American Government - Unit 3
Terms in this set (31)
-process used to designate seats in the House
-redistribution of representatives among the states, based on population change
-congressional seats are reapportioned after each census
in the Senate, senators can talk for an unlimited amount of time
-when they use this, they are stalling
-talking at length for a political purpose - to delay action on a goal to get something else done
a delaying tactic, used in the Senate, that often involves speech making to prevent action on a piece of legislation
-used to prevent filibusters
-Senators have the right to speak, but only under house rules (1 hr)
-must be done before the debate starts
-originally took 67 votes, but dropped to 60 in the 80's
-vote this almost every time
-districts drawn so that either D or R has the majority - minority party doesn't have much of a say - illegal
---cracking, packing, bleaching, hijacking
-redrawing a congressional district to intentionally benefit one political party
-using political pressure to get what you want
-rare because of logrolling
-you only use it because you really need something done (people don't like it) (EX: fairly close vote on a significant issue)
-without this, the work of Congress would likely come to a complete stop
-you must have the best interest of the people in mind for this to be okay
meeting where parties talk about their particular interests- operates to choose party leaders (by majority vote) and assign members to standing committees
-the appropriation of government spending for localized projects secured solely or primarily to bring money to a representative's district
-a government appropriation, bill, or policy that supplies funds for local improvements designed to ingratiate legislators with their constituents
-if Congress adjourns before day 10, and the pres
doesn't act on the bill, it dies (all Presidents do this)
-a means of killing a bill that has been passed by both houses of Congress, in which the president neither signs the bill nor returns it to Congress and Congress adjourns within 10 days of the bill's passage
-a parliamentary majority big enough for the party or faction in power to carry through most of its legislative programme without the risk of parliamentary defeat
-a majority that can pass a bill in both houses
-The framers of the Constitution disagreed on how to elect a president—congressional selection or direct popular election.
-The electoral college was a compromise, combining features of both approaches.
The Electoral College and Federalism
-The electoral college also reflects the federal nature of the Constitution because it ensures that the states have a role in selecting the president.
State Electoral Votes
-Each state is entitled to as many electoral votes as the sum of its representation in the U.S. House and Senate (538 in total)
-Individuals selected in each state to officially cast that state's electoral votes.
-Framers anticipated that electors would be state leaders who would exercise good judgment.
-Today, party leaders select competing slates of electors who are typically long-time party activists.
-Electors almost always vote for their party's candidates.
Selection of Electors
-Each state determines the manner of selection
-All but two states use a winner-take-all statewide election system
-If Candidate A gets the most votes in a state, Candidate A gets the whole slate of electors.
-Maine and Nebraska award electors based on the statewide vote and the vote in each of the state's congressional districts.
Voters and Electors
-A Texan who votes for Bush is really voting for a slate of electors pledged to cast the state's electoral votes for Bush. In 2000, Bush won all of Florida's 25 electoral votes because the final official vote tally showed him ahead of Gore by about 600 votes.
The Real Election
-In December, the electors gather in their respective state capitols to cast ballots for president and vice president. In January, Congress convenes, opens the ballots received from each state, and announces the official outcome.
What if no one receives a majority?
-To win, a candidate needs a majority, that is, 270 electoral votes.
-If no candidate has a majority, the House selects the president from among the three presidential candidates with the most electoral votes. Each state delegation has one vote. This last happened in 1824 when Congress chose John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson and William Crawford.
-The Senate selects the vice president from the top two vice-presidential candidates.
Popular Vote v. the Electoral Vote
-In a close race, the popular vote winner may not win the electoral college. One candidate may win states by lopsided margins while the other wins states by narrow margins. One candidate may be helped by winning most of the smaller states, which benefit from the small-state bias caused by each state getting at least three electoral votes regardless of its size.
Criticisms of the Electoral College
-The popular vote winner may lose the presidency.
-Electors may vote for persons other than their party's presidential and vice presidential candidates. ("Faithless elector")
-If no candidate receives a majority, Congress will pick the president and vice president.
