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Congressional Membership

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Mary S

on 5 December 2012

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Transcript of Congressional Membership

Privileges of Members:
- Censure is a vote of formal disapproval of a member’s actions.
-Members of Congress have certain protections during their legislative duties.
They are free from arrest “in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of peace.”
Members of Congress cannot be sued for anything they say on the House or Senate floor. Membership of Senate Salary and Benefits:
Twenty-seventh amendment – prohibited sitting Congress members from giving themselves pay raises. Terms of Office:
Elections are the same as they are for the House, they are held in November of even numbered years.
Each senator is serving a 6 year term, and ever two years only 1/3rd of them run for reelection.
If a senator dies or designs before the end of the term, the state legislature must authorize the governor to appoint someone to fill the vacancy. Qualifications:
Must be 30 years old.
Citizens of the United States for 9 years before election
Must be legal residents of the state they represents Senate includes 100 members – 2 from each state. Membership of Senate Representation:
Every 10 years the Census Bureau holds a census or population count.
The population of each state determines the new number of representative each state receives, which is a process called reapportionment. Term of Office:
Members of the House are elected for two-year terms.
Elections are held every November of even-numbered years; ex. 2000, 2004,2006
If a representative dies or resigns in the first session, they must hold a special election to fill the vacancy. Qualifications:
Representatives must be at least 25 years old.
Be a citizen of the U.S for at least 7 years
Legal residents of the state that elects them.
They traditionally live in the district they represent. House of Representatives = 435 members.
The number of house seats must be divided among the states based on population. Each state is given at least one seat, no matter the population size. Membership of the House Each term of Congress starts on January 3rd of odd years; ex. 2003, 2005, 2007

Each term of Congress is divided into two sessions. These sessions last for one year at time, and include time for holidays and vacations.

Until the 20th Amendment, sessions didn’t formally end till March, leaving a four month period between the election and the formal start of the new members. Congressional Membership Gerrymandering:
Gerrymandering means that the political party controlling the state government draws districts boundaries to gain an advantage in elections.
Packing a district means drawing the lines so they include as many of the opposing party’s voters as possible.
Cracking means dividing an opponent’s voters into other districts, to weaken the opponents voter base.
Elbridge Gerry, a governor of Massachusetts, signed a redistricting plan that gave his party a big political advantage against the federalists. Congressional Redistricting:
Redistricting is the process of setting up new district lines after apportionment has been completed.
There are two ways that legislatures abuse the redistricting power..
- Creating congressional districts of very unequal populations
- Gerrymandering Membership of the House Reelection to Congress:
Incumbents – members already in office.
Usually no incumbent loses a reelection into the Congress. Characteristics:
Nearly half of the members of Congress are lawyers.
Senators and Representatives have typically been white, middle-aged males, with the average age of 50. In addition to the members above there are also delegates from the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands –and one resident of Puerto Rico.
These people may not vote, but they attend all session, introduce bills, speak in debates, and vote in committees. Congress includes 535 voting members -- 100 Senators, and 435 representatives The Members of Congress Chapter 5: Section 1
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