Essentials of American Government - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


PPT – Essentials of American Government PowerPoint presentation | free to view - id: af9c9-ZDkzO


The Adobe Flash plugin is needed to view this content

Get the plugin now

View by Category
About This Presentation

Essentials of American Government


Not so much representatives of the people. More concerned that they would ... to Vice President Dick Cheney regarding secret intelligence briefing information ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

Number of Views:207
Avg rating:3.0/5.0
Slides: 34
Provided by: Ste8301


Write a Comment
User Comments (0)
Transcript and Presenter's Notes

Title: Essentials of American Government

Essentials of American Government
  • Chapter 6 Congress

Nancy Pelosi
  • Democrat from California
  • First female speaker of the U.S. House of
  • Second in line to the president of the United

Framers Intent
  • Not so much representatives of the people
  • More concerned that they would be a body that
    could make laws and govern the nation
  • Over time Congresses power has decreased but
    individual members importance has increased
  • So Americans hate congress and love their

The Constitution and the Legislative Branch of
  • Article I of the Constitution
  • The Great Compromise
  • Bicameral legislature
  • Requirements for membership
  • House
  • Senate

The Constitution and Congress
  • Article 1 of the Constitution
  • Requirements for congressmen (and women)

Senate 30 years old 9 years living in
U.S. Resident of state Six year terms
House 25 years old 7 years living in
U.S. Resident of state Two year terms
  • The Constitution and the Legislative Branch of
  • How Congress is Organized
  • The Members of Congress
  • How Members Make Decisions
  • The Law-making Function of Congress
  • Congress and the President
  • Congress and the Judiciary

How Congress is Organized
  • New Congress is seated every 2 years
  • among first items on agenda of new Congress
  • hierarchical leadership structure
  • Organizational Structure of the House of
    Representatives and the Senate in the
  • 110th Congress (Figure 6. 1)

The Role of Parties in Organizing Congress
  • the basic division in Congress
  • The 110th Congress (Figure 6.2)
  • majority party
  • minority party
  • two sessions
  • role of parties regarding committees
  • what happens at start of new
  • Congress in party caucus or conference?
  • Republican Committee on Committees
  • Democratic Steering Committee

The House of Representatives
  • the first Congress in 1798
  • more tightly organized than the Senate
  • more elaborately structured
  • governed by stricter rules
  • loyalty to leader and party line votes
  • the leadership
  • Speaker
  • majority and minority leaders
  • Republican and Democratic House whips

The House of Representatives
  • The Speaker of the House
  • how elected
  • elected by majority party
  • duties and role of Speaker
  • Other House Leaders
  • party caucus or conference
  • majority leader
  • where the two parties sit in the House chamber
  • minority leaderwhips

The Senate
  • presiding officer of the Senate, status and
  • official chair of the Senate
  • how president pro tempore is elected and his
  • duty of presiding over Senate rotates
  • majority leader of the Senate and duties
  • majority leader's power compared to Speaker's
  • 110th Congress
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
  • Whips
  • Senate rules give tremendous power to individual
  • why called a "gentlemen's club"?

The Committee System
  • real legislative work of Congress takes place in
  • importance of committees in the House of
  • subcommittees provide greater specialization
  • Types of Committees
  • standing committees
  • joint committees
  • conference committees
  • Select (or special) committees
  • Committees of the 109th Congress (Table 6.2)
  • House Committee on Rules
  • power of standing committees
  • discharge petition
  • committee assignments in House and Senate
  • framing legislation in House and Senate
  • more individual input in Senate

Committee Membership
  • value of committee assignments to members
  • pork-
  • value of membership on some committees to
    campaign contributions
  • Appropriations and Budget Committees
  • party distribution and committee membership
  • share of committee membership for majority
    Democrats in 110th Congress
  • essential value of Rules Committee to the

Committee Chairs
  • power and prestige
  • staff
  • seniority
  • role of seniority in selecting committee chairs
    in House and in Senate

The Members of Congress
  • difficulties members face
  • constituencies that members of Congress must
    attempt to appease
  • A Day in the Life of a Member of Congress (Table

Running for Office and Staying in Office
  • membership in one of the two major parties
    essential to being elected
  • Incumbency
  • general success of incumbents in reelection
  • reasons incumbents lost in 2006-

