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How Congress Works

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Title: U.S. CONGRESS Author: Julie Strong Last modified by: basetup Created Date: 2/4/2004 6:46:06 PM Document presentation format: On-screen Show Company – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: How Congress Works


1
How Congress Works
The Legislative Process
2
A Bill v. A Law
  • Bill - a proposed new law introduced within a
    legislature that has not yet been passed, enacted
    or adopted

3
A Bill v. A Law
  • Law - a bill or act passed by a legislative body

4
Types of Bills
  • public bill proposed legislative bill that
    deals with matters of general concern and
    application
  • private bill a proposed legislative bill that
    deals with specific private, personal, or local
    matters rather than general affairs
  • appropriation bill legislative motion
    authorizing the government to spend money

5
Types of Resolutions
resolution - a measure expressing
opinions on policies or issues
  • simple resolution measure dealing with
    house-keeping or procedural matters that only
    affect one house
  • joint resolution measure when approved by both
    houses and the president carries the force of law
  • concurrent resolution legislative motion that
    must be approved by both houses, but does not
    have the force of law

6
Congressmen Wear Many Hats
Legislator
Representative
Partisan
Committee Member
Politician
7
A Congressmans Balancing Act
How should I vote? My constituents first or my
country???
8
Lobbying
  • Advocate To defend or maintain a cause or
    proposal to petition for change using the art of
    persuading others
  • Lobby To promote (as for a project) or secure
    the passage of (as for legislation) by
    influencing public officials through education
    to attempt to influence or sway (as for a public
    official) toward a desired action by substantive
    debate

9
Lobbying Groups
  • Individual companies
  • Trade Associations
  • Labor unions and consumer groups
  • Law firms and lobbying groups
  • Public Relations Firms
  • Grassroots Firms
  • Interest Groups
  • AARP (formerly the American Association for
    Retired Persons)
  • American Association for People with
    Disabilities
  • American Cancer Society
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • Childrens Defense Fund
  • American Humane Society
  • Americans for Tax Reform
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Friends of Tobacco
  • Gray Panthers
  • League of Conservation Voters
  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving

10
  • First Amendment
  • Congress shall make no law respecting an
    establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
    free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom
    of speech, or of the press or the right of the
    people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the
    Government for a redress of grievances.
  • Freedom of religion
  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of press
  • Right to petition
  • To petition the government for a redress of
    grievances means that citizens can ask for
    changes in the government. They can do this by
    collecting signatures and sending them to their
    elected representatives they can write, call, or
    e-mail their elected representatives and they
    can support groups that lobby the government.
  • The right to petition is really a part of a
    larger American rightthe right to advocate for
    ones own beliefs or opinions.
  • Advocacy, and petitioning for change,
    involves the art of persuading others.
  • Advocacy skills provide effective ways for
    citizens to participate in making laws.
  • The ability to petition for change is one of
    our most valuable rightsand responsibilities as
    American citizens.

11
Who can contribute?
  • Any American citizen can contribute up to
    2,300 per election to a candidate running for
    federal office and up to 28,500 to a national
    political party.
  • Foreigners with no permanent U.S. residency are
    prohibited from contributing to any political
    candidates at any level.
  • Cash contributions over 100 are prohibited, no
    matter what their origin.
  • No candidate can accept an anonymous
    contribution that is more than 50.
  • Corporations and labor unions are prohibited
    from contributing to federal campaigns or
    parties.
  • Minors are prohibited from making contributions
    to federal candidates and contributions or
    donations to committees of political parties.

12
What are PACs?
  • A Political Action Committee (PAC) is a common
    term for a political committee set up for the
    purpose of raising and spending money to elect
    and defeat candidates.
  • PACs have been around since 1944 and they
    represent ideological, business or labor
    interests.
  • PAC funds are generated from voluntary
    contributions from the individuals they
    represent. For example, General Motors
    Corporation, the American Federation of Teachers,
    and the American Farm Bureau all have PACs and
    all participate in the process to elect or
    perhaps defeat a political candidate.
  • A PAC can give 5,000 to any candidate committee
    per election. PAC contributions by both the donor
    and the recipient can be reviewed through their
    mandatory reports on the Federal Election
    Commissions Web site (www.fec.gov).

