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American Citizenship Chapter 10 Notes Congress American Citizenship Chapter 10 Notes Congress

Section 1 • The National Legislature Section 1 • The National Legislature

A Bicameral Congress • The U. S. is considered a “Representative Democracy” – Representatives A Bicameral Congress • The U. S. is considered a “Representative Democracy” – Representatives of the people are responsible for the day-to-day work of government Article 1 of the constitution sets down the guidelines for the U. S. Representative Democracy – • • Known as Congress Historical – Learned about bicameral congress from Britain

A Bicameral Congress (Con’t) • Practical – • Framers created the bicameral also in A Bicameral Congress (Con’t) • Practical – • Framers created the bicameral also in order to appease both the big states (Virginia Plan) and the small States (New Jersey Plan) Theoretical – Bicameral also helped to help keep the Legislative branch from becoming to powerful

Terms and Sessions • Terms of Congress – Each term of Congress lasts for Terms and Sessions • Terms of Congress – Each term of Congress lasts for two years and numbered consecutively • • Changed with the 20 th Amendment Now Congress terms begin noon of the 3 rd day of January, and last for two years

Terms and Sessions (Con’t) • A session of Congress is when Congress assembles and Terms and Sessions (Con’t) • A session of Congress is when Congress assembles and conducts business – Congress adjourns until the next session • • • However, in order for one house to adjourn, the other must approve President can prorogue, or adjourn Congress if they cannot come to agreement on date to adjourn Special Sessions – Only the President can call Congress into a special session • • Meeting to deal with some emergency The President can also call each house separately into special session

Section 2 • The House of Representatives Section 2 • The House of Representatives

Size and Terms • The Exact size of the House is not fixed by Size and Terms • The Exact size of the House is not fixed by the constitution – • Currently it is 435 members However each seat in the House must be apportioned among the states on the basis of their respective populations – Distributed • • Representative must be chosen every second year – • Could change with the coming Census in 2010 Thus they serve for two-year terms No term-limit for members of Congress

Reapportionment • Redistribute the seats in the House after each decennial census – • Reapportionment • Redistribute the seats in the House after each decennial census – • Originally there were 65 House Seats in the 1790’s A Growing Nation – The census of 1910 brought the number of House members to 435

Reapportionment (Con’t) • The Reapportionment Act of 1929 – Created the “permanent” size of Reapportionment (Con’t) • The Reapportionment Act of 1929 – Created the “permanent” size of the House to 435 • – – – However they could still change it After each census, the Census Bureau determines the apportionment Once the plan is ready, the President sends it to Congress If no action is taken on it within 60 days, it becomes law

Congressional Elections • Constitution allows each state to determine it’s date for congressional elections Congressional Elections • Constitution allows each state to determine it’s date for congressional elections Date • – • However, since 1872, Congress required that the elections be held on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November in even number years Off-Year Elections – Those congressional elections that occur in the nonpresidential years Party-in-power tends to lose power in the off-year elections – • party that holds the presidency

Congressional Elections (Con’t) • Districts – The Constitution does not call for congressional districts Congressional Elections (Con’t) • Districts – The Constitution does not call for congressional districts Today all congressional districts are singlemember districts – • – only one person is voted for that district Congress allowed each state to determine their own size of their congressional district • however it needed to be appropriate in size and population

Congressional Elections (Con’t) • Gerrymandering – Congressional districts that have been drawn to the Congressional Elections (Con’t) • Gerrymandering – Congressional districts that have been drawn to the advantage of the political party that controls the state’s legislature • – Two major ways used • • – Very prevalent today To concentrate opposing voters into a few districts Spread the opposing voters thin throughout all districts Could even use Gerrymandering on the urban versus rural population of states

Congressional Elections (Con’t) • Wesberry v. Sanders, 1964 – Supreme Court ruled that the Congressional Elections (Con’t) • Wesberry v. Sanders, 1964 – Supreme Court ruled that the population differences among congressional districts were so great as to violate the Constitution • Did not stop Gerrymandering, but forced a little more representative of each individual

