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  The Capitol Building
The Capitol Building

   The architecture and floor plan of the Capitol building in
    Washington reflect the bicameral division of Congress
                   The Powers of Congress:
                                  Article I
Section One: bicameral     Section Four:
 legislature                 congressional election
Section Two: length of
 terms for House
 members and                Section Seven: how a
 qualifications for          bill becomes a law
                            Section Eight: powers
Section Three: selection    of the legislative branch
 of Senators, length of
                  Constitutional Foundations
                    of the Modern Congress

The framers of the Constitution were ambivalent about
 democracy and concerned about the possibility of government
Fear that power in the hands of a single individual would be
 abused and the people would suffer.
They wanted an energetic government, with the legislative
 branch as the center of policymaking.
Yet they also limited Congressional power

     bicameralism                    habeas corpus
     bills of attainder              separation of powers
     ex post facto laws              checks and balances
        Drawing the District Lines
  Established through the Great Compromise
  Seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are apportioned
   to the states on the basis of their population after every ten-
   year census and on equal representation in the Senate.
  In the 1910 census, the House limited the total number of
   districts to 435, so now some states gain and some states lose
   each time we count.
  Unequal numbers of people in legislative districts resulting
   in inequality of voter representation.
    Drawing the District Lines
  Every district has roughly 650,000 people, except states
  like Wyoming which has only 580,000
  Every state is guaranteed at least one member.
  When the census is final each state is told how many
  districts it now has—then state legislatures draw district lines
   To accommodate population shifts and to keep districts as
  equal as possible
  When districts are drawn to help or hurt a political party,
  group or incumbent
       Congressional Elections
Congressional Elections
Where Representatives
 and Senators are Elected
Predicting Congressional
The 2010 Congressional
  The Campaigns
  Election Day
  Explaining The Results
                 Representation and
Styles of representation
  two principal styles of representation in
    Delegate theory
    Trustee theory
  Senators (who have longer terms of office)
   usually have more latitude than
   representatives to assume the trustee
                  The Job of the Legislator

Legislators as Representatives
Legislators as Lawmakers
  Policy and Philosophical Convictions
  Congressional colleagues (other legislators)
  Congressional Staff
  Interest Groups
  The President
                      Quick Assessment
List 5 influential agents on legislators that
  shape their lawmaking decisions.
 Race, Gender and Occupation
                 in Congress
  African Americans
  dominance of law, business, and banking
  lack of blue-collar representation
Is it important that Congress be demographically
 representative of the American people?
Diversity in
Reapportionment, 2010
Advantages of Incumbency
            How Congress Works
Congress remains the most influential
 and independent legislature among
 Western democratic nations.

    Political Parties in Congress
At the opening of each new Congress,
 parties in the two houses hold caucuses
 to organize their legislative business
 and select their leadership.
    Political Parties in Congress
Party composition of Congress
Party voting in Congress
Party discipline
       Congressional Leadership
The political parties work through the
 leadership structure of Congress.
Leaders of the majority political party are
 also the leaders of the House and Senate.
       Congressional Leadership
Leading the House    Leading the Senate
• Speaker of the     • President pro tempore
  House              • Majority leader
• Majority Leaders
• Minority Leaders   • Minority leader
• Whips              • Whips
• House Rules        • Individual senators
  Committee            have power
  • Closed             • Filibuster
  • Open               • Cloture
           Organization of Congress

Minority Leader                         Majority Leader

                  Steering     Policy

     Democratic Conference   Republican Caucus
           Managing Congress (continue)
Types of Committees
Choosing Committee Members
  The Role of Seniority
Investigations and Oversight
The Special Role of Conference Committees
             Legislative oversight of
              the executive branch
               (Bureaucratic Oversight &
Reviewing the performance of executive
 branch agencies to ensure that laws are being
 properly administered and that power is not
 being abused
Primarily managed by the committees and
Special committees may conduct investigations
 or hold hearings, such as Supreme Court
 confirmation hearings
Hearings are an important part of the process.
      Congressional Committees
Most of the work of Congress takes place in
 its committees and subcommittees.
Why Congress has committees
Types of committees
  standing committees
  select committees
  joint committees
  conference committees
Committee assignments
Committee and subcommittee chairs
                                   Congressional Standing
                                   and Select Committees
House                     Senate                             Joint Committees