13
  • Questions
  • Are any students involved with a lobbying group?
    Why or why not?
  • In what ways can students educate their elected
    officials about the specifics of a particular
    issue or students views on it?
  • Is lobbying a negative or positive part of the
    legislative process? Explain.
  • Does lobbying provide a valuable contribution to
    the legislative process? Explain.
  • How can students become involved in lobbying the
    legislative process?

14
Videos
  • Who are Lobbyists? http//www.youtube.com/watch?v
    R2DUM6jVaswsafety_modetruepersist_safety_mode1
    safeactive
  • 60 Minutes Jack Abramoff
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vCHiicN0Kg10safety
    _modetruepersist_safety_mode1safeactive
  • School House Rock Im Just a Bill
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?v0dVo3nbLYC0safety
    _modetruepersist_safety_mode1safeactive

15
Navigating the Legislative Obstacle Course
16
Step 1 An Idea for a Bill
Sources
Member(s) of Congress
Private Citizen
Interest Group
Federal Agency
White House
Governor(s)
Mayor(s)
17
Step 2 Writing Introduction of Bill
  • Senate
  • Bill formerly read aloud on floor
  • Bill then given to clerk
  • Referred to committee by Steering Committee
  • House
  • Bill dropped in hopper
  • Referred to committee by the Speaker

Sen. Smith introduces bill on the Senate floor
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
18
Step 3 Committee Action
  • House Senate committees conduct public hearings
  • Experts testify
  • Markup of bills
  • Committee vote
    report favorably,
    unfavorably,
    or table bill

House Armed Services Committee
19
Step 4 Floor Action - Senate
  • Party leaders schedule bills for floor debate on
    the calendar
  • Unlimited debate
  • Filibuster - member(s) keep talking to block
    debate on a bill
  • Cloture vote by 3/5 of Senators (60) can end
    filibuster
  • Floor vote Roll Call, Standing, Voice

Senator Strum Thurman still holds the record for
the longest filibuster - 24 hrs 18 min. on the
1957 Civil Rights Act
20
Step 4 Floor Action - House
  • Rules Committee schedules bills on calendar
    decides whether amendments may be added
  • Limited debate
  • Floor vote
    Recorded,
    Standing,

    Voice

21
Step 5 Approved Bill Crosses Over to Other
House
  • Approved bill must pass each chamber by a simple
    majority

22
Step 6 Conference Committee
  • Members from each chamber meet to reconcile
    differences in the two bills

Senate-House Conference Committee works out
details of the 2003 Healthy Forest Restoration Act
23
Step 7 Both Chambers Vote on Final Version of
the Bill
24
Step 8 President Considers Bill
  • President can
  • sign the bill
    into law
  • veto bill
  • pocket veto
  • Note Congress can override veto with 2/3 vote
    in each house only 4 of vetos have
    been overriden

25
Critical Thinking
  • Fact About 5,000 bills are introduced in
    Congress every year, but only about 150 are
    signed into law.
  • Explain why so few bills become law.
  • Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
  • Should the legislative process in Congress be
    reformed? If yes, what changes would you
    recommend? If not, why not?

26
Title Imagine theres no Congress Artist Joe
Heller, Green Bay Press-Gazette Date
6/06/07 Source http//www.politicalcartoons.co
m/
27
Title Breaking the Filibuster is not
Enough Source http//www.republicanvoices.org/
may_2005_newsletter.html
28
Artist RJ Matson Date 6/14/07 Source
http//themoderatevoice.com/category/politics/poli
tical-cartoons/
29
Source http//bigpicture.typepad.com/ Date
5/6/06
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