Representation by ewghwehws



18 November 2010
          The Role of the Representative

• Trustees—legislators who use their own judgment to decide what
  is right
• Delegates-legislators who carry out the precise wishes of their
  constituents back home regardless of what they personally believe
  is best
• Symbolic-does Congress look like America?
African American and Hispanics in Congress

          Source: Morris and Gimpel (2007)
                              Women’s Representation

Source: Lawless and Fox (2005); see also IPU world classification
Women in Congress

          See also historical data on women in Congress
Policy Representation
                   Organizing Congress

• The two most crucial institutional structures created to exercise
  Congress’s constitutional powers are
   – the party system, and
   – the committee system.
• Without them it would be difficult to overcome the barriers to
  effective collective action.
                       Weak Parties

• At one time, parties were powerful enough to bully members of
  Congress into sticking with the leadership
• Fewer constraints now exist
• Example: Committee system is formally under the control of the
  majority party
• Parties customarily choose committee chairs based on seniority
          The Importance of Consensus

• The degree of consensus within a party continues to affect how
  much authority party members are willing to delegate to party
• When there is broad and deep agreement, there is more cohesion
  among the coalition.
           The Importance of Consensus

• Over the decades, there has been significant variation in the
  coordinating ability of parties in Congress.
• Since the 1950s there has been a decline and resurgence of
  congressional partisanship.
• As they have become more unified, they also become more
  polarized along ideological lines.
• Republicans grew more conservative.
• Democrats became more liberal as their party’s conservative
  southern members were gradually replaced in Congress by
Party Unity
                     Party Leadership

• Party members give House party leaders resources for inducing
  members to cooperate when they are tempted to go their own
  way as free riders. These resources take the form of favors they
  may grant or withhold (committee assignments, direction of the
  legislative agenda).
             Party Organization (House)

• Majority leadership positions
   – Speaker of the House (Nancy Pelosi D-CA) (Becomes Minority
       • Initially the Speaker would decide who would sit on all
         House committees, who would chair them, determine
         legislative procedure (by chairing Rules). After 1910 the
         speaker lost this power
   – Majority Leader (Steny Hoyer D-MD) (Becomes Minority Whip)
   – Majority whip (James Clyburn D-SC) (Becomes Assistant
       • Whips form communication network connecting leaders to
         members—they count votes, outline strategies, explain
         positions, etc.
• Minority leadership positions
   – Minority Leader (John Boehner R-OH) (Becomes Speaker)
   – Minority Whip (Eric Cantor R-VA) (Becomes Majority Leader)
• Link to Leadership offices in House
            Party Organization (Senate)

• Majority leader (Harry Reid D-NV)
• Minority leader (Mitch McConnell R-KY)
• Link to Senate leadership
          Party Leadership in the Senate

• Senators have never delegated as much authority to their leaders
  as have representatives.
• The norm of equality (ambassadors from their states to the
  national government) led them to retain wider freedoms of
  individual action.
                  Committee System

•   Standing Committee (exist from one Congress to the next)
•   Fixed jurisdiction and stable membership =specialization
•   Bills are assigned to committees on the basis of subject matter
•   Committee’s jurisdiction usually parallel those of the major
    departments or agencies in the executive branch.
•   Each committee is unique
•   Each committee’s hierarchy is based on seniority
            Why have committees?
        Theories of Committee Formation
• Informational Theory
   – Addresses the need for expertise
• Distributive Theory
   – Satisfies members personal goals
                 Types of Committees

• See Table 9.1 ―Standing Committees of the 108th Congress‖
• Or visit the House website
                The Legislative Process

• A bill is introduced by a member (only a member). Although bills
  are introduced only by members, anyone may draft them.
  Executive agencies and lobby groups often prepare bills for
  introduction to friendly legislators.
• The Speaker assigns the bill to a committee (In the House). In the
  Senate, the majority leader assigns the bill to the appropriate
  standing committee
• Committee jurisdictions are largely fixed; All bills dealing with a
  given substantive area are automatically sent to that committee
               Assignment to Committee

• After a bill is introduced, it is assigned a number and referred to a
• Once a bill has been referred to a committee, the most common
  thing that happens next is NOTHING.
• Most bills die of neglect.
• If a committee decides on further action, the bill may be taken up
  directly by the full committee, but more commonly it is referred to
  the appropriate subcommittee.