Qualifications of House Members • Formal Qualifications – – Must be at least 25 Qualifications of House Members • Formal Qualifications – – Must be at least 25 years of age Must have been a citizen of the U. S. for at least 7 years Must be an inhabitant of the State from which they are elected – • – Generally speaking, they must also live in the district for which they are elected The House is responsible for judging elections of member-elects • The House can also punish members for “disorderly behavior”

Qualifications of House Members (Con’t) • Informal Qualifications – Have to do with a Qualifications of House Members (Con’t) • Informal Qualifications – Have to do with a candidates vote getting abilities • party identification, name familiarity, gender, ethnic characteristics, and political experience

Section 3 • The Senate Section 3 • The Senate

Size, Election and Terms • • The Senate is often called the “Upper House” Size, Election and Terms • • The Senate is often called the “Upper House” Size – – • The Constitution calls of their to be two senators for every state Today the U. S. has 100 senators Election – – Originally the Constitution provided that the members of the Senate were to be chose by the State legislatures 17 th amendment changed it to be popular vote for Senate positions

Size, Election and Terms (Con’t) • Term – Senators serve for six-year terms with Size, Election and Terms (Con’t) • Term – Senators serve for six-year terms with no termlimits The Senate is a continuous body – • All the seats are never up for election at the same time – – Only a third of senator seats are elected for every two years With the six-year term, less likely to be persuaded by public opinion and more likely to see the “big picture” • In recent history, the Senate has provided a great deal of president candidates

Qualifications for Senators • A senator must be at least 30 years of age Qualifications for Senators • A senator must be at least 30 years of age Must have been a citizen of the U. S. for at least 9 years Must be an inhabitant of the state from which they are elected • • – Like the House, the Senate can punish individuals for “disorderly conduct”

Section 4 • The Members of Congress Section 4 • The Members of Congress

Personal and Political Backgrounds • There is a variety of different cultures represented in Personal and Political Backgrounds • There is a variety of different cultures represented in the Congress – However they tend to be White males, over the age of 50

The Job • They play five major roles – – – • Legislators Representatives The Job • They play five major roles – – – • Legislators Representatives of their constituents Committee members Servants of their constituents Politicians Representatives of the People – Trustees • believe that each question they face must be decided on its merits – make decisions based on independent judgment, and not on views held by their constituents

The Job (Con’t) • Representatives of the People (Con’t) – Delegates • see themselves The Job (Con’t) • Representatives of the People (Con’t) – Delegates • see themselves as agents of those who elected them – – tend to vote on the views held by their constituents Partisans • they feel duty-bound to vote in line with the party platform and wishes of their party’s leaders – – Most prevalent today Politicos • attempt to combine the basic elements of the previous three

The Job (Con’t) • Committee Members – Proposed laws (bills) are referred to committees The Job (Con’t) • Committee Members – Proposed laws (bills) are referred to committees in each chamber • – Also serve an oversight function • • as committee members, they screen the proposals check to see that various agencies in the executive branch are working effectively and legally Servants – Meet the needs of their constituents on a federal level

Compensation • Salary – Senators and representatives are paid a salary of $155, 000 Compensation • Salary – Senators and representatives are paid a salary of $155, 000 a year • • Speaker of the House makes $193, 500 a year President Pro Tem and the majority and minority floor leaders in both houses receive $167, 500 a year

Compensation (Con’t) • Nonsalary Compensation – – – Each member receives a special tax Compensation (Con’t) • Nonsalary Compensation – – – Each member receives a special tax deduction Generous travel allowances Good life and health insurance Retirement plan Receive an office in either House or Senate office building near the Capitol Given funds to hire staff and operation costs Franking privilege – – • – allows them to mail letters and other materials postagefree by substituting their facsimile signature (frank) for the postage Also gymnasiums, pools, parking, advertisement, etc.

Compensation (Con’t) • The Politics of Pay – Very difficult for Congress to increase Compensation (Con’t) • The Politics of Pay – Very difficult for Congress to increase their pay • • President veto, and unhappiness from constituents Membership Privileges – – Cannot be arrested while their branch is in session Also maintain legislative immunity