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POSI 2310 Chapter 11

by: Marissa

POSI 2310 Chapter 11 2310

Texas State
GPA 3.3
Principles of American Government
Joshua Quinn

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Notes on Chapter 11 - Congress: Balancing National Goals and Local Interests
Principles of American Government
Joshua Quinn
Class Notes
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Marissa on Wednesday October 14, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to 2310 at Texas State University taught by Joshua Quinn in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 90 views. For similar materials see Principles of American Government in Political Science at Texas State University.

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Date Created: 10/14/15
POSI 2310 Ch 11 Congress Balancing National Goals and Local Interests Congress as a Career Elections to Congress a Congress has a double nature it forms policy and is a representative body b Congress in the beginning i Mostly Congressmen were temporary ii Before 1900 Congressmen would retire after 1 term iii Had to travel long distances the federal government wasn t the central power c Congress now i Most are career politicians ii Prestige with lobbyists and constituents iii David Mayhew said Congress members were singleminded seekers of reelection iv An office holder seeking for reelection incumbent v Congress has an average 14 approval rating vi 966 are reelected in the House 954 in the Senate d Using incumbency to stay in Congress i The service strategy taking care of constituents and their interests 1 Pork barrel spending bringing federal money to their home districts use to gain voter approval ii Campaign fundraising raking in the money 1 Already have people s attention PACs 2 Spending is highest during Open Seat Elections no incumbent iii Redistricting favorable boundaries for incumbents 1 Line is drawn by incumbents based on population and demographics 2 Minorities are grouped together to dilute their vote 3 Gerrymandering redrawing favorable boundaries of electoral districts only in the House e Pitfalls of incumbency i Disruptive issues 1 Voters attack incumbent when problems arise ii Personal misconduct 1 Media and watchdog function A of the incumbents not reelected were tied to a big scandal iii Turnout variation the midterm election problem 1 People are more tied to a party 2 Less in number and greater in party association 3 Issue driven more informed iv Primary election challengers 1 Threat to moderate incumbent v General election challengers a problem for senators 1 People want Senate positions vi A new threat super PACs f Requirements to hold office i House of Representatives 25 years old and citizen for 7 years ii Senate 30 years old and citizen for 9 years g Not a microcosm of the country i Lawyers are less than 1 of the population ii Mi of the House more than 12 of Senate h White males i Women 8 times what it was 4 decades ago ii Minorities 18th 1 Just as likely to win but less likely to run therefore less likely to be represented II Parties and Party Leadership a Party caucus closed session i Plan strategies within parties policy plans ii Divide has been growing in the last 3 decades b Party unity in Congress i Parties are the strongest force within Congress 1 Poole and Rosenthal a Study showed that the distance between the most conservative Democrat and the most liberal Republican is increasing b Parties don t represent the middle ii Heightened unity seen through rollcall votes in recent decades 1 Each member s vote is recorded keeps party members in line c Party leadership in Congress i House leaders 1 Leaders due to their ability to work with other members of the party 2 Speaker of the House a 2nd most powerful office in the federal government b Influences legislation controls debates gets party members active 3 House majority leader a On the floor key in debate and passage of bills 4 House majority whip a Informs party members when to vote and how d Speaker of the House i Elected by the House membership ii By default a member of the majority party iii Said to be the secondmost powerful official in Washington iv Develops party issues v Persuades party members vi Can speak first during debate vii Recognizes speakers during debate viii Influences House Rules Committee e Senate leaders i Majority party leader is the most powerful Senator ii The Vice President presides over the Senate however has power only to cast tiebreaking vote iii Senate president pro tempore presides over the Senate in the vice president s absence 1 Largely an honorary position held by the majority party s senior member I Committees and Committee Leadership a Committee types i Standing permanent with responsibility for certain areas of policy 1 Draft and rewrite legislature recommend passage or defeat of bills 2 An average 10000 bills are made in a twoyear session ii Select 1 Don t produce any legislation oversee it iii Conference 1 Work out the differences between the Senate and House version of a bill b Committeejurisdiction i Bills introduced must be referred to the proper committee 1 quotProperquot is not always clear party leaders can choose which committee it goes to c Committee membership typically mirrors the party ratio of the body d Committee chairs i Typically senior members of the majority party used for political advantage ii Schedule meetings preside over discussions determine when the debate ends e Committee and parties which is in control i The power of subcommittees quotlittle legislatures 1 Tied more closely to voters ii Republicans added 6 year term for chair seat IV How a Bill Becomes a Law a Committee hearings and decisions i Most work on legislation is done in committee ii A bill is a proposed legislative action b From committee to the floor i House Rules Committee decides when to vote on it If voted on and how long debate lasts ii Rules for debate are defined c Leadership and floor action i Debate changes and vote by full membership ii Amendments open rulebill and closed rulebill 1 Control to House majority 2 Senate filled with crazy quotridersquot a Unrelated legislation attached to the bill iii Unlimited debated unless 35 closure d Conference committees and the president i Reconcile differences between similar legislation ii President signs vetoes or uses pocket veto 1 If not signed after 10 days becomes law if Congress is in session 2 Pocket veto Congress not in session process starts over V Congress Policymaking Role a Lawmaking function of Congress i Makes laws authorizing federal programs 1 And funds them ii Broad issues fragmentations as a limit on Congress role 1 The President typically has the more prominent role iii Congress in the lead fragmentation as a policymaking strength 1 Ability to deal with narrow problems b Representation function i Representation of states and districts focus on the local ii Representation of the nation through parties focus on the big issues iii The obstacle of partisan divisions c Oversight function i Sees that executive branch carries out the laws faithfully ii Done primarily by committees iii Demanding task that can t be done adequately VI Congress An Institution Divided a Pro advantages i Culturally representative of nation ii Diverse interests represented b Cons disadvantages i National interest subjugated to special interests 1 Policy partisan fights don t deal with local interest ii Disproportionate influence of the minority 1 Minority parties can cause gridlock


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