Study Guide CHAPTER 7: CONGRESS
Main Concepts:
• The Constitution and the Legislative Branch of Government
• How Congress is Organized
• The Members of Congress
• How Members Make Decisions
• The Law-making Function of Congress
• Congress and the President
• Congress and the Judiciary

The Constitution and the Legislative Branch of Government
Article I of the Constitution—
The Great Compromise—
bicameral legislature—
requirements for membership in the House and Senate—
term of office for Senators and staggered election—
how Senators elected under Article I—
Seventeenth Amendment—
term of office for members of U.S. House of Representatives—
how House members are elected and related expectations of the Framers
for the House—
size of House in 1790—
expansion of the House—
House membership set by statute in 1929—
average number of people in a House district in 2006—
The Powers of Congress (Table 7.1)—
powers constitutionally shared by both houses—
necessary and proper clause—
formal law-making power—
exclusive powers of each house—
role of the two houses in impeachment—
Senate’s sole power of “advise and consent”—
Wilson and the Treaty of Versailles—
Key Differences Between the House of Representatives and the Senate
(Table 7.2):
constitutional differences—
differences in operation—
changes in the institution—
How Congress is Organized
a new Congress is seated every ____ years—
among first items on agenda of new Congress—
hierarchical leadership structure—
Organizational Structure of the House of Representatives and the Senate in
the 110th Congress (Figure 7.1)—
The Role of Parties in Organizing Congress
The 110th Congress (Figure 7.2)—
The 111th Congress
majority party—
minority party—
role of parties regarding committees—
what happens at start of new Congress in party caucus or conference?—
Committee on Committees—
Steering Committee—
The House of Representatives
the first Congress in 1798—
more tightly organized, more elaborately structured, governed by stricter
loyalty to leader and party line votes—
the leadership: Speaker, majority and minority leaders, Republican and
Democratic House whips—
The Speaker of the House—
how elected—
elected by majority party—
duties of Speaker—
the first powerful House speaker—
new professionalism of House and Speaker—
House revolt in 1910 and 1911 against strong Speakers—
Newt Gingrich—
Dennis Hastert—
2006 election and Mark Foley scandal—
Minority-Party Rights in Congress—
Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2007—
Other House Leaders—
party caucus or conference—
majority leader—
were the two parties sit in the House chamber—
minority leader—
The Senate
presiding officer of the Senate, status and duties—
Dick Cheney—
official chair of the Senate—
how president pro tempore elected and his duties—
duty of presiding over Senate rotates—
majority leader of the Senate and duties—
majority leader’s power compared to Speaker’s power—
Senate rules give tremendous power to individual senators—
why called a “gentlemen’s club”?—
senators in the 1960s and 1970s—
majority leaders’ difficulty in controlling today’s Senate—
The Committee System
real legislative work of Congress takes place in committees—
bills moving through committee—
institutional committee system created in 1816—
Republican reorganization of committee structure in 1995—
House committees weakened since 1995—
House committee organization under Democratic control in 100th
Types of Committees:
standing committees—
joint committees—
conference committees—
select (or special) committees—
Committees of the 109th Congress (Table 7.3)—
House Committee on Rules—
power of standing committees—
discharge petition—
committee assignments in House and Senate—
framing legislation in House and Senate—
more individual input in Senate—
Committee Membership:
value of committee assignments to members—
value of public works programs to members—
value of membership on some committees to campaign
Appropriations and Budget Committees—
party distribution and committee membership—
share of committee membership for majority Democrats in 110th
Committee Chairs:
power and prestige—
role of seniority in selecting committee chairs in House and in
The Members of Congress
congressional careerists—
why some members of Congress do not seek reelection—
how former members of Congress can make a lot of money in private
former members of Congress as lobbyists—
constituencies that members of Congress must attempt to appease—
A Day in the Life of a Member of Congress (Table 7.4)—
Running for Office and Staying in Office
success of incumbents in reelection—
The Advantages of Incumbency (table 7.5)—
2006 election, incumbents, and scandal—
other reasons incumbents lost in 2006—
Congressional Demographics
general demographics of members of Congress—
 “Millionaires Club”—