Political Legitimacy and the Electoral College
-The proponents of the electoral college believe that it conveys legitimacy to the winner in most closely fought presidential elections. For example, Bill Clinton won 69 percent of the electoral vote in 1992 despite capturing only 43 percent of the popular vote. The electoral college gave Clinton the appearance of the majority support necessary to be an effective president.
But don't forget Florida
-The 2000 election demonstrated that the electoral college can sometimes undermine a president's legitimacy. Because of the electoral college, the outcome of the national presidential election was in doubt for more than a month even though one candidate enjoyed a clear popular vote plurality nationwide. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually determined the outcome of the election by halting the vote count in Florida.
Proposals for Reform
-Eliminate electors but still count electoral votes.
-Select electors based on the proportion of the vote each candidate gets in each state.
-Select electors by congressional districts with two electors chosen at large in each state.
-Choose the president by direct popular election.
Critique of the Reforms
-Critics attack some reforms for not going far enough.
-Critics attack other reforms because of the danger that they would produce unintended bad consequences.
Associated with the president's role as a public leader. The president must use the media as new management to control what information gets to us and how we get it. It keeps the president's positive image. Some limitations are the 1st amendment freedom of press. It is also difficult to please such a diverse nation.
"power to persuade"
Originated from Neustadt's book. This power is the president's only one real power because of limitations. The president's power is to persuade the other institutions not to use their limits. According to Neustadt the president may have all the tools but not necessarily know how to use them under all circumstances.
presidential directives to the executive branch that create or modify public policies, without the direct approval of Congress
Part of the president's role as Diplomatic Chief of Country ("Head of State"). Because the power to create treaties is given to Senate with 2/3rds vote. The president can negotiate the treaty but if his ideas aren't being heard or he isn't getting his way then he can create an executive agreement. An executive agreement is a agreement between two or more leaders if a country (as opposed to the countries themselves).
Describe the process used to apportion the House every ten years.
The Virginia plan said one seat for every 40,000 people which originally gave the house 50-60 members. As the country grew, so did the house and by 1929, there were 435 representatives. A committee designed the re-apportionment plan. In the beginning, the wanted ~400 seats, but change it to 435 because no one wanted to lose their seats
1) freeze the number of seats at 435
2) every 10 years a census (population count - doesn't count criminals or illegals) will be take to redefine the procedure
3) total population / 435 = # of people per seat (currently it is ~700,000 people per seat)
4) state population / # of people per seat = # of representatives per state
5) state legislators are responsible for drawing district lines in the state - before 1961 there were no rules for this until...
--- Baker v Carr - equal protection clause - legislative apportionment - there must be about the same number of people in each district - some states delayed following this
--- Westbury v Sinders - principle of 1 man 1 vote - states did nothing
--- Kerpatrick v Chrysler - 1971 - districts were still unequally divided - finally did something about it - districts cannot have more than a 2% difference - if someone sues, you have to redraw the districts - states tried to change districts to influence elections to be what they want, so a rule was made that said districts could not be separate parts, they must be contiguous and have a reasonable shape - states also drew districts to prevent minorities from having political influence, so now you can't discriminate by reason of race
Explain how and why gerrymandering is done
The Democrats and Republicans control every state government. They use gerrymandering to ensure they stay in control
Explain the benefits of having a bicameral legislative body as well as the negative
bicameral = 2 houses
1) the 2 original plans for congress (New Jersey & Virginia) in 1787
2) checks & balances - prevent one group from having too much power
1) splits/limits power
2) it allows for different views on issues
--House has 2 year terms so they are more focused on short term issues
--Senate has 6 year terms so they are more focused on a long term view of issues
3) differing geographical focuses
--a member of the House represents their district (local focus)
--a Senator represents the state - broader range of interests than local (state wide/regional/national focus)
it is because of the benefits that the negatives exist
1) it takes a lot of time for things to get done (EX: bills must pass through both houses) - can even lead to a deadlock - normally takes a bill 6 - 9 mo to become a law
--- After 9/11 it was important for a bill to be passed to protect the american people (enhance security - TSA). The bill should have passed quickly, but it took 6 mo because 138 bills were introduced and congress had to narrow it down. Difficulties were: how much should it cost, who should pay for it, who is going to run this
Describe the significance of the roles which the parties play in the management of the Congress.