Agriculture               Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Economics
Appropriations            Appropriations                       Printing
Armed Services            Armed Services                       Taxation
Budget                    Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs On the Library
Ed. and the Workforce     Budget
Energy and Commerce       Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Financial Services        Energy and Natural Resources
Government Reform         Environment and Public Works
House Administration      Finance
International Relations   Foreign Relations
Judiciary                 Governmental Affairs
Resources                 Health, Education, and Pensions
Rules                     Indian Affairs
Science, Space & Tech.    Judiciary
                                    Congressional Standing
                                    and Select Committees

House                               Senate                 Joint Committees

Select Intelligence                 Rules and Administration
Small Business                      Select Ethics
Standards of Official Conduct       Select Intelligence
Transportation and Infrastructure   Small Business
Veterans’ Affairs                   Special Aging
Ways and Means                      Veterans’ Affairs
                               Rules and Norms
 Until recently, many norms guided the behavior of members of
 Congress. Members were supposed to specialize in a small number of
 issues, defer to members with longer tenure in office, never criticize
 anyone personally, and wait their turn to speak and introduce legislation.

  bills scheduled by unanimous
  filibuster & cloture
  more rule-bound
  more hierarchical
The Legislative Obstacle Course
           Legislative Responsibilities:
            How a Bill Becomes a Law
It is extremely difficult to make law
 because it is relatively easy to block
 bills from becoming laws.
Only about 6 percent of all bills that
 are introduced are enacted into law.
    Legislative Responsibilities:
     How a Bill Becomes a Law
Introducing a bill
Committee action and review
Floor action
  Floor Debate and Passage
Conference committee
  The Importance of Compromise
Presidential action
  sign into law
  pocket veto
                 Quick Assessment
List the different types of
 congressional committees
                       Quick Assessment
List in chronological order how a bill becomes
  a law
                         Conference committee
                         Introducing bill in the
 2.                       House & Senate
 3.                      Floor Debate and
 4.                       Passage
 5.                      Subcommittee hearings
                         Executive action
                         Committee action
                       Quick Assessment
List 3 similarities and 3 differences between
 the      House        and      Senate
  1.                     1.
  2.                     2.
  3.                     3.
  1.                     1.
  2.                     2.
  3.                     3.
        Congress: An Assessment and
                   a View on Reform
Congress as Policymaker
  Frequent criticisms of Congress
  Yet, the evidence is mixed

Other Criticisms of Congress
  Congress is Inefficient
  Congress is Unrepresentative
     Congress: An Assessment and
                a View on Reform
Other Criticisms of Congress
  Congress is Unethical
  Congress Lacks Collective Responsibility
A Defense of Congress
  Americans tend to approve of their own
   representatives and senators, but have low
   regard for Congress as an institution
Congressional Approval
                 Difference Between the House of
                 Representatives and the Senate
House                             Senate
Two-year terms                    Six-year terms
435 members                       100 members
Smaller constituencies            Larger constituencies
Less personal staff               More personal staff
Equal populations represented     States represented
Less flexible rules               More flexible rules
Limited debate                    Extended debate
More policy specialists           Policy generalists
Less media coverage               More media coverage
Less prestige                     More prestige
Less reliance on staff            More reliance on staff
More powerful committee leaders   More equal distribution of power
                  Difference Between the House of
                  Representatives and the Senate
House                        Senate

Very important committees    Less important committees
20 major committees          20 major committees
Nongermane amendments        Nongermane amendments
(riders) not allowed         (riders) not allowed
Important Rules Committee    Special treaty ratification power
Some bills permit no floor   Special “advise and consent”
Amendments (closed rule)     confirmation power
                             Filibuster allowed
A Day in the Life of a Member

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