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CONGRESS ARTICLE I THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
INDEPENDENT POLICTIANS • • Three functions of Congress: 1. LEGISLATION = laws 2. REPRESENTATION = needs of constituents 3. OVERSIGHT = oversee bureaucratic agencies (through committees/subcommittees); serves as a check on the executive branch Congresspersons are actually “independent” - do NOT have to support the “government” in power, they are separate but equal partners in the political system - they represent constituents…not political parties - political parties do NOT control their nomination for office, so they can’t control how a legislator votes • WHY IS CONGRESS BICAMERAL? • • Compromise at Const. Convention – to maximize small state equality Each house is a check on the other
TYPES OF REPRESENTATION • Trustee Model • Delegate Model • Legislators should act as • Congressmen should vote as trustees to represent instructed delegates of the broad interests of their constituents all of society • Vote against narrow • They should mirror the interests of their views of the majority of constituents if their constituents conscience and national interests require it • Desires of constituents are • The “whole” most important Which view of representation do most Congressmen take? “POLITICO STYLE”
TERM OF CONGRESS • Per the 20 th Amendment: • Each term is 2 years • Each terms contains 2 sessions (each session is one year) • Convene on Jan. 3 (unless…) • Art. I, Sec. 4 – “meet at least once per year” • Currently – 114 th Congress, 1 ST session
• Special Sessions: – Called by P; can call either house or both – Last one 1948, Truman – Don’t really apply now because…. • Adjournment (Art. I, Sec. 5) – Neither house may adjourn “sine die” without consent of the other • What happens in off-year elections? – Party in power generally loses seats in Congress
CONGRESSIONAL BENEFITS: 1) Salary $$174, 000 + per year • 27 TH Amendment? 2) Generous retirement benefits 3) Two offices; DC + Home district 4) Staff members in both 5) Travel allowances; “political junkets” 6) Franking privileges 7) Immunities: no petty misdemeanors
INVINCIBILITY OF INCUMBENTS 1. VISIBILITY -- contacting the constituents, i. e. travel home, franking, getting on the news 2. CREDIT CLAIMING - Casework helping out constituents to the vast porkbarrel (getting a chunk federal funds & bringing it home). 3. POSITION TAKING - meeting roll call votes. 4. WEAK OPPONENTS - who lack the cash flow. opponents miss out on #1 + #2 above 5. CAMPAIGN SPENDING – get individual contributions/PAC $ (30% - $5, 000 per candidate) due to incumbency
INCUMBENTS • Over 90% seeking reelection to the House of Reps win! • Approximately 67% seeking reelection to the Senate win • Why the difference? • Congressional redistricting which allows for “safe seats” • Pork barrel and casework • Harder to get elected to Senate than House
Term Limits • Would term limits “even” the playing field? • Strong push in the 90 s for term limits – AR tried to impose them • U. S. Term Limits, Inc. et al. v. Thornton et al. (1995) – Supreme Ct. ruled state imposed terms were unconstitutional – CONSTITUTION is sole source of qualifications for members of Congress & it says……
• What irony is expressed by the actions of the voter? • What generalization is the cartoonist making about the average American voter? • Could Congress enact legislation that would put term limits on its own members?