Each chamber of Congress has a majority party, which holds more than half of the seats, and a minority party, which holds less than half. The parties elect their own leadership, organize for votes, and formulate strategy. The major party has significant control in the management of Congress. For example party leaders are chosen from the majority party. The leadership in the House has a great deal of power over its party because the leaders have the ability to reward and punish members. Parties allocate members to committees to maximize the joint utility of its members, taking into account how the committees' memberships affect the legislation adopted by the legislature. The more members from one party in a committee, results in the party getting what they want done.
Describe how the leaders of the Congress are chosen as well as the significant powers of each. (Presiding Officer, party leaders, committee chairs)
PRESIDING OFFICER (runs the meetings)
-House - Speaker of the House - chosen by vote by the members of the House - represents the majority party - most powerful position in Congress - trusted and effective politician according to other members
-Senate- President of the Senate (US VP) - chosen by President - in the absence of the VP, they have a pro tempore as the sub (usually the most senior member)
1)control the speakers on the floor - in 1908, the speakers list was created; as long as you are on the list, the presiding officer can't deny your speech
2)assign bills to standing committees - in the Senate, this power is also given to party leaders; in the House, the speaker of the house has total control
3)they can determine whether a bill passes or not (choosing the committee)
4)set up committees for specific areas - overlap a lot of them
PARTY LEADERS (organizes party's efforts)
-chosen by majority vote in caucus
1) establish priorities- get the party into a mode to figure out what they want to do
2) provide communication & support- make sure everybody knows what to do
3) coordinate party member's positions on issues (how to vote)
-whip- assistant to party leader - usually a relatively younger member that shows promise - main duty is to help the party leader know the outcome of the vote on a bill before it happens (called a Whip Count) - conducts a poll that tends to be pretty accurate - if the party leader is going to lose a major vote, they now have time to create a cover story; if the are going to win, they can blow it up to the press and make sure people don't miss the vote; if it's going to be close, they can make sure everybody shows up to vote; if it's a close loss, they can coordinate those few members that are causing the loss by using bribery/favors/logrolling
4) assignments to committees (caucuses) (seniority is a significant factor in deciding committees)
*the ratio of D/R in the House is proportional to the committee seats (advantage to the majority party)
-originally, the speaker assigned the committee chairs
-today, it is a party decision, usually is based on seniority
-chair is the most senior member (from the majority party) by default unless voted out by the party or committee (party caucus- overturn of chair is almost never done)
Explain the process of how a bill becomes a law, including the various traps and pitfalls which may befall a bill or a member supporting a bill (noted by ***)
-Most bills go through the House (the ones that cost money)
1) Introduction - idea - anyone can introduce a bill: congressmen, president, petition, people - the bill must be officially introduced by a member of the House (cannot be introduced by president, interest group, or speaker of the House) - research and the first draft of bills are often done by interest groups - the official draft is done on the House floor
2) The Speaker of the House has the bill and must assign it to a standing committee ***
3) the Standing Committee Chair has the bill
1. put on the agenda
2. pigeonholed (leaving a bill off the agenda - on life support - dies . at the end of session) ***
4) the standing committee has the bill
1. can kill it - doesn't happen often ***
2. pigeonhole it - happens to about 40% of all legislation . introduced ***
3. pass it
4. send it to a sub-committee - should be writing official versions . of legislation - where the real work is done
5) sub-committee has the bill
1. can kill it ***
2. pigeonhole it - much less common ***
3. pass it - IS THIS COMMON OR UNCOMMON?
