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American Government Unit 4 Legislative
Terms in this set (49)
Bicameral legislature - reasons why created?
It was created so that one group doesn't not have all the power and control everything.
Terms of Congress
two-year period of time during which Congress meets
Sessions of Congress
period of time each year during which Congress assembles and conducts business
What is a constituent?
the current officeholder
House characteristics - size and terms
435 members and 2 years
What is the purpose of gerrymandering?
The drawing of electoral district lines to the advantage of a party or group. They do it to have an advantage of the political party that controls the State's legislature. They do it to limit the opponent's chance of winning.
Wesbury v. Sanders
It demanded that the States draw congressional districts o substantially equal populations, rather than by voters for a party. It redrew the lines
The drawing of electoral district lines to the advantage of a party or group.
the process of drawing United States electoral district boundaries. In 32 states, the state legislature has primary responsibility for creating a redistricting plan, in many cases subject to approval by the state governor.
the process of drawing United States electoral district boundaries, often in response to population changes determined by the results of the decennial census
Reapportionment Act of 1929
1. Following each census, the Census Bureau is to determine the number of seats each State should have.
2. Following each census, the Census Bureau is to determine the number of seats each State should have.
3. When the Bureau's plan is ready, the President must send it to Congress.
4. If, within 60 days of receiving it, neither house rejects the Census Bureau's plan, it becomes effective.
Qualifications of HOR
1. at least 25 years old
2. US citizen for at least 7 years
3. resident of state you are representing
Qualifications of Senate
1. at least 30 years old
2. US citizen for at least 9 years
3. resident of state you are representing
Senate characteristics - size and terms
100 members and 6 years
Speaker of the House
the presiding officer of the House of Representatives, chosen by and from the majority party in the House. Nearly all of the Speaker's powers revolve around two duties: to preside and to keep order. The Speaker chairs most sessions of the House but often appoints another member as temporary presiding officer. No member may speak until he or she is recognized by the Speaker. The presiding officer also interprets and applies the rules, refers bills to committee, rules on points of order (questions of procedure raised by members), puts motions to a vote, and decides the outcome of most votes taken on the floor of the House. (The Speaker can be overridden by a vote of the House, but that almost never happens.) The Speaker also names the members of all select and conference committees and must sign all bills and resolutions passed by the House. the Speaker may debate and vote on any matter before that body. That seldom happens, but when it does, the Speaker appoints another member as the temporary presiding officer and he or she then occupies the Speaker's chair. The Speaker does not often vote, and the House rules say only that the Speaker must vote to break a tie.
President of Senate
the presiding officer of a senate; in Congress, the Vice President of the United States; in a State's legislature, either the lieutenant governor or a senator. This means that (1) unlike the House, the Senate does not choose its own presiding officer and (2) unlike the Speaker of the House, the Senate's presiding officer is not in fact a member of that body. Indeed, the Vice President might not even be a member of the party that controls the Senate. The president of the Senate does have the usual powers of a presiding officer: to recognize members, put questions to a vote, and so on. However, the Vice President cannot take the floor to speak or debate and may vote only to break a tie.
fewest number of members who must be present for a legislative body to conduct business; majority
the legislative leader selected by the majority party who helps plan party strategy, confers with the other party leaders, and tries to keep members of the party in line
the legislative leader selected by the minority party who helps plan party strategy, confers with the other party leaders, and tries to keep members of the party in line
whip assistants to the floor leaders in the House and Senate, responsible for monitoring and marshaling votes
President Pro Tempore
the member of the United States Senate, or of the upper house of a State's legislature, chosen to preside in the absence of the president of the Senate
Senators have to be elected by voters in each state at regular November elections, rather than State Legislators. Only one senators is elected in any election. They are at-large election.
Power of the purse - tax, purposes
Tax- taking public money for government use. Pays for many public services that serve
and protect citizens. (Schools, Roads,
Borrowing power- limits?
Borrowing involves:using money to finance projects that are not in the budget. There is no Constitutional ceiling on how much can be borrowed. Borrowing leads to debt.
Importance of commerce power - limits?
No enumerated power has justified more exercises of congressional power than the power to "regulate commerce among the several states"
Gibbons v. Ogden
New Jersey tried to stop Gibbons from
competing with them in ferrying passengers
The power to coin money
1. Coining money = determining the types of currency to use and to make it
2. Regulating its worth
In the past, they backed the bills with precious metals (silver, gold, platinum), thus given it value. Basically, you could (in theory) trade it in for certain amount of silver or gold.
