AP GOV Unit 5
Terms in this set (39)
Why is Congress designed to be foremost branch?
-So close to the electoral process and voters.
-535 separate elections, separate districts, voice of their district and they all come together
-Constantly changing seats
-More diversity than the 1-2 people in executive because more people
-Two different houses working together and checking each other
Name Congressional Duties
-Taxation and borrowing power
-Interstate commerce: stating rules and governing it, net neutrality, highway system (gas tax)
-Patents/Copyright: Copyright is important because "does someone solely have that idea for 50 years or should we focus on advancements and allow everyone to try?
-The purse: the budget, how much money goes where, pass laws, check the President
What does BICAMERAL mean and why did Founders give us this sort of legislature?
-Means two houses: UPPER (senate) and LOWER (House)
-Because things go really slow to pass something because goes through both houses and Founders thought long deliberation would be better
-more people review it for longer time
-things can be debated
-Radical measures get filtered out
-In this way, only sensible measures will be passed
-Downside - things move slow and timeline gets messed up, which would have been okay before when Founders were in agrarian society, but is this model ideal for 21st century?
-Ex: Court case - girl out of college by time lawsuit about her admission filed
-Ex: urgency on deaths
-But.... if we go faster then people talk less so its a challenge. Freedom vs. Speed
Differences between House and Senate
-More numerous (435)
-Org. Spirit of Democracy: Supposed to be more democratic body and represent the people more
-2 year terms: *
CANT PISS PEOPLE OFF EARLY IN TERM LIKE SENATE BC THEY WONT FORGET THEN NO RE-ELECTION, MORE SENSITIVE TO PUBLIC OPINION
-Gerrymandering (Only house benefits): Less competitive races, more partisan
-Limited Discussion: *
* "Okay we have immigration reform, if you wanna talk you have 5 mins" because more reps.
-Responsible for: Originates "bills for revenue" + appropriations, impeachment trial, tax bills, and new tax supported by House, they're in charge of impeachment
-More manageable size (100)
-Typically more balanced people because states are more balanced than districts
-Org. Conservatism (17th): Aka they got appointed by state legislatures they didn't just run by themselves (idk if still case)
-6 year terms
-More competitive races
-Meager diversity (Millionaire's Club)
-Limitless Discussion (Filibuster and Cloture)
-Shared appointive power: Impeachment conviction
-Filibuster makes hard for both sides because in Senate, don't need majority, need 60!!
-APPROVAL POWER (Senate is jury on impeachment) *****
What is general make-up of Congress? Which house is more diverse? Why does this matter?
*55-54% Protestant (close to avg.)
*Education: Highly educated
*House = more diverse because bigger body
*More money, but need less
*More donations, also able to fundraise earlier and have support off bat
*Scares off potential running mates
*Records of success to show constituents
Theories of Representation: Representational
Vote with constituent preference when simple, clear issues that are visible
Theories of Representation: Organizational
Vote using decision on something that someone makes with conscience, more polarized
Theories of Representation: Attitudinal
When members of Congress vote based on their ideologies and political party
Theories of Representation: Delegate v. Trustee
**Delegate: A representative who votes according to the preferences of his or her constituency
**Trustee: A representative who votes based on what he or she thinks is best for his or her constituency
What are pork barrel politics? Pros/Cons?
Appropriations made by legislative bodies for local projects that are often not needed but that are created so that local representatives can win re-election in their home districts
EXAMPLE: Bridge to nowhere in Alaska, 200 million or something
*Pros: Some feel its the only way to actually get things done since only focused on reelection, also helps them a lot
*Cons: Takes money away from important things, and time
What is log-rolling?
A legislative practice whereby agreements are made between legislators in voting for or against a bill, vote trading
What are the Christmas-tree bill and earmarks?
Earmarks: When you attach, into a bill, something that would benefit your district
Xmas Tree Bill: A bill that attracts many, often unrelated, floor amendments aka earmarks
What is the purpose of filibuster? Pros/Cons?
*Used to prevent action on legislation they oppose by continuously holding the floor and speaking on topic til majority wins out and 3/5 at least of them just vote to end it
*Pro: Small minorities can influence majority
*Cons:Takes forever to move on, need 60 votes to pass something, not majority
How is cloture used to defeat the filibuster?