CONGRESS House Term Age Citizenship Residency Members Leader Formal Qualifications Senate 2 6 – staggered* 25 30 7 9 Yes (district) Yes (State) based on pop. 2 per state* 435 100 (“Congress” = 535) Speaker President (VP) What are traditional/informal qualifications? [Pres. Pro Tempore]
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES • Speaker– selected by …? Who is it now? • Membership based on population; seat apportionment changes every 10 years after census • All 435 seats up for reelection every 2 years • Every state guaranteed one rep – FL now has 27 • Only 2 yr. terms - H of R is body most responsive to the will of the people • SPECIAL POWERS: • Tax laws may be introduced in House only • Only House can “impeach” public officials
SENATE 2 per state – Article V • Originally chosen by. . ? Now by 17 th Amendment • Staggered terms – (1/3 reelected every 2 years) • Besides election, how else can one become a Senator? • President of Senate is VP of U. S. – Who now? • Pres. Pro Tempore serves in his absence – who? • SPECIAL POWERS: – Only Senate has power to ratify treaties – Only Senate can confirm presidential appointments – Senate holds the trials for all impeachments • Senate is “jury/Chief Justice is judge
Other Differences Between House/Senate • HOUSE: • Lower visibility in news media • Very strict rules; limited debate • Most work done in committees, not on floor • Business, Law • SENATE: • Higher visibility in news media • Flexible rules; unlimited debate • Work split more evenly between committees & floor • Law, Business
HOUSE REDISTRICTING Abused in 2 ways: • #1: Gerrymandering: – STATE LEGISLATURES draw congressional districts. Gerrymandering is the excessive manipulation of the shape of districts to benefit a certain incumbent or political party • Two types of gerrymandering: – 1) put all opposition votes in one or a few districts (“packing”) – 2) spread opposition votes thinly in several districts (“cracking”) • Wesberry v. Sanders, 1964 – “one man, one vote” – Ct. held that population differences among GA’s congressional districts were so great they violated the Constitution – Ct. held that, as nearly as possible, one man’s vote in a congressional district must be equal worth of another’s – Congressional district populations must be “equal” • Baker v. Carr, 1962 -“one man, one vote” - held that federal courts are the final authority over creation of House districts –it is a federal issue
• Gets its name from Gov. Elbridge Gerry of MA who, in 1812, drew the state‘s legislative districts to favor the Democratic-Republicans • The painter, Gilbert Stuart, added a head, wings, and claws on a district map hanging over the desk of a Federalist newspaper editor & said “that will do for a salamander. ” – “Better say gerrymander” growled the editor in response.
2 nd method of redistricting abuse: • MAJORITY-MINORITY DISTRICTS: Justice Dept. encouraged districts drawn to give a racial minority group advantages in getting minorities elected (in the 80’s). • Shaw v. Reno, 1993 - Supreme Ct. surprise ruling that a redistricting in North Carolina to create a majority-minority district was unconstitutional because it was racial gerrymandering & it violated whites’ equal protection under the law. – The Constitution has no guarantee of ethnic or racial representation – a person of different ethnic/racial background can represent needs of all constituents. • Bush v. Vera, 1996 – A Texas case, majorityminority districts held unconstitutional again • BUT, in 2001 NC lines that were redrawn, challenged again and SCOTUS refused to intervene
Mica – District 7 Brown – District 5
CENTRAL FLORIDA CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS *
LEADERSHIP • CAUCUSES V. PARTY LEADERSHIP: • Caucus = members with shared interests in specific issues or philosophies • These legislators ban together under an ideological flag & try to push their agenda – For example, Black caucus, pro-life, pro-choice, gun control, etc. – Over 100 different ones today – both houses
LEADERSHIP House - Protecting the People • House Rules Committee • UNIQUE & POWERFUL - traffic cop • controls which bills get to floor – set time limits for debate & whether it can be amended on floorestablishes a “rule” for each bill it schedules. • Speaker – currently John Boehner – only office mandated by Const. ; selected by a party caucus – Highest paid member of Congress at $223, 500 • Speaker presides over the House – 2 nd in line for Prez succession – Influences c’ttee assignments & bill assignments to c’ttee – Appoints Rules Committee members
Kevin Mc. Carthy LEADERSHIP • House Majority leader ($193, 400) – Influences Committee assignments – Influences bill assignments to Committee – Spokesperson - responsible for party’s agenda • House Minority Leader ($193, 400) Nancy Pelosi – Same role as opposition – After 2010 elections, the Democrats; Current Minority Leader? – Also, speaks for P if P is minority party too • Whips – Get out the party vote. . .
Senate Protecting the States • President of the Senate – VP ($230, 700) – Presides; can break a tie vote – President Pro Tem presides in absence; – Orrin Hatch, UT • Majority Leader ($193, 400) – influences committee assignments and chairpersons; recognized first in debate – MOST POWERFUL PERSON IN S: Mitch Mc. Connell, KY • Minority Leader ($193, 400) – tries to keep the rank in file under control & resisting programs of the majority; – Harry Reid, NV
COMMITTEES Legislation & Oversight • • • This is where the real work of Congress is done! Committees usually have the final say on legislation Chairpersons usually decide on scheduling of hearings, formal action on a bill, which subcommittee gets it… • Standing Committees – permanent subject matter committees – 16 in Senate & 19 in House – create subcommittees – Some more sought after than others – especially those that control spending (Appropriations, Ways and Means) – have legislation & oversight functions
COMMITTEES Legislation & Oversight • Joint Committees – House + Senate share membership i. e. , permanent panels that conduct studies or perform housekeeping tasks -- taxation, economic, Library of Congress – They don’t write legislation! • Select committees – for specific investigation or study - e. g. , terrorism, aging – Generally for a limited time…. But may continue indefinitely (now have select committees on intelligence in both chambers) • Conference committees – Temporary co’ttee where both houses compromise if there is a different version of bill from H & S • How are House Reps & Senators assigned to committees?