"Congress shall form uniform laws concerning bankruptcy..."
Congress has passed laws that protect both creditors and debtors.
What are the key sources of Congress's foreign relations power?
Expressed Powers of Constitution, War Powers, Inherent Powers
War power - who do they share this with?
Congress shares power with the Chief Executive. Only Congress can declare war.
Copyrights and patents - what role does Congress play with them?
Congress shall promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts by securing...exclusive Right to their respective writings and Discoveries." They give copyright and patents and protects their right. Copyright-
Exclusive right to an author for the publication and resale of their work. Length: Good for life plus 70 years. Patent- Exclusive right to a person to manufacture, use, or sell any new invention. Length: 20 years
Impeachment process within Congress
A majority of the members of the House must vote for these charges in order to impeach the president. Then need a 2/3 vote of congress.
Necessary and Proper Clause - why have it?
Congress has power to
"make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or office thereof."
Provides vitality and adaptability
Roles and positions of the Speaker of the House
The presiding officer of the House of Representatives, chosen by and from the majority party in the House. His job is to preside and to keep order. The Speaker chairs most sessions of the House but often appoints another member as temporary presiding officer. No member may speak until he or she is recognized by the Speaker. The presiding officer also interprets and applies the rules, refers bills to committee, rules on points of order (questions of procedure raised by members), puts motions to a vote, and decides the outcome of most votes taken on the floor of the House. (The Speaker can be overridden by a vote of the House, but that almost never happens.) The Speaker also names the members of all select and conference committees and must sign all bills and resolutions passed by the House.
Roles and positions of the President of the Senate
the presiding officer of a senate; in Congress, the Vice President of the United States; in a State's legislature, either the lieutenant governor or a senator
Significance of Committees
Committees help to organize the most important work of Congress — considering, shaping, and passing laws to govern the nation
House rules committee
It controls the flow of bills to the floor and sets the conditions for their consideration there. So many measures are introduced in the House each term that some sort of screening device is absolutely necessary. Most bills die in the committees. So, before most of these bills can reach the floor of the House, they must also clear the Rules Committee. A bill gets to the floor only if it has been granted a rule—been scheduled for floor consideration—by the Rules Committee.
Unanimous consent agreements
Unanimous consent, by definition means that everyone involved or voting agrees on the decision being made. No one is opposed to the motion or decision. The Senate often utilizes unanimous consent agreements (UCAs) for a number of reasons. This could be to create special rules for deliberating over a piece of legislation, quickly deciding an issue without taking a full vote, or to enact joint sessions of congress. UCAs are used on a regular basis because they are easier than requiring a full vote, because if there are no objects on the issue then it is clear that the motion would pass a full vote anyway.
a stalling tactic in which senators monopolize the Senate floor with talk and other delays so a bill cannot be brought to a vote
a procedure to limit or end floor debate, especially during a filibuster
Standing committees in Congress?
They are permanent committee in a legislative body to which bills in a specified subject area are referred. The standing committees act as sieves. They sift through all of the many bills referred to them—rejecting most, considering and reporting only those they find to be worthy of floor consideration. In short, the fate of most bills is decided in these committees rather than on the floor of either house.
It is legislative committee composed of members of both houses. Some joint committees are investigative in nature and issue periodic reports to the House and Senate
It is temporary joint committee created to reconcile any differences between the two houses' versions of a bill. Its job is to produce a compromise bill that both houses will accept.
Bill vs. Resolution
Bill is a proposed law presented to a legislative body for consideration. Resolution is a measure relating to the business of either house of Congress or expressing an opinion; does not have the force of law and does not require the President's signature
Presidents' role in bill process
1. Sign and pass the bill—the bill becomes a law.
2. Refuse to sign, or veto, the bill—the bill is sent back to the U.S. House of Representatives, along with the President's reasons for the veto. If the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate still believe the bill should become a law, they can hold another vote on the bill. If two-thirds of the Representatives and Senators support the bill, the President's veto is overridden and the bill becomes a law.
3. Do nothing (pocket veto)—if Congress is in session, the bill automatically becomes law after 10 days. If Congress is not in session, the bill does not become a law.
