Congress AMGOV Notes (Chapter 10&12)
How many people are there in Congress?
How many people are in the Senate and in the House of Represenatatives?
100 in Senate and 435 in House of Representatives
What is the number of senators based on?
Equal Representation. 2 per state.
What is the number of House members based on?
Population. There are 13 in GA.
Which house is more powerful?
The Senate is more powerful.
Which house is the upper house?
The Senate is the upper house.
When are senators and house members elected?
November, every two years.
When was the last Congress election?
When was the last time Congress members were actually put into office?
January 3rd, 2011
When does Congress actually start their term?
January 3rd (every 2 years)
How long is a term?
A term is 2 years.
How long is a session?
A session is 1 year.
How many sessions are in a term?
2 sessions are in a term.
What is it called when Congress takes a break between sessions?
When Congress takes breaks between sessions it is called adjournment.
When does Congress usuallly adjourn?
Congress usually adjourns in November.
Do the two houses get to choose separate adjournment dates?
No, they must decide the same adjournment date together.
What happens if Congress can't decide on a date?
There is a prorogue.
What is a prorogue?
When the president decides an adjournment date.
Has the ever been a prorogue?
No, there has never been a prorogue.
What are the "mini" breaks within sessions called?
How are recess lengths decided?
Congress chooses when and how long.
What years is Congress elected?
Congress is elected on even numbered years.
What date is Congress elected?
The first Tuesday AFTER the first Monday in November.
Why can't the election be on Sundays?
Because of the separation of church and state. (1st Amendment) People will have to choose whether to go to church or to vote.
Why can't the election be on the first Monday?
Because of pay day. People will be doing other things.
Why can't the election be on the first of November?
Because of pay day. People will be busy doing other things.
What happens if there is an emergency situation in December?
A Special Session.
What are the two types of special sessions?
joint and independent
What is a joint session?
When the president requires both houses to come back (usually due to an attack or possibility of war)
What is an independent session?
when only the Senate is called
How many joint sessions have there been?
How many independent sessions have there been?
What are the two things that the Senate can do that the house can't?
Approve treaties and approve president appointments (cabinet members and federal/supreme court judges)
How long is a congressional term?
How long is a house term?
How long is a senatorial term?
How many representatives are up for reelection every congressional election?
What keeps there from being a whole new set of senators every 6 years?
The Rolling Senate
What is a Rolling Senate?
When 1/3 of the senate is elected every 2 years (33/34)
Can both senators in one state be up for reelection in the same year?
What happens if a senator dies or is taken out of office?
Two new senators will be elected in the next election but the new senator will take over the last senators LEFTOVER years.
How many districts are there?
What determined the 435 districts?
The Reapportionment Act of 1929.
What did the Reapportionment Act of 1929 say?
1) The House has 435 Representatives apportioned to them. 2)Census Bureau determines the number of Representatives per state.
Where does the Census Bureau sent the reapportionment first?
To the president, out of respect. The president actually doesn't have any power over this.
Where does the Census Bureau send the reapportionment after the president?
To Congress, who can approve or reject it.
What is the difference between a law and an act?
An act has a time limit and a law is permanent.
Why is the Reapportionment Act of 1929 an act?
Because the total number may change from 435.
Which district do we live in and who is our Representative?
The 13th district and our Rep. is David Scott.
What are the two types of qualifications?
Formal and Informal qualifications.
What's the difference between formal and informal qualifications?
Formal qualifications are completely necessary and they are found in the Constitution. Informal qualification are not necessary, but they happen throughout the majority of history.
What are the formal qualifications for the Senate?
1. 30 years old
2. 9 yrs citizen
3. Must live in state when elected
What are the formal qualifications for the House? And what is the custom?
1. 25 years old
2. 7 yrs citizen
3. Must live in state when elected
Custom: live in district they represent
What are the informal qualifications?
1. Name Familiarity
2. Party Identification
3. Gender (male)
4. Political Experience (H-state , S-served in house)
5. Race (white)
What is gerrymandering?
Re drawing of district lines in order to exclude a certain group of people from voting
Is gerrymandering legal?
