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The Organization of Congress By Mr. Hunt
Congressional Sessions n n Each term of Congress has two sessions Sessions last until congress votes to adjourn. 114 th Congress
114 th Congress (Term) n n January 3 rd 2015 Session 1 January 3 rd 2016 Session 2
Membership of the House n n At least 25 yrs old Citizens for at least 7 yrs. , and resident of the state they represent 2 yr. term # of representatives based on population census done every 10 yrs.
Membership of the House n State Legislatures set up congressional districts, with one representative from each district.
Change in Missouri House of Representative Districts
House of Reps n n Originally 1 Rep for 30, 000 people. Reapportionment Act of 1929 keeps the amount of representatives at 435. n 10, 000 Members Today
Gerrymandering n n Packing – drawing lines so they include as many of the opposing party’s voters as possible. Cracking – dividing an opponent’s voters into other districts. Weakens the opponent’s voter base
North Carolina Gerrymandering
2000 Congressional Reapportionment
2010 Census Congressional Reapportionment
Membership of the Senate n n n At least 30 yrs. Old Citizen for 9 years Resident of the state they represent 6 yr term 1/3 rd elected every two years Two senators per state Roy Blunt, class 3 Claire Mc. Caskill, class 1
Ted Kennedy (D) n n If Senator Dies or Resigns State Legislature may authorize Gov. to appoint one until next election or have special election. Elections happen on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in Nov. Even numbered year. Ted Kirk (D) Scott Brown (R)
Membership in Congress n n n Senate and House set their members’ salaries ($174, 000) Have benefits such as franking privilege which means all postage is free for them. May refuse to seat a member and may censure or even expel members.
John Ensign n In 1998, after President Bill Clinton admitted to having committed adultery with Monica Lewinsky, Ensign called on him to resign saying, "He has no credibility left. " Extra-martial Affair of his own On April 21, 2011, Ensign announced his resignation from office effective May 3
Impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich Impeached for trying to sale the senatorial position of President Obama
Senator Weiner (D) n He admitted sending out creepy nude and semi-nude photos. Resigned
Charles Rangel joins infamous list in history of Congress n In a rare move, the House on Thursday voted, 333 to 79, to censure 15 -term Rep. Charles Rangel (D) of New York for 11 ethics violations ranging from failure to disclose income to violating House gift bans.
Reelection to Congress n n Sitting member is the Incumbent wins majority of time because PACs put lots of money in their Campaign.
Rules for Lawmaking n n Each house has rules to help members conduct business. Congress carries out most of its work by committees.
Rules for Lawmaking (cont. ) n Majority party in each house organizes the committees, appoints committee heads, and change rules by which the House operates.
House Leadership n n n Speaker of the House is leader of the majority party Floor leaders of both majority and minority parties steer bills through committees. Party whips assist floor leaders in getting support for agenda. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan
Leaders Kevin Mc. Carthy, Majority Leader Steve Scalise, Majority Whip Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader Steny Hoyer, Minority Whip
Lawmaking in the House n n Members attend House floor sessions to vote on legislation. All laws begin as bills introduced in the House, then go to committee.
How House Bills are Scheduled n n House leaders control the flow of bills to committees and to the floor House Rules Committee – serve as “traffic officer” directing flow of legislation. They can move bills ahead quickly, hold them back, or stop them completely
Senate Leaders The Senate is presided over by the Vice. President, but has no vote except in a tie.
Senate Leaders In the absence of the VP, the President Pro Temp presides. This person is always from the Majority party. “I am deeply grateful to my nation for this extraordinary award. The making of a man involves many mentors. If I did well, much of the credit should go to my parents, grandparents and the gallant men of my platoon. This is their medal. I will receive it on their behalf. ” Senator Daniel Ken Inouye (D-HA)
Majority and Minority Floor Leaders n n The majority and minority leaders are the most important officers in the Senate. They help steer bills through Senate. Also have help from the whips from each party. The Majority party controls the flow of legislative work. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) Senator Mitch Mc. Connell (R-KY)
Senate Calendars Calendar of General Orders n Bills under consideration Executive Calendar n Decide on Treaties and nominations
Filibuster n Senators may filibuster to defeat a bill they oppose. Which means to keep talking until a majority of the Senate either abandons the bill or agrees to modify its most controversial provisions.
Filibuster (cont. ) n Senators who have the floor may continue to stand talk. After the first 3 hrs. they may talk about anything. Ted Cruz speech 21 hours and 15 min. against Affordable Healthcare Act Strom Thurmond Filibuster 24 hours and 18 min. against Civil Rights Act of 1957
Filibuster (cont. ) n A filibuster can be n Senate: stopped when n Dem 60 3/5 ths of the n Rep 40 senate votes for cloture. Cloture allows each senator to speak only 1 hr on a bill.
Committees n n 1 st. Allows Congress to divide up workload 2 nd. Select what few bills will be considered further. 3 rd. Hold public hearings and investigations, to help public learn about bill. Most bills never make it through committees.
Kinds of Committees n n Standing committees – are permanent groups with several subcommittees Select committees – study one specific issue and report their findings. (9/11)
Kinds of Committees (cont. ) n n Joint committees – may be permanent or temporary Conference committees – job is to resolve differences between two versions of bill (Affordable Healthcare Act or otherwise known as Obamacare)
Committees n n n Political parties assign members to standing committees May only serve on so many standing committees. Party leaders choose chairperson of standing committees. Usually from the majority party with longest uninterrupted service.