COMMITTEE POWER Congressional committees have power to subpoena witnesses for committee hearings! • MAJORITY PARTY RULES! – has the majority of seats on all committees & seniority rule is that senior member will generally become the committee chair (but NOT a requirement) – How does this affect the legislative process? – Ranking member is most senior member of the minority party…would become chair if…. • House has more committees than Senate but because it’s so large, House members actually serve on less committees and become more specialized than Senators. – How does specialization in both houses impact committee work? • Reciprocity/logrolling also impacts the legislative process… – Vote trading by legislators to gain passage of legislation…. you scratch my back and ….
Seniority • Seniority is still the unwritten custom and important in selecting committee chairpersons BUT majority caucuses can now choose chairpersons. – Note: legislators may not Chair more than one committee • Supporters of maintaining seniority: – Ensures that an experienced member will head each committee – Eliminates conflicts within party • Opponents to Seniority Rule: – Results in chairpersons out of touch with current public opinion – Ignores ability & discourages younger members
COMMITTEES Legislation & Oversight • Committees are where the oversight function of Congress takes place if and when a bill ever becomes law. • Authority to monitor and investigate the executive branch and its agencies, such as Dept. of Defense, Dept. of Justice • Oversight power gives Congress power to summon senior officials to answer questions, order audits of agencies, hold hearings to air grievances of citizens, etc.
POWERS OF CONGRESS • • To initiate, modify, approve or reject legislation in a variety of political arenas, plus they share supervision (oversight) of administrative agencies A legislator role is two-fold: Represent and Act! 1. build consensus among legislators & constituents. 2. educate 3. OVERSIGHT of bureaucracies (which branch? ) 4. investigate 5. House-initiates $$$ bills; Senate-confirms appts, ratifies executive decisions (treaties)
POWERS Art. I, Sec. 8 • 17 ENUMERATED / EXPRESSED POWERS which include power to make laws, tax, draft, regulate commerce (domestic, foreign & with the Indians), declare war, print $, grant copyrights & patents, etc. • ELASTIC CLAUSE: Art. I, Sec. 8, Cl. 18 – “Necessary and Proper Clause” – “Implied Powers Clause” – Strict vs. Loose Construction?
IMPLIED POWERS (expand on expressed powers) • Expressed power to borrow money: – Implies power to establish Fed. Reserve System of banks • Expressed power to establish naturalization laws: – Implies power to regulate & limit immigration • Expressed power to regulate commerce: – Implies power to est. minimum wage, ban discrimination in workplace, pass laws protecting disabled …
LIMITS ON POWERS • Limits on Taxing powers: – Can tax only for public purposes – May NOT tax exports – All taxes must be uniform throughout the states • Limits on Commerce powers: – May not tax exports – Can’t favor ports of one state over another – Can’t require vessels entering one state to pay duties in another • War Powers: shared with P; War Powers Act; Who declares war?
Supreme Court & Congressional Power a) Mc. Culloch v. Maryland implied powers – elastic clause gave Congress power to create federal bank; national supremacy over state laws b) Gibbons v. Ogden Commerce Clause - states can’t interfere with Congress’ attempt to regulate interstate commerce! Led to civil rights legislation in the 1960’s. How?
WHAT TYPE IS IT? E – expressed legislative I – implied legislative N – non-legislative P - prohibited • • Impeach the President Propose Constitutional amendments Prohibit race discrimination in hotels, restaurants Grant titles of nobility Create new federal courts Raise and support an army Establish national system of air traffic controllers Elect P if no candidate gets majority of electoral vote
WHAT TYPE IS IT? E – expressed legislative I – implied legislative N – non-legislative P - prohibited • • Offer advice and consent on treaties made by P? Do away with trial by jury? Establish a state religion? Lay and collect taxes? Print paper money? Conduct investigations? To admit a new state to the United States? Borrow money?
