Congress -gov test
Terms in this set (89)
What is the most important function of congress?
Congressperson's offer to support a fellow member's bill in exchange for that that member's support on his future bill
Logrolling is often influenced by the pursuit of _________
A bill that directs federal funds to be spent on a project that provides benefit to a home district
When members of congress assist constituents in dealings with other gov agencies
"casework" (service to constituents)
role when congresspersons intercede with other gov agencies for constituents (voters) in need
Ombudsperson role (gr8 PR)
members of congress also function as reps of the view of the elecctorate
the representative function
legislators act as trustees of whole society; vote according to best interest of country
The Trustee View of Representation
congresspersons act with constituents in mind
the instructed-delegate view of representation
congress considers needs of interest groups/campaign contributors
congress is hijacked by special interest; doesn't consider needs of country or constituents
congress makes the laws,the executive branch and its agencies enforce the laws
the oversight function
process by which congress follows up on the laws- ensure laws are enforce and administered properly
3 Methods of oversight:
1. research-investigate matter
2. changing the size of agency budget
3. cross-examining high level agency heads
congress's public discussion about issues it wants the public to be aware of
the public-education function
3 methods of public-education:
1. holding public hearings
2. publicly exercising oversight over another govs bureaucracy
3. engaging in committee and floor debate
congress's determination of which public policy questions are publicly considered
The House is larger than the senate with ____ voting members. The senate is smaller with ____ members
gave Washington DC 3 non-voting members in the house (438)
who elects senators?
the entire state
each district elects....?
the 6 smallest population states have only __ reps in the house of reps
_______ can initiate impeachment proceedings
what percent of votes are needed to impeach in the house?
only the ____ can impeach officials
what fraction must vote to impeach an official in the senate?
The house is ___ times larger than the senate
what is the time limit for debate in the senate?
unlimited debate designed to stall action on a particular bill
shutting down debate on bill
The only way to kill a filibuster is thru _____ ____ __
Senate Rule 22
3 parts of senate rule 22 and cloture:
1. 16 or more senators sign a petition requesting cloture
2. 3/5ths of senate (60 votes) for cloture
3. after cloture invoked: senators speak max of 1 hr before passage vote takes place
the deliberate interference with the progress of legislation, often by means of a filibuster
an amount above 50.1% needed to accomplish a political objective
a supermajority of _____ is needed to invoke cloture in the case of overcoming a filibuster
a supermajority of ____ is needed in the senate to ratify a treaty
when does obstructionism reach its peak?
after midterm elections, when a prez typically loses support in both chambers of congress
congressional candidates run against members of same party to have party label for general election
senate elections occur every __ yrs with _____ of the senate seats up for grabs
2 year....1/3rd of seats
direct election of senators
general elections in the house-
reps serve 2 yr terms. Elections for House seats occur every 2 yrs
these fall out on even-numbered yrs btwn presidential elections
2 characteristics of mid-term elections:
1. voter-turn falls sharply
2. the party controlling the white house usually loses seats in congress
when do mid-term elections fall out?
even-numbered yrs btwn prez elections
why does party controlling the white house lose seats?
dissatisfaction with presidents performance
previous office holder
What are the term limits on legislators?
no term limit
distribution of seats in House to each state after each census
how often is a census taken to determine population for new reapportionment?
every 10 yrs
How many reps did CA gain in 1990?
How many reps do the 6 states with the lowest pop get?
a proposal to increase the size of US House of Rep so that the Rep-to-population ratio would be of the smallest unit
The Wyoming Rule
Based on the current census, the required increase in House size to implement the wyoming rule would be ____.
redrawing district boundaries within each state after Congressional reapportionment
who draws up the district boundaries in each state?
Reynolds challenged the Alabama legislature's creation of districts of equal land-size without regard to pop differences within the districts
Reynolds vs Sims (1964)
what did the court hold in the Reynold vs Sims case?
Alabama redistricting method is unconstitutional under the 14th amend. Legislators represent ppl, NOT trees or acres of land. Pop in each district must be roughly equal.
When a state legislature draws district boundary lines for the sole purpose of obtaining a political advantage.
What was the result of the Davis vs Bandemer (1986) case?
the court held that gerrymandering could be found unconstitutional if it was proven that certain voters were unfairly deprived on influence at the polls. (14th amend-equal protection)
Dep of justice orders state legislatures to re-draw district lines to maximize voting power of minorities.
are "minority-majority districts constitutional?
in the 1990s the supreme court declared districts drawn solely for racial consideration violates the equal protection clause of the constitution.
The court forced ____ and ____ _____ to redraw several districts
Texas & north carolina
what was the average pay of congresspersons in 2001?
what are the benefits of congresspersons?
free health care, special tax considerations, travel allowences, profesh staff
this allows congressmen to send material through the mail free
what are congresspersons immune from?
misdemeanors, not felonies
what is the "speech and debate clause"?
congresspersons cant be charged with slander for any statements made regarding official duties.
what do the committees study bills for?
to determine its effectiveness and efficiency (will it work? cost effective?)
what are standing committees?
most important, permanent committees, that have specific area of legislative policy jurisdiction
what are some examples of committees?
Energy, Ways and Means, agriculture
How many committees are House members in? Senators?
what are select committees?
temporary, on individual basis. once the matter is solved, committee is abolished.
made up of members from both chambers (house and senate)
what is the purpose of conference committees?
to iron out differences in proposed legislation
Who heads the House Rules committee?
speaker of the house
what is the "gatekeeping committee" in the house?
House Rules committee
what powers does the gatekeeping committee have?
1. decide when a bill is voted on
2. set time limits on debates
2. decide how a bill may be amended
4. propose legislation on its own
Who makes all standing committee assignments for Democrats?
Steering and Policy Committee
Who makes all standing committee assignments for Republicans?
Committee on committees
how is the chairperson of committees selected?
through the "seniority system"- congress with longest term of service from majority part is usually chair of each committee
who is the president of the senate?
the vice prez
when is the speaker elected?
on first day of a new session of congress
how is the speaker elected?
each party nominates a candidate. Members of the house vote, person receiving majority of votes wins.
who is the majority leader of the house?
2nd in line in the majority party behind the speaker
what does the majority leader of the house do?
1. develop majority party's legislative goals
2. urge party colleagues to support or defeat pending legislation
2. communicates partys agenda to media
whos is the US representatives republican leader?
what does the minority leader in the house do?
1. develop minority party's legislative goals
2. acts as spokesperson for minority partys agenda to media
3. possible liaison to white house
who is the minority leader?
What do the House Whips do?
1. conduct polls among party members regarding their views about bills
2. encourage party loyalty among house members