

Minority leader: the minority party’s chief

Spokesperson. Nancy Pelosi of CA

slide43

The United States Congress

What are party whips in Congress?

Party whips are Members whose

main function is to monitor and

influence how the party members

vote on legislation. They form an

intelligence network for the leaders.

Republican: Kevin McCarthy

of California

Democratic: Steny Hoyer of

Maryland

slide44

The United States Congress

How the House is structured

slide45

The United States Congress

The most powerful member of the Senate is the Majority Leader. The most important member of the minority party is the Minority Leader.

Majority Leader: Sen. Harry

Reid of NV. Minority Leader:

Sen. Mitch McConnell of KY

slide46

The United States Congress

Our power is more informal—powers of persuasion and such.

Yes, but remember my power is less visible. I don’t have nearly the power of the House Speaker. I have some influence on committee assignments and scheduling the business of the Senate, and over certain administrative matters.

slide47

The United States Congress

How the Senate is Structured

slide48

The United States Congress

Let’s discuss committees. Why has there been “a dramatic decline in the power of committees and of committee chairs in the legislative process?”

As partisanship rose, more power became centered in the hands of the House Speaker and, to a lesser degree, the Majority Leader of the Senate. One major power in that regard is who is appointed as committee chairs and committee members. Those members are therefore beholden to the Speaker/Senate Majority Leader.

slide49

The United States Congress

Muchof the work of Congressmen and Senators is done in the various committees of each house.Why does Congress have committees?

slide50

The United States Congress

Students, I am Vice President Joe Biden, a former senator from Delaware. Congress has committees to help process the huge flow of business. Committees are also islands of specialization, where members and staff develop the expertise to handle complex issues and to meet executive branch experts on equal terms.

slide51

The United States Congress

There are two basic types of congressional committees: authorizing and appropriations. Each house has many authorizing committees, but only one appropriations committee. What are appropriations (not in book)?

slide52

The United States Congress

Authorizing committees authorize government programs to exist while funding must come from the appropriations committee. That’s why almost all members really want seats on the appropriations committee of their respective house.

There are also 4 other categories of

committees: standing, select, joint, and conference. There are also subcommittees. Discuss each.

slide53

The United States Congress

What are standing committees and how many of them are there in each house?

Standing committees are the

permanent committees in each house.

In theHousethere are24 standing committees.

Here they are. In theSenatethere are20

standing committeesand here they are.

slide54

The United States Congress

Students, I am Senator Joe Lieberman, from Connecticut. You may recall that I was Al Gore’s vice presidential running mate in 2000. What are select committees?

Committees that deal with special

issues not covered by standing

committees. They have no power to send bills

To the floor of either house, usually focus on

investigations and are generally temporary.

The most famous select committee was the

Senate’s Watergate Committee in the mid-1970s.

slide55

The United States Congress

Good. How about joint committees?

Committees made

up of members of

both the House and

the Senate—Joint

Budget Committee.

slide56

The United States Congress

OK—how about conference committees?

Temporary bodies appointed to

work out a compromise between

House and Senate versions of a

bill that has been passed by both

Houses. More about these later.

I am Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine—the only Greek-American in the Senate.Remember two standing committees—intelligence and budget—limit membership to 7 years.

slide57

The United States Congress

What are subcommittees?

Subcommittees are divisions of standing committees, that give Members and Senators a chance to specialize in certain areas. There

are about 175 subcommittees in Congress.

slide58

The United States Congress

Party leaders in Congress assign members to committees. Of course, most want seats on the Appropriations Committees and not all can have seats. Other popular committees are the Budget Committees, in the House, the Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and, in both houses,

The Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees. Leaders often assign members to committees based on political needs. One guideline for selection is seniority.

The United States Congress

slide59

The United States Congress

As one of our local representatives,

Congressman Denham serves on

the Committee on Transportation and

Infrastructure, the Committee on

Natural Resources and the Committee

on Veterans Affairs

Congressman Cardoza is a Blue Dog Democrat who serves on the powerful Rules Committee as well as the Agriculture Committee and is on the

sub-committee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture the subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy & Poultry

slide60

The United States Congress

Senator Boxer serves on:

Commerce, Science & Transportation;

Environment and Public Works;

Foreign Relations; Chair of the

Committee on Ethics; and 9 sub-

committees

Senator Feinstein serves on:

The Judiciary Committee;

The Appropriations Committee;

Chair of the Intelligence Committee

The Rules & Administration Com.

2 minor committees & 11 sub-coms;

Chair of 4 subcommittees

slide61

The United States Congress

Committee chairs have a great deal of power. All chairs are from the majority party and are based on seniority.