Congressional Demographics
  • general demographics of members of Congress
  • Education
  • Wealth
  • Age
  • Women
  • minorities in 2007 in the House and Senate
  • Female and Minority-Group Members of Congress,
    Selected Years (Figure 6.3)
  • Occupations
  • Veterans

Theories of Representation
  • Edmund Burke
  • Trustee
  • Delegate
  • Politico
  • minority representation in Congress

How Members Make Decisions
  • Party
  • members look to party leaders
  • increase of party votes where majorities of the
    two parties took opposing sides (from 1970 to
  • unanimity of votes in 107th and 108th Congress
  • party loyalty
  • voter discontent over Republican control of
    Congress and the 2006 midterm election results
  • divided government
  • percentage of voters in 2006 general election-day
    poll who stated a preference for divided

How Members Make Decisions
  • Constituents
  • Constituents
  • how often do members vote in conformity with
    people in the districts?
  • how members of Congress gauge constituents'
  • Wedge issues

How Members Make Decisions
  • Colleagues and Congress
  • Logrolling
  • Special-interest caucuses
  • Barack Obama
  • Interest Groups, Lobbyists, and Political Action
  • Primary functions of most lobbyists
  • Grassroots appeals
  • Source of campaign financing

How Members Make Decisions
  • Staff and Support Agencies
  • Members reliance on staff
  • Duties of staff
  • Influence of staff on voting
  • Committee staff
  • Congressional support offices

The Law-making Functions of Congress
  • Who can formally submit a bill for congressional
  • Appropriate number of bills in 109th Congress
  • Appropriate number of bills introduced in 109th
    Congress that were made into law

The Law-making Functions of Congress
  • How a Bill becomes law
  • Multiple points of approval
  • How a bill becomes a law (Figure 6.4)
  • bill introduced
  • sponsors and co-sponsors
  • bill sent to committee
  • bill referred to subcommittee
  • hearings in subcommittee
  • subcommittee votes

The Law-making Functions of Congress
  • How a Bill becomes law
  • if passes subcommittee, bill returned to full
  • Markup
  • action on the House or Senate floor
  • House Committee on Rules
  • House budget bills

The Law-making Functions of Congress
  • How a Bill becomes law
  • Committee of the Whole
  • actions taken on floor
  • if bill survives
  • Hold
  • Filibusters
  • Cloture
  • when two chambers of Congress approve different
    versions of same bill

How a Bill becomes law
  • conference committee compromise returned to House
    and Senate for a vote (a bill must pass both
    houses in the same language to go to the
  • no changes or amendments
  • if bill passes
  • Veto
  • four options of president regarding veto within
    the ten days he has to consider the bill
  • 1)
  • 2)
  • 3)
  • 4)
  • pocket veto-

The Shifting Balance of Power
  • Congress responds to the executive branch
  • criticisms of Congress

Congressional Oversight of the Executive Branch
  • Oversight
  • key to Congress's performance of its oversight
  • committee hearings
  • Congress under Republican control abandons some
    oversight functions
  • Congressional Review Act of 1996
  • congressional review
  • federal agency regulations and the Congressional
    Review Act
  • Foreign Policy and National Security

Congressional Oversight of the Executive Branch
  • division of foreign policy powers between the
    Congress and the president under the Constitution
  • War Powers Act of 1973
  • limited effectiveness of War Powers Act
  • 2001 joint resolution authorizing president to
    use force against terrorists
  • Senator Jay Rockefeller letter to Vice President
    Dick Cheney regarding secret intelligence
    briefing information-

Confirmation of Presidential Appointments
  • Senate's special oversight function
  • confirmation of key members of executive branch
    and presidential appointments to the federal
  • what a wise president does before making
    controversial nominations-

Impeachment Process
  • ultimate oversight
  • Constitution vague about impeachment
  • treason, bribery, or other "high crimes and
  • what did Framers intend?
  • Hamilton in Federalist No. 65
  • U.S. House of Representatives record of
  • only four resolutions against presidents have
    resulted in further action
  • 1)
  • 2)
  • 3)
  • 4)

Congress and the Judiciary
  • Way in which Congress can exercise control over
    the federal judiciary
  • Senatorial courtesy
  • Setting jurisdiction of federal courts