Ch. 11 Notes
Ch. 11 Notes P SC 1113
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rebecca Hurlburt on Sunday November 15, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to P SC 1113 at University of Oklahoma taught by Dr. Tyler Johnson in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 26 views. For similar materials see American Federal Government in Political Science at University of Oklahoma.
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Date Created: 11/15/15
Chapter 11: The Congress Weekly Notes forAmerican Federal Government P SC 1113 Chapter Notes Vocabulary apportionment- the distribution of House seats among the states on the basis of their respective populations congressional district- the geographic area that is served by one member in the House of Representatives earmark- spending provision inserted into legislation that benefits only a small number of people gerrymandering- the drawing of a legislative district’s boundaries in such a way as to maximize the influence of a certain group or political party instructed delegate- a representative who deliberately mirrors the views of the majority of his or her constituents malapportionment- a condition in which the voting power of citizens in one district is greater than the voting power of citizens in another district minority-majority district- a district in which minority groups make up a majority of the population “one person, one vote” rule- a rule, or principle, requiring that congressional districts have equal populations so that one person’s vote counts as much as another’s vote trustee- a representative who tries to serve the broad interests of the entire society and not just the narrow interests of his or her constituents cloture- a procedure for ending filibusters in the Senate and bringing the matter under consideration to a vote filibustering- the Senate tradition of unlimited debate undertaken for the for the purpose of preventing action on a bill majority leader- the party leader elected by the majority party in the House or in the Senate minority leader- the party leader elected by the minority party in the House or in the Senate Rules Committee- a standing committee in the House that provides special rules governing how particular bills will be considered and debated Speaker of the House- the presiding officer in the House of Representatives.Amember of the majority party and is the most powerful member of the House. standing committee- a permanent committee in Congress that deals with legislation concerning a particular area, such as agriculture or foreign relations subcommittee- a division of a larger committee that deals with a particular part of the committee’s policy area whip- a member of congress who assists the majority or minority leader in managing the party’s legislative program conference committee- a temporary committee that consists of members from the House and the Senate who work out a compromise bill conference report- a report submitted by a conference committee after it has drafted a single version of a bill markup session- a meeting held by a congressional committee or subcommittee to approve, amend, or redraft a bill pocket veto- a special type of veto power used by the president after the legislature has adjourned nuclear option- changing Senate rules—in particular, rules that require a supermajority—by simple majority vote.Also known as the constitutional option. appropriation- the determination of how many dollars will be spent in a given year on a particular government activity authorization- the creation of the legal basis for government programs fiscal year- a twelve-month period (from October 1 through September 30, for the U.S. government) that is established for bookkeeping or accounting purposes first budget resolution- a budget resolution, which is supposed to be passed in May, that sets overall revenue goals and spending targets for the next fiscal year, beginning on October 1 second budget resolution- a budget resolution, which is supposed to be passed in September, that sets “blinding” limits on taxes and spending for the next fiscal year continuing resolution- a temporary resolution that enables executive agencies to continue work with the same funding that they had in the previous fiscal year entitlement program- a government program (such as Social Security) that allows, or entitles, a certain class of people (such as elderly persons) to receive benefits The Structure and Makeup of Congress Appointment of House Seats • Number of representatives in the House of Representatives is determined by population of the state. For example, California has 53 representatives and Wyoming only has one. • Every ten years, the House is reapportioned based on the decennial census. Congressional Districts At first the House continued to grow as the population expanded, but in 1929 a federal law • fixed membership at 435 members. • Because of the limited number of members, congressional districts have about 730,000 people. • To achieve equal representation, congressional districts must have nearly equal numbers of people and must have contiguous boundaries and be “geographically compact”. • Gerrymandering is used to draw congressional districts in a way that will favor a certain party or group. • In the 1990’s the Supreme Court deemed racial gerrymandering to be unconstitutional, however they do not monitor it very closely. The Representation Function of Congress • One view is that Congress members should be trustees, looking out for society as a whole and not just their district. • Another is that Congress members should be delegates and vote for whatever benefits their district. • The third view is that Congress members should be partisan and concerned with the success of their party. • Most members of Congress combine all three approaches. Congressional Election Who Can Be a Member of Congress? • To be a member of the House, a person must be a citizen of the US for seven years, a legal resident of the state they are elected to represent, and at least 25 years of age. To be a Senator, a person must be a citizen of the US for nine years, be a legal resident of the • state they are elected to represent, and be at least 30 years of age. • Senators and representatives receive an annual salary of $174,000 and certain perks and privileges. The Power of Incumbency • Incumbents who run for reelection rarely lose. • They have several advantages over their opponents including congressional franking privileges, professional staffs, lawmaking power, access to the media, and name recognition. Congressional Terms • Representatives serve two-year terms, and senators serve six-year terms. Each term is divided into two regular sessions, on for each year. • • There is no limit to how many terms a representative or senator can serve. Congressional Leadership, the Committee System, and Bicameralism House Leadership • The Speaker of the House has substantial control over what bills are assigned to which committees, may preside over sessions of the House, votes in the event of a tie, interprets the results of most votes, plays a major role in major committee assignments, and schedules bills for action. • The majority leader helps to plan the party’s legislative program, organizes other party members to support legislation favored by the party, makes sure the chairpersons on the many