4. mark it up
6) standing committee has the bill
1. can kill it ***
2. pigeonhole - rare ***
3. pass it
4. mark it up
7) House Rules Committee has the bill (most powerful committee)
1. limit debate time ***
2. prohibit amendments ***
3. special rule - consider a bill to be a priority and put it at the top . of the House agenda
8) House floor has the bill
1. can kill it ***
2. pass it
3. amend it (mark it up)
4. send it back to the standing committee (rare)
9) Senate has the bill
2. Presiding Officer
3. Committee Process
4. Does not have a House Rules Committee
5. Senate Floor
Senate can mark up a House bill, but it has to go to conference committee if it is passed by both houses. If they can't compromise on which bill to pass, it is killed ***
10) President has the bill
1. Sign it into law
2. veto - sends it back to Congress who can override the veto . . . with a 2/3 vote in both houses or make changes and run it . . . back through the entire process ***
3. Sit on it - not do anything ***
Pres has 10 days to act on legislation, if he doesn't act, it . . . becomes law (never happens)
pocket veto - if Congress adjourns before day 10, and the pres
doesn't act on the bill, it dies (all Presidents do this)
interest groups influence this process a lot
Explain the significance of the 3 powers if the House Rules Committee.
The House Rules committee is the "traffic cop of the house" and is the most prestigious committee because of it's significant power. They are not allowed to "pigeonhole" or "mark-up" the bill and have a "7 day rule". The three powers are: 1) Power to Limit Debate Time- they can designate a specific time allotment to speak on each bill prior to voting on it. For example if it is a popular bill they might allot only 1 hour to speak for and 1 hour designated to speak against it. 2) The Power to Prohibit Amendments- This Power basically prevents the house floor from making any changes to the bill and voting on this new and improved bill. They must vote on the bill as written. 3) The "Special Rule" (make the bill a priority)- They have the power to prioritize bills and put them on the top of the agenda and they can maybe be voted on the same day.
Explain why it is so difficult for most bills to become laws.
All bills that have to do with money start in the House of Representatives. There are so many different institutions within the House of Representatives that the bill has to go through in order to actually get voted on and passed to the Senate. Often a lot of changes are made in both houses and the Bill is passed on different terms. There is so much collaboration and cooperation that goes into making a Bill, it is a very "political" process and there are so many Bills that are submitted it is very difficult for most of them to even get glanced at.
Explain the "formal" and the "informal" qualifications for running for President.
1) natural born citizen (born in US)
2) age (35 y.o.)
3) residency (14 years)
3) experience (modern presidents have been in the senate or a governor)
4) "Honesty" - not being a criminal
5) Party Nomination from D or R
8) Race - RWGs
9) Religion (most have been Protestant)
Describe the strategic differences between being a front runner or a dark horse candidate in a Presidential campaign.
A dark horse is a candidate for the Presidential nomination who trails far behind the favorites (front-runners) going into a national convention. The dark horse may be the second or third choice of many delegates but the first choice of few. The strategy of the dark horse is to block the favorite and create a deadlock among the front-runners.
Explain the importance of Presidential "style" in relation to the possible success of a President.
-how the president approaches the job
4 traits common in presidents
3) negative - does not like the give & take of political life
4) positive - likes negotiation
1) passive negative - inadequate/inefficient
2) passive positive - kind of effective
3) active negative - effective but dangerous (most common today)
4) active positive - very effective (Woodrow Wilson)
Describe the responsibilities as well as the powers of the President in his six roles we discussed in class.
