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Congress

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					 Congress

Organization
  Bicameral Legislature
Two houses make up the US
Congress- the House of
Representatives and the
Senate.
  When Congress Meets
Terms
  Congressional terms start
 on January 3 rd of odd-

 numbered years and last
 for two years.
Sessions
  Each term has two sessions
 that last one year each and
 includes breaks.
  The modern day Congress
 meets from January till
 November/December.
Congress remains in session
until members vote to adjourn.
Neither the House nor the Senate
can adjourn without the approval
of the other for more than three
days.
The President can all it back at
any time for a special session.
The House of Representatives
Qualifications
 Must be:
   At least 25 years old
   A citizen for at least seven
  years
 A legal resident of the state
that elects them.
 Death or resignation allows
a governor to appoint a
temporary representative
until a special election can
be held.
Term of Office
  Elected to two-year terms in
 the November of even
 numbered years.
    This means every two
   years the entire House is up
   for reelection.
90 % reelection rate for
members of the House
Representation and
Reapportionment
 The Census
   Every ten years the census is
  taken and the number of
  representatives is for each state
  is assigned in a process called
  reapportionment.
Reapportionment Act of
1929
  Limited House
 membership to 435
 representatives
Redistricting
  After each state finds out
 how many representatives it
 is to get the state legislature
 sets up congressional districts
 through a process known as
 redistricting.
Legal Challenges
  Districts can be “rigged” to
 favor one group or another
 so issues have arisen that
 have had to be settled by the
 courts.
Baker v. Carr
–USSC case that said
 federal courts could
 decide conflicts over
 drawing district
 boundaries.
Reynolds v. Sims
–USSC case where it was
 ruled that apportionment
 must be done on a basis of
 population.
Wesberry v. Sanders
–USSC case where the courts
 ruled that the “one person,
 one vote” principle should
 apply and that all districts
 should have approximately
 the same population.
Gerrymandering
  The idea that political parties
 in power in the state
 government draws boundaries
 to favor their political party.
  Leads to irregularly shaped
 districts.
Packing
–The drawing of lines so that
 the majority of one parties
 voters are in one district,
 making majority candidates
 in other districts more likely
 to win.
Cracking
–Dividing an opponents
 voters into several
 districts to weaken their
 voting base.
         The Senate
Qualifications
 Must be:
   30 years old
   Citizen of the US for 9 years
   Legal resident of the state they
  represent.
Term of Office
  Elected in November of even
 numbered years to 6-year terms.
  Every two year 1/3 of the Senate
 is up for reelection.
  Death or resignation allows a
 governor to appoint a new Senator
 to fulfill the term or hold a special
 election.
    Salaries, Benefits, and
  Privileges of the Congress
Salaries
  The Congress set their own
 salaries- currently at about
 $136,700 (1998)
Benefits
 Franking Privilege
   Congressmen receive free
  postage for official
  business- especially helpful
  come campaign time.
Allowances
  Congressmen given money to
 pay for staff, trips home, and
 communications.
Taxes
  Given income tax deduction
 for maintaining two residences.
  Retirement
    Eligible for pensions of
   $150,000 or more
Privileges
  Congressmen are
    Free from arrest while
   conducting legislative duties.
 Free from lawsuit for anything
said on the floor of the
Congress
 Removal from Congress
Exclusion
 Both houses may judge an
 elected officials qualification
 and refuse to seat them by
 majority vote.
Punishment
 A majority vote can punish a
 member.
Expulsion
 Can occur for a serious
 offense and with a two-thirds
 vote.
Censure
 A vote for formal
 disapproval of member’s
 actions.
 The Members of Congress
Who makes up Congress
 535 voting members (100
 Senators plus 435
 Representatives)
 5 delegates sit in the House who
 cannot vote
 1 each from Washington
D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam,
America Samoa, and the
Virgin Islands.
  Characteristics of
   Congressmen
½ are lawyers
Typically white middle-
aged males with an
average age of 50+.
          Reelection
Incumbents (those already in
office) have a 90% reelection rate
Why?
  Political Action Committees
  (P.A.C.’s)
  Raise substantial campaign
 funds for incumbents
Gerrymandering
  Rigged district in an
 incumbents favor
Visibility
  Better known to public
Work
 They have the power to get
things done for the voters.

				
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posted:8/18/2012
language:English
pages:35