2/3 or 3/5 of a legislative body to set up a time limit on debate over particular bill
The Rules Committee
In charge of rules for a debate, like allotting the time for debate and deciding what extent amendments to the bill can be proposed from the floor
Closed v. Open Rules
CLOSED RULES (Supporters like): Limits producing new amendments during debate
OPEN RULES (Opponents like): permits floor debate and new amendments
Behind-the-scenes way of voting a bill down without being held accountable for it
A means of bringing a bill out of committee and to floor without report or consideration from committee and usually the committee is discharged from further consideration of bill BECAUSE used when chair of a committee refuses to place bill/resolution on Committee's agenda
How a Bill becomes a law:
1. Draft/Introduce: Write it with staff, stand up and introduce it, speaker of house assigns it to committee
2. Put in Committee: either full or sub committee, goes through hearings in subcommittee
3. Put to sleep or "marked up", either recommended or not to full committee (discharge petition)
4. Committee does/doesn't recommend and report published
5. Floor debate and ordering
6. Vote, next chamber, begins again
7. Conference Committee, then HR votes on it again then it goes up to president who either signs, ignores (pocket veto), or vetoes
8. Can override a veto with 2/3 vote in both houses
What are three powers the Congress shares with the President?
*Can both "veto" each other in a sense:
1. President can veto Congress laws
2. Congress can veto Presidential nominations
3. Senate must ratify any treaty by 2/3 vote before it goes into effect
**Both kind of iniate war
1. Pres. can send troops to some country and essentially make war, but only Congress can declare war and give the money
****Making laws/Changing Constitution
Speaker of the House
Chief presiding office of House, most important party and house leader, can influence agenda, fate of individual pieces of legislation, and members position within house. Duties of ruling on parliamentary questions, refer bills to committee, sign legislation, official spokesperson, preserve order in chamber
Majority leader in Senate
Schedule business, recognized first in debate, helps with committee assignments, small favors
Goes around and counts and secures votes
Floor leader of 2nd caucus in legislative body, leader of opposition, work with leaders of other party, run this party, etc.
Name 3 Staff Agencies
1. Congressional Research Service
2. Government Accountability Office
3. Congressional Budget Office
Congressional Research Service
Performs research for legislators who wish to know the facts and competing arguments relevant to policy proposals or other legislative business
Government Accountability Office
Investigate the financial and administrative affairs of any government agency or program
Congressional Budget Office
Assess the economic implications and likely costs of proposed federal programs like health care reform proposals
How are resolutions different than laws?
Used in congress to regulate the administrative or internal business in either house or senate, don't have to be signed by pres and don't have force of law
**Simple: One chamber introduces it and votes on it, a resolution to kick someone out, for example
***Concurrent: When both bodies (S and HR) vote on a resolution
****Joint: A law - both houses pass it and president signs it
Majority party advantage in committees
The majority will often take 2/3 to 3/4 of the budget and will have 3x the number of staff as minority, shift in party control
Hearings vs. Investigations
**Hearings: usually held on a specific bill and the questions asked are usually intended to build a record with regard to that bill
**Investigations: The committee or subcommittee does not begin with specific bill but examines a broad area or problem and then concludes its investigation with one or more proposed bills
A session in which a congressional committee rewrites legislation to incorporate changes discussed in hearings on the bill
Durites of standing/select/conference/joint committees
1. Standing Committee: A permanent committee with the power to propose and write legislation that covers a particular subject, such as finance or agriculture
2. Select Committee: A (usually) temporary legislative committee set up to hilight or investigate a particular issue or address an issue not within the jurisdiction of existing committees
3. Joint Committee: A legislative committee formed of members of both the House and Senate
4. Conference Committee: A joint committee created to work out a compromise on House and Senate version of a piece of legislation
Party-unity vote vs. Roll-call vote?
PU Vote: a roll-call vote in House or Senate in which at least 50% of members of one party take one side, and 50% of one party take the other
RC Vote: A vote in which each legislator's yes or no vote is recorded as the clerk calls the names of the members alphabetically
Ways Congress checks executive
1. Ability to overturn a Presidential veto with 2/3 vote in House and Senate
2. Rejecting presidential nominations to posts in Cabinet and Supreme Court
3. Can remove President through impeachment
4. Has the power to fund any executive action - the purse - appropriations
5. Must approve treaties
Ways congress checks judiciary
1. Senate must confirm President's nominations to Supreme Court
2. Congress can impeach judges and remove them from office
3. Power to initiate constitutional amendments (to undo supreme court decisions)
How did Congressional Democrats just resort to "the nuclear option" and change the use of the filibuster for Presidential appointees?
Agreed to lower the number of votes needed to end filibuster from 60-51. - to make it easier to advance Obama's nominees.