Measures applying to the nation as a whole
Measures applying to certain persons or places rather than an entire nation
Iron triangles (sub -governments)
• Legislative committee
• Interest group
• Bureaucratic agency
The policymaking process is a long a difficult process, explain the major steps in how a bill becomes law/legislative process. - see handout from class, 20 points
Introduction: law wanted by people, have representative research and write bill
House and the introduces it. Introduced in House - Legislation is handed to the clerk of the House or placed in the hopper. Introduced in senate- Members must gain recognition of the presiding officer to announce the introduction of a bill during the morning hour. If any senator objects, the introduction of the bill is postponed until the next day.
Committee: The bill is referred to the appropriate committee by the Speaker of the House or the presiding officer in the Senate. Bills are placed on the calendar of the committee to which they have been assigned. Failure to act on a bill is equivalent to killing it. (pigeonhole) Bills in the House can only be released from committee without a proper committee vote by a discharge petition signed by a majority of the House membership (218 members).
Steps in Committee:
Comments about the bill's merit are requested by government agencies.
Bill can be assigned to subcommittee by Chairman.
Hearings may be held.
Subcommittees report their findings to the full committee.
Finally there is a vote by the full committee - the bill is "ordered to be reported."
A committee will hold a "mark-up" session during which it will make revisions and additions. If substantial amendments are made, the committee can order the introduction of a "clean bill" which will include the proposed amendments. This new bill will have a new number and will be sent to the floor while the old bill is discarded. The chamber must approve, change or reject all committee amendments before conducting a final passage vote.
In the House, most bills go to the Rules committee before reaching the floor. The committee adopts rules that will govern the procedures under which the bill will be considered by the House. A "closed rule" sets strict time limits on debate and forbids the introduction of amendments. These rules can have a major impact on whether the bill passes. The rules committee can be bypassed in three ways:
Members can move rules to be suspended (requires 2/3 vote)
A discharge petition can be filed
The House can use a Calendar Wednesday procedure.
Legislation is placed on the Calendar
House: Bills are placed on one of four House Calendars. The Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader decide what will reach the floor and when. (Legislation can also be brought to the floor by a discharge petition.)
Senate- Legislation is placed on the Legislative Calendar. There is also an Executive calendar to deal with treaties and nominations. Scheduling of legislation is the job of the Majority Leader. Bills can be brought to the floor whenever a majority of the Senate chooses.
House- Debate is limited by the rules formulated in the Rules Committee. The Committee of the Whole debates and amends the bill but cannot technically pass it. Debate is guided by the Sponsoring Committee and time is divided equally between proponents and opponents. The Committee decides how much time to allot to each person. Amendments must be germane to the subject of a bill - no riders are allowed. The bill is reported back to the House (to itself) and is voted on. A quorum call is a vote to make sure that there are enough members present (218) to have a final vote. If there is not a quorum, the House will adjourn or will send the Sergeant at Arms out to round up missing members.
Senate- debate is unlimited unless cloture is invoked. Members can speak as long as they want and amendments need not be germane - riders are often offered. Entire bills can therefore be offered as amendments to other bills. Unless cloture is invoked, Senators can use a filibuster to defeat a measure by "talking it to death."
Vote - the bill is voted on. If passed, it is then sent to the other chamber unless that chamber already has a similar measure under consideration. If either chamber does not pass the bill then it dies. If the House and Senate pass the same bill then it is sent to the President. If the House and Senate pass different bills they are sent to Conference Committee. Most major legislation goes to a Conference Committee.
Members from each house form a conference committee and meet to work out the differences. The committee is usually made up of senior members who are appointed by the presiding officers of the committee that originally dealt with the bill. The representatives from each house work to maintain their version of the bill.
If the Conference Committee reaches a compromise, it prepares a written conference report, which is submitted to each chamber.
The conference report must be approved by both the House and the Senate.
The bill is sent to the President for review.
A bill becomes law if signed by the President or if not signed within 10 days and Congress is in session.
If Congress adjourns before the 10 days and the President has not signed the bill then it does not become law ("Pocket Veto.")
If the President vetoes the bill it is sent back to Congress with a note listing his/her reasons. The chamber that originated the legislation can attempt to override the veto by a vote of two-thirds of those present. If the veto of the bill is overridden in both chambers then it becomes law.
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