• In committee, the bill goes to a subcommittee (here the real work
• The subcommittee decides whether to consider the bill
• If so, hearings are held. In a hearing, typically members of the
  executive branch and members of interest groups are invited to
  testify, though individuals can also testify
                 The Purpose of Hearings

•   Congress listens
•   Often a fair hearing is sufficient
•   Lobbyists can show their bosses that they tried
•   Hearings outside of Washington may be for the sole purpose of
•   Let the locals and journalists see their congressman
•   Hearings don’t have to be for legislation; they can be oversight of
    the bureaucracy
•   They can be to gather information for possible future legislation
•   They can be to get attention to an idea that has not yet won
    majority support

• In the Senate, when a committee votes out a bill, it goes directly
  onto the calendar, which specifies when the bill will be heard on
  the floor
• In the House, the bill goes directly to the Rules Committee
                      Rules Committee

• Control over procedure is control over policy. If you control the
  parliamentary procedure, you can often influence the outcome
• It gets a "rule" for debate in the House floor these rules specify
  how much time can be spent debating the bill and how many
  amendments can be added to the bill, amendments to what
  sections, in what order, ect.. This is a very political process
• What amendments, how long is debate, the order of motions,
  amendments, etc.
• Rules rarely stampedes large blocs of members (more subtle
  twists are more common).
• In the bad old days when Rules was independent of party
  leadership (pre-1961), the Rules Comm. regularly killed bills by
  refusing to grant them rules (esp. Civil Rights)
• Rules is now an arm of the leadership
Example of a Rule
                  Voting on Legislation

• Scheduling
   – House calendar--all major public measures (for current House
     floor proceedings see Office of the Clerk)
   – Consent calendar (non-controversial bills)
   – Private calendar (immigration requests or claims against the
• Rules for Debate
   – If there is an open rule, opponents may try to load down a bill
     with so many objectionable amendments that it will sink of its
     own weight.
   – The rules committee may also give the bill a "non-germane"
     open rule, meaning that irrelevant amendments can be added
     to the bill, which would practically kill the bill
   – the reverse strategy is to propose "sweetner" amendments
     that attract members' support
• Debate and Vote upon on the floor, with amendments, ect.
            Scheduling Debate (Senate)

• The Senate does not have a Rules Committee.
• Thus, the leaders of both parties routinely negotiate unanimous
  consent agreements (UCA’s) to arrange for the orderly
  consideration of legislation.
• UCA’s are similar to rules in that they limit time for debate,
  determine which amendments are allowable, and provide waivers
  of Senate rules. In the absence of a UCA, anything goes.
                 Process in the Senate

• Compared to the larger House which needs and adheres to well-
  defined rules, the Senate operates more informally
• In the Senate, filibusters (extended debates) are common, which
  members can effectively engage in to kill a bill
• Filibusters can be stopped by cloture which requires 60 votes
  (3/5ths called an extraordinary majority)
                 Conference Committee

• If passed it goes to the other house it may start over. More often,
  parallel bills have been working through
• The parallel bills go to conference committee. This is an ad-hoc
  committee which is solely created to resolve the differences
  concerning a specific bill
• Equal numbers of each; in proportion to party. They debate and
  may vote out a compromise bill
• If passed, the bill goes to both houses for a vote
                       The President

• He may sign it or veto it
• Holding it for 10 days while congress is in session is the same as
• Holding it for 10 days during which congress adjourns is a "pocket
  veto", which cannot be overridden
• to override a veto, 2/3's of both houses is required
The Process Reviewed

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