No, as long as it is not base off of race. (now based on political party)
Who are Georgia's two Senators?
Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson
What are the 3 characteristics of congressmen?
How does congress represent the people?
by voting on bills
Technically, do the congressmen have to vote the way the people want?
What are voting styles?
The ways that congress votes
What are the 4 voting styles?
How does a trustee vote?
Personal beliefs to judge merit (worth). (they trust the merit of the issue; personally goes through pros and cons)
How does a delegate vote?
The way the people want
How does a partisan vote?
Based on what the party wants
What does Bi Partisan mean?
A person that is willing to work with the other party
How does a politico vote?
Combination of other three styles.
How are congressmen committee members?
Each member of congress is a part of at least one committee
What is the oversight function?
When congressional committees oversee executive agencies
How are congressmen servants?
They fulfill requests of the people. Every unfulfilled request is a lost vote.
Are representatives or senators more like servants? Why?
Representatives, because they are elected more often and they need to make sure that they are re-elected so they need to keep the people happy.
Who has the most power in all of congress?
Speaker of the House
Who are the 2 presiding officers for the senate?
President of the Senate(Vice President) and the President Pro Tem
Who elects the President Pro Tem?
The entire chamber (PRES PRO TEM IS ALWAYS FROM MAJORITY HOUSE)
When does the President of the Senate(VP) ever do anything?
When there is a 50/50 vote on a bill
What are the responsibilities of the officers?
to keep order (know all the rules and assign bills to committees)
What do the floor leaders do?
Pre-Tally votes for Bills
What's the difference between a majority or minority floor leader/whip ?
Majority is from majority party and vice versa.
What do Whips do?
They are the connection between the members and the presiding officers
What is the party caucus? (2 things)
1) The particular group elects their particular leader
2) They come up with decisions on bills
Why do we have a bicameral congress?
Historical- Britain had 2 houses
Practical- settles conflict between NJ and VA plan
Theoretical- one house may act as a check on the other
How often are the party caucuses?
One before each term (January 3rd odd years)
What are the 4 Types of Committees?
Who assigns people to the committees?
House- Speaker of the House
Senate- President Pro Tem
Does the whole chamber have to know about the committees?
What is another name for a standing committee?
A Permanent Committee
What are standing committees?
Committees that are needed all the time (due to issues that are always present)
How many standing committees are in the House? In the Senate?
19 in the house and 17 in the senate
What do standing committees do?
"Work On" Bills which means to research, revise, etc.
What are some examples of standing committees?
Appropriations, Armed Services, Budget, Judiciary, Veterans...so on...
What is another name for a select committee?
Special Committee or Temporary Committee
What do select committees do?
They investigate special issues.
Are select committees public?
There is usually not public knowledge after a committee is dissolved.
What are two examples of select committees?
The committee that found out that President Nixon was guilty of Watergate and the committee that investigated Bill Clinton's affair.
What are the two types of select committees?
Independent and Joint
What is a Select Independent Committee?
A committee that investigates a problem within one chamber
What is a Select Joint Committee?
A committee that investigates issues dealing with another branch or dealing with both houses. Both houses investigate these.
What is a Joint Committee?
A committee that has members of both houses.
What are the two types of Joint Committees?
Permanent and Temporary
How many permanent Joint Committees are there?
How many temporary Joint Committees are there?
As many as there are Select Joint Committees. (Same thing)
What is an example of a joint committee?
The Library of Congress (Joint Permanent)
What is a Conference Committee?
A committee that works out the differences in a bill.
How is a Conference Committee selected?
Part of the committees from each house are taken and put in a room and told to decide on the resolution of a bill.
Who assigns the committees for the house? And for the Senate?
The Speaker of the House assigns committees for the house and the Pres Pro Tem. for the Senate.
What is the Rules Committee?
The Rules Committee is the first group of people to receive the bills and they can either trash the bill or suggest a committee that the speaker should send it to.
Who are the presiding officers in all of Congress? (In order from most powerful to least)
1. Speaker of the House
2. President of the Senate
3. Pres Pro Tem