Senior members have great

expertise—they are experts on

committee business.Also, the

seniority situation has changed

since the Reform Congress of the mid-1970s,

when more junior members could become chairs. The ranking minority member is the

most influential committee member from the minority party.

slide62

The United States Congress

Don’t forget that in the Senate, seniority is an important criterion for appointing committee chairs, while in the House the Speaker appoints chairs based on the needs of the party agenda. Chairs must be attentive to what their party wants, or they may be removed from the chairmanship.

slide63

The United States Congress

Now we are going to discuss the rules and norms in the House and Senate. Discuss the concept of reciprocity as it pertains to Members of Congress.

Members have been expected to become specialists in some area or areas of policy and to defer to the judgment of other specialists on most bills. Of course, the principle of reciprocity is declining in recent years in favor of deferring to the wishes of party leaders.

slide64

The United States Congress

In Alaska, this is what we call log rolling. What does the term mean in Congress?

A member may vote with a colleague

in the expectation that the colleague

will later return the favor.

slide65

The United States Congress

Mr. Speaker, the textbook says that legislative life is much more “rule-bound” in the House of Representatives, as opposed to the Senate? Why?

slide66

The United States Congress

Compared to the Senate, and with 440 members, the House is very large. House leaders: more power; majority party: more control over legislative affairs; procedures: much more structured

Electronic voting

Suspending of ordinary rules

by 2/3 vote

Immediate action by unanimous consent

Informal procedures as Committee of the Whole

More differences when we discuss how a bill

makes its way through Congress

slide67

The United States Congress

How does the Senate differ from the House?

  • Smaller (100 v. 435/440)
  • More informal procedures
  • More time for debate
  • 100 separate power centers
  • Individualistic
slide68

The United States Congress

Thank you, Mr. President Pro Tempore. Let’s focus on the fact that in the Senate there usually is no limit on the length of debate.

  • Senators can:
  • Speak without time limit on a bill
  • Engage in a colloquy with another senator
  • Engage in a debate (“Will the Senator yield?”)
  • Make an “insert for the record” without
  • actually speaking on the floor.
  • All floor business televised on CSPAN
slide69

The United States Congress

The Senate also has some expressed powers not held by the House.

Treaties—must be approved by a

2/3 vote of the Senate

The Senate also approves all major

appointments made by the President: Supreme

Court justices, cabinet officers, military officers,

etc.These approvals are by majority vote.

slide70

The United States Congress

V. P. Joe Biden here. As a senator from Delaware, I served, in 1991, as the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. As such I presided over one of the most acrimonious and controversial confirmation hearings of all time—that for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The Senate also has the power to confirm.

slide71

The United States Congress

Begins in appropriate committee

Nominees appear before the committee to

answer questions

Typically, nominees meet with key senators

prior to hearings

Called the Advise and Consent powers

slide72

The United States Congress

How does the way bills are scheduled for floor debate differ between the House and the Senate?

Unanimous consent: business can be blocked by a single dissenter.

slide73

The United States Congress

In that same vein, what is a hold?

Any senator may temporarily block

the consideration of either a

legislative bill or a presidential

nomination. Holds are regulated

only by the majority leader, who

may decide on whether to grant

holds and how long they can be

in effect.

slide74

The United States Congress

The rule that allows unlimited debate can lead to a stalling tactic to try to prevent a vote on a bill that is unique to the U. S. Senate.

Sometimes, if a party or individual members

want to prevent a vote they can filibuster—a

delaying tactic in which Senators just keep

talking and talking and then yielding the floor

to other senators who support the filibuster.

Today: much more informal—senators simply

can announce a filibuster and consideration of

the bill is stopped. No wasting time with talk.

slide75

The United States Congress

The only way to stop a filibuster is by a vote of cloture, although often party leaders meet outside the chamber to work out compromises that end the filibuster. Other times, the bill’s sponsors simply have to pull the bill—remove it from consideration. So what is the definition of cloture?

Cloture is a vote of 3/5 of the Senate,

or 60 members to halt debate on a bill and

vote

slide76

The United States Congress

Here we are—all the major leaders of our government: Speaker Bohner, Leader Pelosi, Leader Reid and Leader McConnell. How does a bill get through Congress to me, the President?

slide77

The United States Congress

Before moving on, let’s discuss, for a few minutes, the major roles of Congress. The top roleof Congress is to enact laws; but more and more, that role meansreviewing the annual President’s Budget and thencreating, discussing and passing a Federal Budget for a fiscal year, which runs from 1 October to 30 September.

slide78

The United States Congress

Students, I amRepresentative Steny Hoyerfrom Maryland. I am presentlythe Democratic, or Minority, whip. Membersof Congress spendmostof theirtime debating the federal budget and most of the lawsthat we enact aresomehow associated with the budget.