minorities in 2007 in the House and Senate—
Barack Obama—
Female and Minority-Group Members of Congress, Selected Years
(Figure 7.3)—
Iraq veterans—
Theories of Representation
Edmund Burke—
minority representation in Congress—
studies regarding women in Congress—
How Members Make Decisions
members look to party leaders—
increase of party votes where majorities of the two parties took opposing
sides (from 1970 to mid-1990)—
unanimity of votes in 107th and 108th Congress—
election of George W. Bush and “harder edge” taken by House
voter discontent over Republican control of Congress and the 2006
midterm election results—
divided government—
percentage of voters in 2006 general election-day poll who stated a
preference for divided government—
how often do members vote in conformity with people in the districts?—
how members of Congress gauge constituents’ positions—
when do legislators act as trustee?—
when do legislators act as representatives, acting on voting cues?—
Colleagues and Caucuses
special-interest caucuses—
Interest Groups, Lobbyists, and Political Action Committees
primary functions of most lobbyists—
grassroots appeals—
do members of Congress tend to vote for interests of lobbyists who have
contributed to their campaigns and why?—
Staff and Support Agencies
members reliance on staff—
duties of staff—
committee staff—
influence of staff on voting—
Congressional Support Agencies (Table 7.6):
Congressional Research Service (CRS)—
Government Accountability Office (GAO)—
Congressional Budget Office (CBO)—
The Law-making Function of Congress
who can formally submit a bill for congressional consideration—
approximate number of bills introduced in 109th Congress—
approximate number of bills introduced in 109th Congress that were made
into law—
How a Bill Becomes a Law: The Textbook Version
How a Bill Becomes a Law (Figure 7.4)—
bill introduced—
sponsors and co-sponsors—
one role of clerk of House and of Senate—
three stages of bill becoming a law: committee, on the floor, when two
chambers approve different versions of the same bill—
first action, with the committee—
role of committee and subcommittee—
if bill returned to full committee—
second stage, on the House or Senate floor—
House Committee on Rules—
House budget bills—
Committee of the Whole—
actions taken on floor—
if bill survives—
third stage, when two chambers of Congress approve different versions of
same bill—
conference committee (a bill must pass both houses in the same language
to go to the president)—
no changes or amendments—
if bill passes—
four options of president regarding veto within the 10 days he has to
consider the bill—
pocket veto—
Congress and the President
the relationship before and after the 1930s—
The Shifting Balance of Power
post Civil War Congress—
impeachment of Andrew Johnson—
FDR presidency—
Congress cedes a major role in the legislative process—
critics of Congress—
the power void and George W. Bush’s claim to unprecedented power—
Bush refusal to honor congressional subpoenas—
search of member of Congress’s office by FBI—
Congressional Oversight of the Executive Branch
key to Congress’s performance of its oversight function—
committee hearings—
Republican Congress lessens oversight role of Congress after election of
President George W. Bush—
unprecedented decline in congressional oversight during Bush years—
changes in oversight role of Congress under Democratic Party controlled
Congress in 2007—
Congressional Review Act of 1996—
congressional review—
federal agency regulations and the Congressional Review Act—
Foreign Policy and National Security
division of foreign policy powers between the Congress and the
president under the Constitution—
War Powers Act of 1973—
limited effectiveness of War Powers Act—
2001 joint resolution authorizing president to use force against
concerns raised by Vietnam veterans over the 2001 open-ended
joint resolution—
troubling issue of oversight while nation waging war—
Senator Jay Rockefeller and Vice President Dick Cheney—
Confirmation of Presidential Appointments
Senate’s special oversight function—
confirmation of key members of executive branch and presidential
appointments to the federal courts—
what a wise president does before making controversial
Impeachment Process
ultimate oversight—
Constitution vague about impeachment—
treason, bribery, or other “high crimes and misdemeanors”
what did Framers intend?—
Hamilton in Federalist No. 65—
The Eight Stages of the Impeachment Process (Table 7.7)—
only four resolutions against presidents have resulted in further
1), 2), 3), 4)

Congress and the Judiciary
power of judicial review and the acts of Congress—
ways in which Congress can exercise control over the federal judiciary—
senatorial courtesy—
setting jurisdiction of federal courts—

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