committees finish work on bills that are important to the party, and makes speeches to state the majority party’s position on important bills. • The minority leader has most of the same responsibilities but has less power. • Whips are assistants of both the majority leader and the minority leader who try to push votes towards their party’s interests. Senate Leadership • The vice president is the President of the Senate but can not take part in Senate debates and can only vote in the event of a tie. Because the vice president is not often available to the Senate, a president pro temper is elected • to preside in his place. • Much like the House, the senate also has a majority leader, a minority leader, and whips. Congressional Committees • The committee system allows for specialization in a way that no one member of Congress could achieve. • Standing committees are the permanent and most powerful committees in Congress. Every bill must first go through the appropriate standing committee. • There are also subcommittees with limited jurisdiction. Select committees are formed to study specific problems. • • Joint committees consist of members from both chambers and deal with economy, taxation, and the Library of Congress. • Conference committees are formed to achieve agreement between the two chambers. The Differences between the House and the Senate • House: members chosen from local districts, two-year term, always elected by voters, may impeach federal officials, larger, more formal rules, debate limited, floor action controlled, less prestige and less individual notice, originates bills for raising revenues • Senate: members chosen from entire state, six-year term, originally (until 1913) elected by state legislatures, may convict federal officials of impeachable offenses, smaller, fewer rules and restrictions, debate extended, unanimous consent rules, more prestige and media attention, has power of “advice and consent” The Legislative Process Introduction of legislation—> referral to committees—> reports on a bill—> the Rules Committee and scheduling—> floor debate—> vote—> conference committee (if the chambers disagree)—> presidential action—> overriding a veto (if necessary) Investigation and Oversight The Investigative Function • Congress has the authority to investigate officers of the executive branch and its own members. • When the president has been of the same party as the majority of Congress, some people believe that Congress was not vigilant in its oversight of the executive branch. Impeachment Power • The House has twice exercised its right to impeach the president. BothAndrew Jackson and Bill Clinton were acquitted by the Senate. The House was in the process of impeaching Richard Nixon when he resigned from office, the only president to ever do so. • Congress can also impeach other federal officers. Only one court justice has ever been impeached, Judge Thomas Porteous in 2010. Senate Confirmation • Any presidential appointment must first be approved by the appropriate senatorial committee and then by the entire Senate. • The Senate will sometimes cause delays in approving presidential appointments to struggle with he president if he is of the opposite party of the majority. The Budgeting Process Authorization andAppropriation • Authorization creates the legal basis for government programs. • Appropriation determines how many dollars will be spent in a year on a government program. TheActual Budgeting Process • Executive agency requests; about twelve to eighteen months before start of fiscal year, or in March to September—> OMB review and presidential approval: nine to twelve months before start of fiscal year, or in September to December—> executive branch submittal of budget to Congress: eight to nine months before start of fiscal year, at end of January—> first budget resolution: in May—> second budget resolution: by October 1—> start of fiscal year: October 1—> outlays and obligations: October 1 to September 30—> audit of fiscal-year outlays on a selective basis by GovernmentAccountability Office (GAO) Lecture Notes The Broken Branch and Congressional Styles “CongressAs Public Enemy” (Hibbing and Theiss-Morse) - The least liked branch (clearly so) - The concept of Congress: well liked - The reality of Congress (the people, the processes): strongly disliked Common Complaints - Unable to represent diverse interests - Unable to solve big problems - Inefficient - Too removed from ordinary people - Too heavily influenced by interest groups - Too focused on Washington The Roots of the Broken Branch Idea - Congress appears broken (Mann and Ornstein) - Many problems: partisanship-centered - Hurts the ability to get along in general - Hurts the ability to formally work together - Hurts the speed and reception of outcomes What Can Be Done? - Can change come from inside (i.e. new rules)? Or must it be forced from outside (new elected officials)? - Suggestion One: new schedule - Suggestion Two: time to deliberate - Suggestion Three: independent office to deal with outside influences An Institution Without a Spokesman - Congress: 535 individuals who represent districts, not institution - No reward for standing up for Congress - Members relish running against Congress - Fate of Congress: dependent on the work it produces, how said work is produced, how information about the work is portrayed? Fenno’s Paradox - Surveys show: we hate Congress - Despite that: 90+ percent of members get re-elected - Answer: members looking out for themselves - Why? They focus on building “Home Style” and “Hill Style” What is Home Style? - Term originated by Richard Fenno - Unique relationship Members build with constituents - All constituencies are different - Home Style is about actual interaction with constituents and groups - Home Style is about decisions of allocation (time, resources, residence) What to Convey When Home? - Qualification (I can handle this job) - Identification (I am one of you) - Empathy (I understand your problems) Explaining Washington When Home - Description (what’s happening) - Interpretation (why it’s happening) - Justification (why I’m doing what I’m doing) Setting Priorities In D.C. - Members have too much to do - Result: picking and choosing what gets on the schedule - Two Ways of Participating: Formal and Informal Formal and Informal Participation - Formal: actions like voting on bills, attending hearings, participating in debate - Informal: working behind the scenes (studying legislation, coalition building, negotiating, meeting with public and groups) Congressional Horse Racing - Showhorses versus Workhorses - Workhorses are the behind-the-scenes workers - Showhorses are the media seekers Many Issues or Few Issues? - Specialists versus Generalists - Specialists are focused - Generalist like to examine everything What Shapes Participation and Decision-Making? - Personal Interests - Constituency Interests - Presidential Interests - Party Interests - Group Interests Kingdon’s “Field of Forces” - Often times, interests push in similar direction - When they conflict, tough decisions must be made - Kingdon offers important questions that shape tough decisions - Q1: Is the bill controversial? - Q2: Is there conflict among cue givers (and what does that conflict look like)? - Q3:Are my goals related to this legislation?
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