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Politics of the United States
Gov Chapter 13 Unit Test
Terms in this set (23)
Summarize the differences between Congress and a parliament.
- a meeting, as of representatives from various places
-becomes a member through primary election
-made up of people who think of themselves as independent representatives of their districts or states and who, while willing to support their party on many matters, expect to vote as their beliefs and interests require
- can only make a decision whether or not to support government
-becomes a member through self persuasion
-made up of people loyal to the national party leadership who meet to debate and vote on party issues.
How come Congress is a decentralized institution and how come congress is inevitably unpopular with voters?
Congress has been toward decentralizing decision making and enhancing the power of the individual member at the expense of the congressional leadership.
Rules changes and the balance of power between the Speaker and committee chairmen. Summarize phases four-six.
Phase Four: The House Revolts - they revolt against the Speaker and try to remove him from the Rules Committee. Speaker's powers distributed to caucus, Rules Committee, and chairs of standing committees.
Phase Five: The Members Rule - Beginning the 1970s, committee chairs would no longer be selected by seniority, but by election through majority party. Chairpersons can't refuse to call committee meetings, and most had to be public. Subcommittees along with their chairs had to be created if not already.
Phase Six: The Leadership Returns - It was harder to get things done since every member had power.
How has the history and structure of the Senate meant that it would be different from the House of Representatives?
History shows that when the same party controls each chamber, the Senate is just as liberal as, and perhaps more liberal than the House. With the Senate structure and power is represented as a organization and decentralized power. There less disciplined and less centralized in the Senate in which senators has nearly same level of power than representatives. Also in the Senate is the Filibuster that is know for opponents the chance to speak on a bill as long as they want a unlimited debate that prevents Senators from voting on a bill.
Senate designed to satisfy small state demands for equality in policy making
What were the main issues in the development of the Senate and how were these issues settled?
- an attempt to defeat a bill in the Senate by talking indefinitely, thus preventing the Senate from taking action on the bill.
- provided that debate could be cut off if two-thirds of the senators present and voting agreed to a "cloture" motion.
Briefly summarize the trends in the sex and race members of Congress.
Congress has gradually become less male and white.
Women: 9 -> 75, African Americans: 2 -> 42
Senate: today there's 17 women, 4 African American chairs, 3 Latino chairs
What were the reasons that there were more new members to the House in early 1990s?
1. When congressional district lines were redrawn, a lot of incumbents were running in districts they couldn't carry.
2. Voter disgust at a variety of Washington political scandals ,made them receptive to appeals from candidates who are outsiders.
3. Republican victory in 1994 brought a lot of new faces.
How have more congressional districts become safer for incumbent reelection?
They live in _safe districts_ - districts in which incumbents win by margins of 55% or more
What are the possible explanations for Democratic domination in Congress from 1933-1994?
Democratic-controlled state legislatures redrew congressional district maps in ways that make it hard for Republicans to win House seats. "Virtually all the political science evidence to date indicates that the electoral system has little or no partisan bias, and that the new gains nationally from redistricting for one party over another are very small." Democrats were in the majority as incumbency grew.
Summarize the three theories of how members of Congress behave.
- based on the reasonable assumption that members want to get reelected, and therefore they vote to please their constituents.
- based on the equally reasonable assumption that since most constituents do not know how their legislator has voted, it is not essential to please them. But it is important to please fellow members of Congress, whose goodwill is valuable in getting things done and in acquiring status and power in Congress.
- based on the assumption that there are so many conflicting pressures on members of Congress that they cancel one another out, leaving them virtually free to vote on the basis of their own beliefs.
How has Congress become more ideologically partisan since the 1980s?
Many Southern Democrats in Congress have been replaced by Southern Republicans and the southern Democrats who remain as liberal are replaced by Northern Democrats
What are principal jobs and responsibilities in the party leadership in the Senate?
schedules the business of the Senate, usually in consultation with the minority leader.
helps the party leaders stay informed about what the party members are thinking, rounds up members when important votes are taken, and attempts to keep a nose count of how voting on a controversial issue is likely to go.
What are the powers of the Speaker of the House? How did Newt Gingrich change the structure of the house?
-Decides who shall be recognized to speak on the floor of the House, rules whether a motion is relevant and germane to the business at hand, and decides the committees to which new bills shall be assigned.
-Influences what bills are brought up for a vote and appoints the members of special and select committees.
-Controls some patronage jobs in the Capitol building and the assignment of extra office space.
How come members of each party are so polarized today?
What are caucuses?
- an association of congressional members created to advance a political ideology or a regional, ethnic, or economic interest. It keeps members informed and on occasion presses to put a member on a regular congressional committee that has no blacks.
Define the four different types of committees.
permanently established legislative committees that consider and are responsible for legislation within a certain subject area.
congressional committees appointed for a limited time and purpose
committees on which both senators and representatives serve.
joint committees appointed to resolve differences in the Senate and House versions of the same bill
How has the committee structure changed in the past 30 years? What has been the effect of these changes and how does having a larger staff create a demand for more staff?
What do CRS, GAO, OTA, and CBO do?
Congressional Research Service (CRS)
is politically neutral, responding to requests by members of Congress for information and giving both sides or arguments.
General Accountability Office (GAO)
investigates policies and makes recommendations on almost every aspect of government; its head, though appointed by the president for a 15-year-term, is very much the servant of Congress rather than the president.
Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
advises Congress on the likely impact of different spending programs and attempts to estimate future economic trends
How can a filibuster be broken? What do the changes for breaking a filibuster mean for trying to pass a bill in the Senate?
When 60% vote to end debate, of course a bill unpopular enough to support a filibuster should die.
Differences between House and Senate
- 435 members, 2 year terms
-only one major committee assignment, tending to be policy specialists
-Speaker referral to bills to committee is hard to challenge
-Committees consider legislation first
-Scheduling/Rules controlled by majority party
-Rules Committee:controls time of debate, admissibility of amendments
-Debate limited to an hour
-Nongermane amendments may not be introduced from floor
-100 members, 6 year terms
-2+ major committee assigments, tending to be policy generalists
-Referral decisions easy to challenge
-Committee consideration easily bypassed
-Scheduling and rules generally agreed to by majority/minority leaders
-Rules Committee:few limits on debate/amendments, but unlimited
-Nongermane amendments may be introduced
Powers given to House and Senate from the Constitution
-All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives (A1S1)
-The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present. (A1S3)
-All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills. (A1S7)
How have the Congressmen's power and perks been reduced?
the ability of members to mail letters to their constituents free of charge by substituting their facsimile signature for postage
Explain the arguments against "pork-barrel legislation". Do you agree or disagree with the author's assessment of "pork"?
legislation that gives tangible benefits to constituents in several districts or states in the hope of winning their votes in return.
According to the Third Amendment, when can soldiers be quartered in citizens' homes against the citizens' wills?
Personal work for constituents by members of Congress is referred to as
An appeal of a lower court decision is discretionary. a. True b. False
As a result of the War Powers Resolution in 1973, what was the time limit placed on the president's power to commit combat troops without Congressional authorization?
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