Congressional Process • • Designed to be slow & complicated – To PREVENT Congress from acting hastily – To foster COMPROMISE All bills must pass both houses in exactly the same form – BUT, note that the debate and voting processes are different in each house of Congress – Debate more limited in House for obvious reasons
Congressional Process • • – – – Bills (proposed LAW) Public bill – applies to entire nation Private bill – only to certain people or places Resolutions (making a statement) Simple – relates to business of either house or expresses opinion on a matter; does NOT have force of law (e. g. , new rules for house or senate) Concurrent – intended to govern matters internal to Congress itself or a statement of position by House & Senate together (on a foreign issue for ex. – does NOT have force of law Joint – subject to the same procedures as bills and if passed are considered “laws” … usually deals with special circumstances, temporary ($ for inauguration, to annex territories, etc. )
MAKING POLICY BILLS TO LAWS – 8 STEPS 1. Writing the Bill: ANYONE can write a bill - you, a legislator, president, bureaucrat, interest group… - drafted in precise legal language. - 10, 000 or more are initiated each session. 2. Introducing the Bill: Can ONLY be done by a legislator – known as the Sponsor of the bill 3. Titling & numbering: done by the Speaker or Senate Majority leader 4. Off to Committee action – what KIND of committee? STANDING! - Subcommittee first-schedule hearings, may kill it, revise it, approve it … reports it out - Standing Committee- schedules hearings, kill it, revise it, approve it … reports it out
#5 - FLOOR ACTION HOUSE – goes to Rules committee before floor: Schedules House rules for floor action a) closed rule - limits debate, no amendments on the floor b) open rule - amendments allowed on floor c) restrictive rule - selective amendments d) A discharge petition can avoid “Rules” & Speaker can initiate this petition. Brings a bill out of committee and to the floor for consideration without a report from the committee and usually without cooperation of the leadership by "discharging" the committee from further consideration of the bill. e) Suspend the “Rules”…To floor for vote. SENATE - Leadership schedules debate and amendments are open for any cause.
Amendments to Bills Senate has no closed rules for amendment. - EXCEPT – there is a “two speech/day on same issue” rule - Senate can add “riders” to legislation: a provision added on to a bill, not directly relating to the content of the bill - A tactic to pass a controversial provision that would not pass as its own bill. When are they most effective? Occasionally, a rider is attached to a bill not to be passed itself but to prevent the bill from being passed – known as a wrecking amendment or a poison pill in that case.
Amendments to Bills - An earmark is a provision attached to an appropriations bill (appropriates $) - Members of Congress use "earmarks" to provide federal funding to companies, projects, groups and organizations for the benefit of only their district/region. - A hold - Senator informs floor leader that he does not wish a particular bill to reach the floor for consideration. The Majority Leader need not follow the Senator's wishes, but is on notice that the opposing Senator may filibuster any motion to proceed to consider the measure
Amendments to Bills Senate can filibuster! - a delaying tactic to round up votes - record held by Strom Thurmond of SC for 24 hours, 18 minutes - Can be stopped by CLOTURE (requires 60 votes – 3/5 of Senate)
BILLS TO LAWS – THE STEPS 6. If Senate and House disagree – pass out a different version of a bill – it goes to a Conference committee – what is it? 7. Then, back to full House + full Senate to vote o conference committee version – NO amendments - roll call vote – usually passes 8. To President – 10 days to act: - sign it into law - veto it (note: with veto message) - what happens if he doesn’t act in 10 days? If Congress is in session? Has adjourned? Pocket veto? - veto can be overridden by 2/3 vote in both House + Senate. Can take up to 7 yrs. for a non-monetary bill to become law!
LEGISLATIVE VETO • Congress attempted to give itself veto power over the P/Executive Branch • Congress would write legislation giving P broad powers to act, but reserve to itself the right to void P’s actions by a vote of one or both houses • This legislative veto declared unconstitutional by Supreme Ct. in INS v. Chadha (1983) – A deportation case (Congress gave power to either House or Senate to invalidate an executive branch – INS – deportation order) – SCOTUS ruled that this violates the separation of powers inherent in our Constitution
What influences successful passage of bills? 1. Appeasing the “Chief Legislator” 2. Party influence - 50% of the time legislators will vote party line… House partisanship is stronger than the Senate. 3. Constituency support - legislators act as POLITICOS: Ø “trustees” to represent the interests of all AND also as “instructed delegates” to represent constituent interests 4. SIGS + lobbyists – can be a formidable adversary OR supporter in influencing legislation.
How many bills become laws?