Congress isthereforecalled a deliberative

body—they deliberate about, or discuss, issues

before making decisions by voting.

slide79

The United States Congress

Now, students, let’s talk about how a bill becomes law.

Only members of Congress may

introduce legislation. Often times,

A member of the Executive Branch

may write a bill, but if the President

wants a bill introduced, a member of the House or Senate must do it for him. In the House:

placed in the hopper; in the Senate: announced

on the floor.

slide80

The United States Congress

And Senator Feinstein, let’s not forget that all revenue (tax) bills must originate in the House of Representatives. Any other bill can begin in either house.

slide81

The United States Congress

Next, the body’s presiding officer refers a bill to the appropriate committee. For example, in the House, tax bills are referred to the Ways and Means Committee.

Committee chairs can refer a bill

to a subcommittee or keep it for

the full committee. The appropriate

chair can then schedule hearings on the bill. In

hearings, important people come to testify before

the pertinent committees. The witnesses make

opening statements and then the members ask

questions. No one really tries to fool anyone

else with trick questions.

Hearings are usually open to the public.

slide82

The United States Congress

After the hearings have been completed,

members, their personal staffs, and committee

staffs go into markup sessions. Markup

sessions are done behind closed doors and

important decisions are made about the bills

in those sessionsincluding the insertion of

pork barrel projects.

Pork-barrel spending awards projects and

grants, or “pork,” from the government

“barrel” to a member’s home district or state.

Also called “earmarks.”

slide83

The United States Congress

A discharge petition is a

petition that, if signed by a

majority of the members of

the House, will pry a

bill from committee and

bring it to the floor for

consideration. Can prevent

a bill from dying in

committee, but rarely

successful

slide84

The United States Congress

I am Congressman David Dreier of California. I am the chairman of the important House Rules Committee. My committee devises rules that determines the conditions for debate and amendments in the House. The House has so many members that the length of debate must be limited to get through business. The Rules Committee sets the length of debate.

slide85

The United States Congress

Three main types of rules

Open—any amendments that relate to the

bill’s subject can be proposed

Closed—prohibits any amendments

Modified—some parts of a bill can be

amended while other parts cannot.

Usually bills are debated for 40 minutes, one hour or an hour-and-a-half, with time evenly divided between parties (or “sides of the aisle”)

slide86

The United States Congress

Both houses must pass a bill for it to go to

the president to signed into law. Both versions

must be identical. If they are not, then

members of both houses meet in a conference

committee to make the bills identical. After

that is done, both houses must vote on the

version agreed upon by the conference

committee.

Once both houses of Congress have passed

the final version of the bill, it becomes known

as an act. To become a law, it must be signed

by the president.

slide87

The United States Congress

Once he receives the bill, the

President can:

Sign the bill

Veto the bill

Keep the bill for

10 days without signing it.

If Congress is in session, the

bill becomes law without the

president’s signature. President

Grover Cleveland used this technique in 1892

when he wanted a tariff but not increased taxes.

slide88

The United States Congress

I can also exercise a pocket veto. Who can tell me what that is?

If the president receives a bill

within 10 days of Congress’s

adjournment, he or she may

hold the bill without signing it, and the bill

does NOT become law

slide89

The United States Congress

Several small bills, such as the list of new

Army lieutenants in the Senate, are passed

by a voice vote (all those in favor say “Aye”

and all those opposed say “No.”)

In both houses, important votes are done as

roll-call votes—each member is called on

individually to declare his or her vote. The

procedure in both houses is different, however.

slide90

The United States Congress

As you read, the second major jobof Congress isoversight.

Oversight involves conducting investigations

of agency actions and programs.

To help carry out this important function, theCongress sponsors the General Accounting Office (GAO)

slide91

The United States Congress

In addition to the General

Accounting Office, the Congress

also sponsors theCongressional

Budget office, to oversee the

President’s Budget, the

Congressional Research Service,

and other smaller offices to

help with oversight.

In the past 25 years, investigations by

Congress have increased greatly, due to

tight budget restrictions and several

past abuses and scandals.

slide92

The United States Congress

The oversight function also includes

a series of hearings, which are not

simply information-gathering

exercises. They can send clear signals to the

Executive Branch and other entities.

slide93

The United States Congress

I am the lateSenator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.My brother, John, was our nation’s 35th president.Congress began serious investigations with the Watergate Scandal.We also found we had to investigate the military, for example, when we found out the Air Force paid $750.00 for toilet seats and $500.00 for certain hammers.

slide94

The United States Congress

Another form of the oversight process is impeachment. Here is how that works.

Impeachment—to formally accuse

an office holder of offenses that can lead to their removal from office.

The House of Representatives votes on whether

or not to impeach. If they do impeach, then

the Senate tries the official. The Vice President

acts as judge, unless the President is on trial.

In that case the Chief Justice sits as judge.