What happens when a member of Congress introduces a piece of legislation?
The bill is assigned a number, labeled with the sponsor's name , sent to the Government Printing office and it is assigned to a committee
What are the four forms that legislation may take?
A bill, a joint resolution, a concurrent resolution & a simple resolution
What is the difference between an authorization bill and an appropriation bill?
An authorization bill establishes a program, while an appropriation bill assigns funding for the program
What are three different kinds of funding laws?
Mandatory, discretionary & continuing resolution
Who has the most power in deciding which bills a committee will consider?
The committee chairman
What committee holds hearings on nominations for Federal judgeships?
The Senate Judiciary Committee
What is a markup session?
A meeting of the committee in which member propose changes to the bill
Who are lobbyists and what do they do?
Lobbyists represent special interest groups that try to influence legislation (and sometimes activities of the executive branch)
Who often gets left out in the cold when Congress is considering legislation?
How many bills are introduced during a Congress, and how many get voted on?
As many as 9000 bills are introduced, which only a few hundred get voted on!
If a bill passes both houses of Congress, but in different forms, what happens?
It goes to a conference committee made up of members of both houses. They come up with a final version which must be voted on again by both houses
What is a filibuster?
An attempt by a minority of Senators to delay action by holding the Senate floor and talking (and it doesn't have to be directly related to what they are opposing)
What rule allows for a vote to end debate?
Cloture - if 3/5 (60) of the Senators vote to end the debate, then it is over
What are pork barrel amendments?
Bills or parts of bills that fund programs of special interest to one or more members of Congress
How do members of congress trade votes to get bills passed?
Two members might agree to vote for each other's bills to help both get passed
What are the three options that a President has when Congress passes a bill and sends it to him?
1. To sign it
2. To Veto it and return it to Congress
3. A pocket veto, which is to hold it for ten days without signing it
What are sources of revenue that Congress may impose?
Taxes, duties, imposts and excises
What are the two most common ways that the Federal government borrows money?
By issuing US Savings bonds and Treasury notes and by borrowing from banks and foreign investors
In what realms is Congress authorized to regulate commerce?
Commerce with other nations, between the states, and with Indian tribes
What are the powers of Congress related to the military?
Congress has the power to declare war, to raise and pay the military, to make rules governing what the military can do, and to call up state militias for Federal service
What are letters of marquee and reprisal?
Letters authorizing private citizens to seize the goods of a foreign party or nation in retaliation for what that other party has done to the US or to a US citizen
What geographic area does Congress govern?
The District of Columbia
What is the significance of the "Necessary and Proper" clause?
It has allowed Congress significant latitude in the laws it passes and the areas in which it acts
What is a writ of habeas corpus?
A statement by an arresting authority telling why a person is being held
What is a bill of attainder?
A law that declares a person to be guilty without giving him a trial
What is an ex post facto law?
A law declaring an act to be a crime after it has already happened
What amendment changed the taxes that Congress could impose?
Who sold his books to get the Library of Congress started again after a fire destroyed its holdings?
What are some limitations on the states?
States may not impose import duties, print their own currency, make a treaty with a foreign govt, or engage in war (unless attacked by a foreign power)
Why did John Marshall say that the creation of the Bank of the United States was constitutional?
Because it was an appropriate means of carrying out the responsibility to regulate commerce
Why did Marshall say that the Maryland tax on the bank was unconstitutional?
Because it placed a Federal institution (the Bank) under the authority of a state
What does the term impeachment mean?
To accuse of wrongdoing
What are the roles of the House and Senate in impeachment?
The House impeaches the Senate tries the impeachment case
What does the phrase "high crimes and misdemeanors" mean?
This is a matter of debate. Some say it means any indictable offense, while others say it means wrongdoing specifically related to the office being held
What is the limit or penalty for being found guilty of impeachment charges?
Removal from office and disqualification from holding any other public office
What kind of officials have been impeached or investigated for impeachment?
A Senator, Federal judges, a Cabinet officer, and Presidents
What three Presidents have been most directly affected by impeachment proceedings, and what was the outcome in each?
Johnson and Clinton were found not guilty in their trials; Nixon resigned after the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment against him