a. thing's he's supposed to do
b. powers he can utilize
c. limitations that get in the way of his power
1) PARTY LEADER
a. represent the interests of the party (positively) - raises money, helps party members get elected, achieve party priorities
b. access to media - appoint people to jobs (members or allies of his party usually)
c. Congress (Senate must approve appointments) - other party leaders within his own party
2) LEGISLATIVE LEADER
a. establish priorities - Git r' dun (resolve priorities)
b. veto legislation - or can threaten to veto causing negotiation between him and congress
c. divided gov't - presidential party and congress are controlled by different parties - makes compromise more difficult - working majority is a majority that can pass a bill in both houses
3) EXECUTIVE CHIEF
a. to enforce the laws of the US and the Constitution
b. appointment- "spoil system" (Jackson - a practice where a political party, after winning an election, gives government jobs to its supporters, friends and relatives as a reward for working toward victory, and as an incentive to keep working for the party —as opposed to a merit system, where offices are awarded on the basis of some measure of merit, independent of political activity) - in the 1880's a person wanted a job so badly that they ended up assassinating President Garfield and when VP Arthur took over he reformed the spoil system and created the Pendleton Act and the Civil Service
c. The Senate must approve appointments - the civil service can just delay or water down a law if they don't want to follow it
4) DIPLOMATIC CHIEF
a. represents the US in relationships with other nations, and sets the tone and direction of foreign policy
b. recognition- acknowledging that for a specific country, it's gov't is what is best for that country; allows negotiation, ambassadors, trade, and the giving of aid
treaties- agreements between 2 or more countries- president negotiates treaties
executive agreements- not a formal treaty; doesn't need senate approval
c. senate must approve treaties
other nations that don't like us (North Korea)
5) COMMANDER IN CHIEF
a. maintain security of the US - defend from outer and internal threats
b. coordinate military (send troops into conflict); can't start a war but could authorize a preemptive nuclear strike until the cold war ended, now there is a procedure that must be followed, but the president can still authorize a strike back
c. only congress has the power to declare war
some people don't do what the president wants them to
military could be too aggressive or non-responsive
6) PUBLIC LEADER
a. maintain the support and confidence of the people
b. media - news management - manage what the people see, what information we get and how we get it
c. 1st amendment (freedom of speech, press)
the diversity of our population
Describe the "checks and balances" which exist between the Congress and the President in the "dance of legislation".
A bill may be introduced in either house. It is then assigned to a specialized committee, which may refer it to a subcommittee for closer study and modification. When the subcommittee has completed its work, it may send the proposal back to the full committee, which may then approve it and report it out to the chamber for debate, amendment, or a vote on passage. Floor procedures in the two houses differ substantially. In the House, the Rules Committee specifies the form of debate. In contrast, the Senate works within a tradition of unlimited debate and unanimous consent petitions. If a bill passes the two houses in different versions, the differences must be reconciled in a conference committee, and the bill must then be passed in its new form by each house. Once the bill has passed Congress, it is sent to the president for his signature, veto, or pocket veto. The pocket veto can be used only when Congress adjourns. Congress approved a line-item veto that allowed the president to invalidate particular sections of bills, but the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. President George W. Bush tried to get Congress to revive the line-item veto, but they were unable to pass legislation to that effect.
Explain why Richard Neustadt says that the only real power of the President is the "power to persuade".
Presidents, for all their resources - a skilled staff, extensive media coverage of presidential actions, the great respect the country holds for the office - must depend on others' cooperation to get things done.
Ability in bargaining, dealing with adversaries, and choosing priorities, separates above-average presidents from mediocre ones. A president must make wise choices about which policies to push and which to put aside until he can fine more support. He must decide when to accept compromises and when to stand on principles. He must know when to go public and when to work behind the scenes.
A President's influence is related to his professional reputation and personal prestige.
Explain why it can be said that the roles of the President come into conflict with each other often.
All of the roles have limitations by Congress?????? **
Explain the reasons why most modern Presidents are generally more powerful than their predecessors of the 19th century.
The institution has grown in terms of the number of people it employs, in terms of the range of policy problems for which presidents are held accountable, and in terms of the international responsibilities. In spite of the misleading adage that "all politics is local," Americans feel that through the medium of television they have a closer connection with the president than with any other politician. Yet all the prominence and responsibilities that befall a modern president must still be handled within the framework established by an eighteenth-century document, the Constitution, that created not a presidential system of government but a system of separated institutions sharing the powers of government. The president, whose international prominence is so great, must always remember that at home, success depends on the ability to persuade other politicians to cooperate. ***
ILL ADD MORE AFTER READING THE CHAPTER