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The Legislative Branch CIVICS TODAY, CHAPTER 6 MS. DUNN
Branches of Government = Separation of Powers
Back to Chapter 1 for a sec… What kind of democracy do we live in? So the people rule, but they don’t make public policy Who does make it?
Bicameral Congress is bicameral, meaning it has two houses The larger house, which is supposedly the “common man’s house, ” is the House of Representatives The smaller house, which is for “the elite” of America is the Senate Our
The Legislative Branch: The US Congress Bicameral legislature: having 2 houses in Congress
The House of Representatives
Members of the House of Representatives Official title is “Representative So and So…” Also called “congressman or congresswoman” There are 435 congressmen Congressmen are elected to a term of 2 years
The House of Representatives
Members of the Senate Official title is “Senator So and So” There are 100 Senators (2 from each state) Senators are elected to a term of 6 years
Basic Information We call each 2 year period a “term” of Congress Terms are numbered consecutively… the one that ended December 2014 was the 113 th Congress The one that is in session now is called the 114 th Congress (Jan 2015 - Jan 2017)
A session of Congress is all the time it takes to finish their business for the year So how many sessions are there in a term of Congress?
Seats in the House Seats are apportioned (given out) to each state based on population A Census is taken every 10 years to reapportion seats. Ever since 1929, the number has been 435 (Reapportionment Act)
Seats in the House Every state divides itself into districts based on the number of seats apportioned to the state For example, North Carolina is given 13 seats based on our population.
What Does it Take to be in the House? 25 years old U. S. citizen for at least 7 years Must live in the state you are elected in
Midterm Elections In the election That really years where there stinks, yo. is no presidential election (2010, 2014), the president’s party usually loses seats in Congress
Seats in the Senate There will always be 2 seats per state in the Senate 50 States = 100 Senators
What Does it Take to be in the Senate? I am the Governator, and 30 Years Old I’ll be back. U. S. Citizen for 9 Years Must live in the state you are elected in
Comparing the House and the Senate Originally, congressmen were elected by the public, and Senators were elected by the state legislatures Founding Fathers did not trust the public with all power 17 th Amendment has since changed Senate elections to a public vote
Comparing the House and the Senate Senators have a much longer term Entire House is elected at once, while only 1/3 of Senate is chosen at a time What do you think would happen if the entire Senate was reelected in the same year?
Founding Fathers’ Intent The Founding Fathers wanted to have one house that would quickly respond to the desires of the public (House of Reps) And one house that would be moderate, and stop any crazy nonsense the House would try (Senate)
Demographics of Congress is not at all demographically representative of the U. S. population For example…
Demographics of Congress
Special House Powers The House has special jobs that only it can do. It can: Start laws that make people pay taxes. Decide if a government official should be put on trial before the Senate if s/he commits a crime against the country.
Special Senate Powers The Senate has special jobs that only it can do. It can: Say yes or no to any treaties the president makes. Say yes or no to any people the president recommends for jobs, such as cabinet officers, Supreme Court justices, and ambassadors. Can hold a trial for a government official who does something very wrong
Role on the Job How should elected officials represent their constituents? Trustee – the people ‘trust’ that the official will vote in the constituent’s best interests Partisan – the official acts as a member of his/her political party and votes with the party Politico – the official votes partially as a ‘trustee’ and partially as a ‘partisan’ to COMPROMISE and get work done
Salary as of 2015 President Pro-tempore: $193, 400 Regular Senator: $174, 000 Majority/Minority leaders: $193, 400 Speaker of the House: $223, 500 Regular Representative: $174, 000 Majority/Minority leaders: $193, 400 Also… members of congress are given $900, 000 to pay up to 18 employees and $250, 000 for office supplies.
Non-Salary Benefits and Privileges Franking Privilege from Arrest Hospitalization Privilege $3000 tax break on 2 houses Free Travel Office Space "They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place. "