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Chapter 7: Congress - AP US Government and Politics
Jason Apgaron 5 November 2012
Transcript of Chapter 7: Congress - AP US Government and Politics
The Constitution Chapter 7 The Congress Characteristics Elections Organization Powers Party Committees Work Interest Groups Problems and Reform Notable Legislation Contract with America Created a Bicameral Legislature House of Representatives based on population
Senate based on equal representation among the states Section I Article I All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. Congress can be viewed as the citizens' direct link to the branch of government that is responsible for forming public policy. It's functions include representing the interests of constituents, lawmaking through consensus building, oversight of other governmental agencies, policy clarification, and ratification of public policies. This presentation will guide you through all of the major components of our legislative branch's operation and structure, as well as address some commonly held criticisms and ideas for reform. 10 Defines the House of Representatives, known as the lower house of Congress.
It establishes a few minimum requirements, like a 25-year-old age limit, and establishes that the people themselves will elect the members for two years each.
The members of the House are divided among the states proportionally, or according to size, giving more populous states more representatives in the House.
The leader of the House is the Speaker of the House, chosen by the members. Section Section Section Section Section Section Section Section Section Defines the upper house of Congress, the Senate.
Again, it establishes some minimum requirements, such as a 30-year-old age limit.
Senators were originally appointed by the legislatures of the individual states, though this later changed.
They serve for six years each.
Each state has equal suffrage in the Senate, meaning that each state has the exact same number of Senators, two each, regardless of the population.
This Section introduces the Vice-President, who is the leader of the Senate (called the President of the Senate); the Vice-President does not vote unless there is a tie. Says that each state may establish its own methods for electing members of the Congress, and mandates, or requires, that Congress must meet at least once per year. Says that Congress must have a minimum number of members present in order to meet, and that it may set fines for members who do not show up.
It says that members may be expelled, that each house must keep a journal to record proceedings and votes, and that neither house can adjourn without the permission of the other. "QUORUM" Establishes that members of Congress will be paid, that they cannot be detained while traveling to and from Congress, that they cannot hold any other office in the government while in the Congress. Details how bills become law.
First, any bill for raising money (such as by taxes or fees) must start out in the House.
All bills must pass both houses of Congress in the exact same form.
Bills that pass both houses are sent to the President.
He can either sign the bill, in which case it becomes law, or he can veto it.
In the case of a veto, the bill is sent back to Congress, and if both houses pass it by a two-thirds majority, the bill becomes law over the President's veto.
This is known as overriding a veto. Lists specific powers of Congress, including the power to establish and maintain an army and navy, to establish post offices, to create courts, to regulate commerce between the states, to declare war, and to raise money. It also includes a clause known as the Elastic Clause which allows it to pass any law necessary for the carrying out of the previously listed powers. Places certain limits on Congress. Certain legal items, such as suspension of habeas corpus, bills of attainder, and ex post facto laws are prohibited. No law can give preference to one state over another; no money can be taken from the treasury except by duly passed law, and no title of nobility, such as Prince or Marquis, will ever be established by the government. Prohibits the states from several things.
They cannot make their own money, or declare war, or do most of the other things prohibited Congress in Section 9.
They cannot tax goods from other states, nor can they have navies. Demographics: As a group, Congress is better educated, more white, and more male than the rest of the population, although the House is a bit more diverse than the Senate. Ratio of men to women in the House is 6-1.
In the Senate, it's about 7-1. Links: http://www.usconstitution.net/constquick.html http://www.congress.org/congressorg/directory/demographics.tt?catid=all AGE GENDER MARITAL
STATUS PARTY ETHNICITY LEADERSHIP House Majority Leader - Eric Cantor (R-VA)
House Minority Leader - Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
President of the Senate - Joseph Biden (D-DE)
President pro tempore of the Senate -Dan Inouye (D-HI)
Senate Majority Leader - Harry Reid (D-NV)
Senate Minority Leader - Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Speaker of the House - John A. Boehner (R-OH) 5 DELEGATES Puerto Rico Philippines American Samoa Washington D.C. Virgin Islands/Guam A delegate to Congress is a non-voting member of the United States House of Representatives, who is elected from a U.S. territory or from Washington, D.C., to a two-year term.
While unable to vote in the full House, a non-voting delegate may vote in a House committee of which the delegate is a member. The House The Senate REELECTION Historical
Changes Senate was originally elected by state legislatures (corrected by 17th Amendment in 1913)
Originally, reelection rate was low.
In the first 10 years, one-third of the senators resigned before the end of their terms.
In the House, a large number served only one or two terms. What changed? Political parties developed
17th Amendment passed, changing the structure of Congress
Make-up and politics of congressional districts
Primary system for nominating candidates
Incumbent advantages REAPPORTIONMENT Once the total number of seats was established (435) in 1910, Congress found it difficult to adopt new representation procedures. The Reapportionment Act of 1929 is still the standing law on this issue. Provides for a permanent size of the House of Representatives.
Provides for the number of seats each state should have based on the census taken every 10 years. As of 2010, the average seat in the House represented about 715,000 people. It left it to the individual states to determine the makeup of each district by drawing the borders of the districts. What did this Act put in place? HOW DOES THE PROCESS WORK? This is known as reapportionment This is known as redistricting The abuses applied to redistricting have become known as "gerrymandering" A gerrymander may also be used for purposes that some perceive as positive, such as in US federal voting district boundaries that produce a majority of constituents representative of African-American or other racial minorities (these are thus called "majority-minority districts"). First printed in March 1812, this political cartoon was drawn in reaction to the state senate electoral districts drawn by the Massachusetts legislature to favor the Democratic-Republican Party candidates of Governor Elbridge Gerry over the Federalists. The caricature satirizes the bizarre shape of a district in Essex County, Massachusetts as a dragon-like "monster." Federalist newspapers editors and others at the time likened the district shape to a salamander, and the word gerrymander was a blend of that word and Governor Gerry's last name. Extreme examples: These are some of the most gerrymandered districts in the country FL-20 IL-4 FL-22 NC-12 PA-12 MY FAVORITE ILLINOIS 4TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT IL-4 has two gerrymandered halves held together by a thin strip of land at its western edge that is nothing more than the median strip along Interstate Highway 294.
The intention behind IL-4 was to create an ethnic enclave, in this case an Hispanic-majority district within an otherwise overwhelmingly non-Hispanic Chicago.
Problem is, Chicago has two completely distinct and geographically separate Hispanic neighborhoods — one Puerto Rican, the other Mexican — but neither is large enough to constitute a district majority on its own.
Solution? Lump all Hispanics together into a supposedly coherent cultural grouping, and then carefully draw a line surrounding every single Hispanic household in Chicago, linking the two distant neighborhoods by means of an uninhabited highway margin.
Voila! One Hispanic congressperson, by design. And as a side-effect, the most preposterous congressional district in the United States. Demographics 2 Court cases addressed this issue Wesberry v. Sanders Decided that population differences in Georgia were so unequal that they violated the Constitution. Baker v. Carr Established the "one person, one vote" doctrine.