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How Congress Works Part I

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Title: U.S. CONGRESS Author: Julie Strong Last modified by: End User Created Date: 2/4/2004 6:46:06 PM Document presentation format: On-screen Show (4:3) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: How Congress Works Part I


1
How Congress Works Part I
Structure, Organization, Legislative Process
2
Whos in Congress?
3
Demographic Profile of the 111th Congress
Source http//www.congress.org/congressorg/direc
tory/demographics.tt
4
House-Senate Differences
  • House
  • 435 members 2 yr terms
  • Low turnover
  • Speaker bill referral hard to challenge
  • Scheduling/rules controlled by majority party
    with powerful Rules Committee (controls time of
    debate, amends., etc)
  • Senate
  • 100 members 6 yr terms
  • Moderate turnover
  • Referral decisions easily challenged
  • Scheduling/rules agreed to by majority minority
    leaders

5
House-Senate Differences
  • House
  • Debate limited to 1 hour
  • Members policy specialists
  • Emphasizes tax revenue policy
  • More formal impersonal
  • Senate
  • Unlimited debate unless cloture invoked
  • Members policy generalists
  • Emphasizes foreign policy
  • More informal personal

6
Strength of Party Structure?
  • Measure of party strength
  • Ability of leaders to control party rules and
    organization
  • Extent to which party members vote together in
    the House and Senate
  • Senate less party-centered and leader oriented

7
Party Unity
  • Lower today than 100 years ago, but..
  • Ideology important variable explaining party
    voting (members vote with their party 80 of the
    time)
  • Party polarization - vote in which majority of
    democrats oppose majority of republicans
  • Polarization trends
  • 1976 HR 36 S 37
  • 1995 HR 73 S 69
  • 2000 HR 43 S 49

8
CAUCUSES
  • Groups (may be bipartisan) meeting to pursue
    common legislative objectives
  • Rivals to parties in policy formulation
  • Examples Democratic Study Group, Congressional
    Black Caucus, Tuesday Lunch Bunch, Human Rights,
    Congressional Caucus for Womens Issues, Out of
    Iraq Caucus,
  • Rural Caucus, Travel Tourism Caucus, House
    Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children

9
"Congress in session is Congress on public
exhibition, whilst Congress in its
committee-rooms is Congress at work.
- Woodrow Wilson
10
Legislative Committees
Function and Purpose
11
Legislative Committees Function Purpose
  • 1. Consider bills (a.k.a. mark-up bills)

A bill with a members mark-up notes
12
Legislative Committees Function Purpose
  • 2. Maintain oversight of executive agencies

Secretary Donald Rumsfeld testifies before a
Senate Appropriations Committee hearing re the
Department of Defense Budget (May, 2006)
13
Legislative Committees Function Purpose
  • 3. Conduct investigations

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin testified before the
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Committee on Hurricane Katrina (Feb., 2006
14
Types of Committees
  • Standing Committees - permanent panel with full
    legislative functions and oversight
    responsibilities
  • Subcommittees formed to tackle very specific
    tasks within the jurisdiction of the full
    committees
  • Select or Special Committees - groups appointed
    for a limited purpose and limited duration
  • Joint Committees - includes members of both
    chambers to conduct studies or perform
    housekeeping tasks
  • Conference Committee - includes members of House
    Senate to work out differences between similar
    bills

15
Standing Committees
16
House Standing Committees
  • Agriculture
  • Appropriations
  • Armed Services
  • Budget
  • Education Workforce
  • Energy Commerce
  • Financial Services
  • Government Reform
  • House Admin.
  • International Relations
  • Judiciary
  • Resources
  • Rules
  • Science
  • Small Business
  • Standards of Official Conduct
  • Transportation Infrastructure
  • Veterans Affairs
  • Ways Means

17
Senate Standing Committees
  • Agriculture, Nutrition, Forestry
  • Appropriations
  • Armed Services
  • Banking, Housing, Urban Affairs
  • Budget
  • Commerce, Science, Transportation
  • Energy Natural Resources
  • Environment and Public Works
  • Finance
  • Foreign Relations
  • Governmental Affairs
  • Health, Education, Labor Pensions
  • Judiciary
  • Rules and Administration
  • Small Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Veterans Affairs

18
Special, Select Committees
  • House Select Committee on Energy Independence
    Global Warming
  • Senate Select Committee on Ethics
  • House Senate Select Committees on Intelligence

Gen. Michael Hayden is sworn in during a full
committee hearing of the Senate Select
Intelligence Committee on his nomination to be
director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
19
Joint Committees
  • Joint Economic Committee
  • Joint Committee on Printing
  • Joint Committee on Taxation

Joint Committee on Taxation hearing
20
Title Resolution Artist Bob Gorrell Date
12/28/06 Source http//www.gorrellart.com/
21
Artist R.J. Matson, New York Observer Roll
Call Date 1/18/07 Source http//www.cagle.com
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