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Politics of the United States
United States Government - Legislature
Terms in this set (59)
What is a term of Congress? What term is congress currently in?
2 years. 112th session
What is a session of congress? What session is congress currently in?
1 year, 2nd session
For what reasons must congress be reapportioned every 10 years?
Increasing and decreasing populations in certain states taken by the U.S census
What is gerrymandering?
drawing district boundaries to favor a political party
drawing district boundaries to put as many of the opposition party into 1 district
Gerrymandering - Cracking
drawing district boundaries to spread the opposition party as thinly as possible amount all districts
What is the goal of gerrymandering?
the party drawing the district boundaries wins the most districts, therefor there party will control the government
Why is the Senate thought of as a continuous body?
1/3 of the senate is rotated every 2 years. each group tries to be re-elected every 6 years. all of its seats are never up for election at the same time.
How did the 17th amendment change the way senators are chosen?
It declares that all persons whom the State allows to vote for members of "the most numerous branch" of its legislature are qualified to vote for candidates for the United States Senate
Describe the typical member of congress
-Were born in the states they represent
-Went to college
-Have had alot of politica experience
-Most have served more than 1 term
-Upper middle class americans
Explain the principal duties a member of congress has
They are legilators, representatives of their constituents, committee members, servants of their constituents, and politicians.
Qualifications and Characteristics of the House of Representatives
Term = 2 years *can be relected infinite times
Members = 435
Qualifications: -25 years old -u.s.citizen for 7 years - inhabitant of the state they are elected from
Qualifications and Characteristics of the Senate
Term = 6 years *can be re-elected infinite times
Members = 100
Qualifications: -30 years old -u.s. citizen for 9 years -inhabitant of the state they are elected from
Adjective describing a legislative body composed of 2 chambers
people and interests an elected official represents
the current office holder
those delegated powers of the national government are spelled out, expressly in the constitution also called the enumerated powers.
Examples include. The power to tax, the borrowing power, the commerce power, the currency power, and the war powers.
The commerce powers
The power to regulate INTERSTATE and FOREIGN TRADE.
With whom does congress share its powers in the areas of foreign policy and war?
The chief executive (aka the president)
Identify the 7 war powers the constitution gives congress
2-raise and support armies
3-provide and maintain a navy
4-Make rules pertaining to the governing of land and naval forces
5-provide for the "calling forth the militia" and for the organizing, arming, and disciplining of it.
6-the power to grant letters of marque and reprisal
7-make rules concerning captures on land and water
What are the implied powers?
Delegated powers of the national government that are suggested by the expressed powers set out in the constitution. "those necessary and proper" to carry out the expressed powers
What is the relationship between the Necessary and Proper Clause and the implied powers?
The necessary and proper clause gives the implied powers the right to exist. It allows anything "necessary and proper" to be put into law to follow the expressed powers
list and briefly explain each of the nonlegislative powers of congress
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS: congress can propose an amendment by a 2/3rds vote in each house.
ELECTORAL DUTIES: may be called on to elect a president if nobody recieves a majority vote. senate would chose V.P.
IMPEACHMENT: a majority vote in the house and a 2/3rds vote in the senate to remove president, V.P., and all civil officers of the united states.~johnson/clinton/nixon
EXECUTIVE POWERS: Appointments to office and treaties made by the president.
INVESTIGATORY POWER: can investigate any matter that falls within the scope of its legislative powers. Through committees, sub committees and special committees.
Which chamber of congress has the power to impeach?
The House of Representatives
Which chamber of congress has the power to try those who are impeached?
What 2 executive powers and held by the senate?
-All major appointments made by the president must be confirmed by the senate
-accept or reject treaties from the president
Speaker of the House
1-interprets and applies the rules
2-refers bills to committee as well as names the members of all select committees
3-rules on points or order
4-puts motion towards a vote and he must sign all bills and resolutions passed by the house
5-decides the outcomes of most votes taken on the floor of the house
Majority and Minority Floor Leaders
legislative strategists, they try to carry out the decisions of their parties, caucuses, and steer floor action to their parties benefit.
Majority and Minority Whips
assistant floor leaders. chosen by the party caucus. they check with party members and tell the floor leader which members and how many votes can be counted on in a particular matter. they also keep attendance during important votes if there are absences
How are the people who fill these positions chosen?
by a popular vote
Whos is assigned the position of the President of the Senate
The vice president.
Who presides over the senate when the president cannot be there
The president pro tempore - elected by the senate - and is a leader of the majority party
How does the senate determine who the president pro tem is?
they elect him, and is always a member of the majority party, usually its longest serving member
How are committee chairmen chosen?
The majority party by the majority party caucus
What are committee chairmens duties?
decide when their committees will meet, which bilsl they will take up, whether they will hold public hearings, and what witnesses the committee should call. they manage the debate when a bill is brought to the floor
What is a standing committee and what is its function?
they take bills that refer to a special subject or matter, permanent panels, similar bills relating to eachother are sent there. there are currently 20 in the house and 17 in the senate.
What is a select committee
panels set up for a specific purpuse. and usually for a limited time. mostly formed to investigate a current matter
a committee formed by members of both houses
a temporary joing body created to iron out differences in a bill changed by both houses
What happens in a conference committee
They produce a compromised bill that both houses will accept
What are the advantages of being the majority part in either the house or the senate? (see teacher)
What is a bill?
a proposed law presented to the House of Representatives or Senate for consideration.
What is the difference between a public bill and a private bill?
PUBLIC BILL: apply to to the nation as a whole
PRIVATE BILL: apply to certain people or places
What does the clerk of the House do when a bill is introduced?
Numbers each bill as it is introduced. gives each bill a short title and a brief summary of its contents.
Who refers the bill to the appropriate standing committee?
The Speaker of the House
What happens to most bills when they reach the standing committee? what is the term to describe this?
They are rejected or "pigeonholed"
Most committees today do most of their work through thier _______
several subcommittees - divisions of existing committees formed to address specific issues.
Explain the role of public hearings and junkets in subcommittees
to gather information
junket = trip to a location affected by the measure.
What is a congressinal calandar?
What is a rule?
concept that holds that government and its officials are always subject to the law
What is a quorum?
least number of members who must be present for a legislative body to conduct business.
How are the rules for debate different in the House and Senate
The house has to limit the amount of time someone speaks on the floor due to its much larger number of members it contains. a member in the senate may only speak twice.
What is a filibuster? why is it used?
an attempt to "talk a bill to death", its goal is to keep talking until the bill is dropped or changed
explain the special procedure used to stop a filibuster called cloture
may be used to limit or end floor debate in a legislative body
why are many members of the senate reluctant to support cloture motions?
their dedication to the senates tradition of free debate and their pracitcal worry that the frequent use of cloture will undercut the value of the filibuster that they may some day want to use.
any law passed by congress must have been passed by both houses in
IDENTICAL - or the same. NOT different forms
if the house and senate pass different versions of the same bill, where does it go?
It goes to a conference committee a temporary joing committee of the 2 houses. it seeks to iron out the differences and come up with a compromise bill.
once a compromise bill has been written where does it go from there?
it is sent back to both the house of representatives and the senate to be approved or rejected by both of the houses. it is likely that both houses will approve the compromised bill created by the conference committee
when the president receives a bill passed by both houses of congress what does he need to do?
1-Signs the bill and it becomes a law
2-Veto's the bill, sends it back to congress and they may then pass it by a 2/3rds vote in each house
3-president may allow the bill to become a law without signing it, by not acting on within 10 days of recieving it
4-pocket veto, 10 days passes in which congress is in session and the presdient does not act on the bill, the bill then dies
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