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6.1 Organization of Congress


6.1 Organization of Congress A Bicameral Legislature The Great Compromise established Congress as a two-part or bicameral body A Bicameral Legislature In the Upper ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: 6.1 Organization of Congress

6.1 Organization of Congress
A Bicameral Legislature
  • The Great Compromise established Congress as a
    two-part or bicameral body

A Bicameral Legislature
  • In the Upper House (Senate) each state would have
    an equal number of representatives- two, in the
    lower house (House of Representatives) each
    states population would determine representation

A Bicameral Legislature
  • The legislative branch is described in Article I
    of the Constitution and our Congress includes 535

Terms of Congress
  • Each term of Congress lasts 2 years and starts on
    January 3rd of odd-numbered years, each new
    Congress is given a number to identify its
    two-year term

Terms of Congress
  • Each term is divided into two sessions Congress
    may meet during special sessions or in times of
    crisis, a joint session occurs when the House and
    Senate meet together

In 2008 a joint session of Congress counted
electoral votes.
The House of Representatives
  • The House of Representatives has 435 voting
    members allotted according to population, the
    Constitution guarantees each state at least one

The House of Representatives
  • After each 10-year census Congress adjusts the
    number given to each state, they serve 2 year
    terms and focus on the concerns of their districts

The House of Representatives
  • State legislatures draw boundaries so districts
    include roughly the same number of constituents,
    or people represented

The House of Representatives
  • Sometimes states abuse this process by
    gerrymandering, a gerrymander is an oddly shaped
    district designated to increase the voting
    strength of a particular group

The Senate
  • The Senate has 100 members, 2 from each of the 50
    states each senator represents the entire state,
    they serve 6 year terms

The Senate
  • Elections are staggered so no more than one-third
    are up for reelection at any one time this
    ensures a certain amount of stability and

In 2008 Kay Hagen (D) was elected Senator in
2010 Richard Burr (R) is up for re-election
Leaders in Congress
  • In the House and Senate the political party to
    which more than half the members belong is known
    as the majority party the other party is called
    the minority party

Leaders in Congress
  • The leader of the House of Representatives is
    known as the Speaker of the House, the Speaker
    steers legislation through the House and leads
    floor debates if anything happens to the
    President and VP the Speaker is next in line to
    become President

John Boehner (R) from Ohio Speaker after 2010
midterm elections
Leaders in Congress
  • The Vice President presides in the Senate but
    only votes to break a tie the President Pro
    Tempore acts as chairperson for the Senate

VP Joe Biden- President of the Senate
Senator Daniel Inouye- Hawaii President Pro
Leaders in Congress
  • Other powerful leaders are the majority and
    minority floor leaders in each house, they speak
    for their parties on issues Party Whips help the
    floor leaders, they make sure legislators are
    present for key votes

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer- MD
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy- CA
Committee Work
  • Each house must consider thousands of bills, or
    proposed laws, in the course of a session to
    make it possible to handle so many bills each
    house developed a system of committees
  • Congress has three types of committees standing
    committees, select committees, and joint

Committee Work
  • Standing Committees are permanent committees
  • Select Committees are temporary committees that
    deal with special issues, they meet for a limited
    time until they complete their assigned task
  • Joint Committees include members of both houses,
    they meet to consider specific issues
  • http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TemplateUSCongressCo

Committee Assignments
  • Party leaders make committee assignments, they
    consider members preferences, expertise, and
    loyalty to the party another key factor is
    seniority or years of service
  • The longest-serving committee member from the
    majority party traditionally becomes chairperson
    they decide when and if a committee meets, what
    bills are studied, and who will serve on which

Representative Edward J. Markey of
Massachusetts Chairman of the Select Committee on
Energy Independence and Global Warming
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