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The US Congress

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Michael Brodie

on 3 January 2016

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Transcript of The US Congress

The US Congress
What does the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act reveal about Congress?
What does the immigration debate reveal about Congress?
Congress Key Words
Key Question 1: How does Congress work?
Congress, lapdog or watchdog?
What is the structure and make-up of Congress?
Key Question 3: How has the role of Congress evolved over time?
bicameral
Senate
House of Representatives
gridlock
bill
Learning Objectives
Know - The structure of Congress.

Understand - How representative Congress is.

Skills - Comprehension, Evaluation
Success Criteria
Describes the structure of Congress.
Explains the differences in the membership of Congress.
Critically evaluates how representative Congress is.
Congress should endeavour to make the background of members more representative of the general population.
No
Yes
Congress Homework and Exam Questions
Congress and the Constitution
Watch the video and make notes.

Key areas:
Powers

Context: Constitutional Convention 1787 - The States Debate
Large states and small states debated the make up of Congress.

The argument focused on whether to have equal representation across states or representation by population.
Solution: The Great (Connecticut) Compromise
TASK: Congressional Make-up
1) How has the level of House representatives changed? Why might this have happened?

2) Why are women underrepresented in Congress? Explain your answer.

3) Which is more representative, the Senate or the House of Representatives? Explain your answer.

4) How representative is Congress overall? Use evidence to explain your answer.

Use the sheet and pp. 182-187.
Thought for the day
"that remarkable body, the most remarkable of all the inventions of modern politics."

British Prime Minister William Gladstone on the US Congress
What powers does Congress hold?
Learning Objectives
Know - The powers of Congress.

Understand - The differences between the House and the Senate.

Skills - Knowledge and understanding,
Success Criteria
Cross-Reference:
How is the power of Congress kept in check?

Why is the power of Congress kept in check?
Learning Objectives
Know - The stages of the passage of a bill through Congress.

Understand - How the various stages interact with each other.

Skills - Creative presentation, summary and evaluation.
Success Criteria
Is the real work of Congress undertaken in the Committees?
Learning Objectives
Know - The different types of committee and their role and powers.

Understand - The extent of the influence the committee stage has on the passage of legislation.

Skills - Comparison, evaluation, extended writing, peer assessment.
Learning Outcomes
Explains the powers of Congress and the different Houses.
Judges the most significant power of Congress.
Evaluates the extent to which the Senate is the most prestigious chamber.
HOT Question
Why is the Senate often considered more prestigious than the House of Representatives?
Powers of the Senate and House of Representatives Compared Use pp. 188-189 (Make sure each is explained underneath)
Concurrent
House of
Representatives
Senate
Explain the key factors that affect the relationship between the Senate and the House of Representatives
(15 Marks)
Exam Practice - Past Question (June 2014).
Study the graphic. What effects might this make-up/ structure have on the relationship between House and Senate?
TASK: Congress and the Constitution
Make a bullet pointed list of the delegated (explicit powers) the US Constitution bestows on Congress.

What is an implied power?

Make a list of limits on the power of Congress.


Key Questions:
Which is the most significant power?
How powerful is Congress?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=FhVeIOy99f4#t=855
What leadership is there in Congress?
Learning Objectives
Know - The different leadership roles within Congress.

Understand - The most powerful position within Congress.

Skills - Independent Research,
Success Criteria
TASK: Reverse Teaching Congressional Leadership
House Majority Leader
House Speaker
President Pro Tempore of the Senate
Senate Majority Leader
Senate Minority Leader
Leadership in Congress
House Minority Leader
Find out the following and come back ready to teach me (and each other) about it.

1. Background - Who they are, where they represent, what party they are from, how long they have held the position etc.

2. What powers the position holds.

3. How much influence they have within their respective parties.
Judges the most important leadership role in Congress by comparing the various roles.
Identifies the different leadership roles in Congress and provides information about the incumbents.
Explains the different powers of the various leadership roles in Congress.
RECAP: Name the powers of Congress (including House and Senate).
TASK: Which is the most important leadership role in Congress?
Steps to success
1. Compare different roles and their powers.
2. Use contemporary examples.
3. Include a conclusion.
Success Criteria
Judges the most important leadership role in Congress by comparing the various roles.
Identifies the different leadership roles in Congress and provides information about the incumbents.
Explains the different powers of the various leadership roles in Congress.
TASK: The legislative Path
How does the legislative process work?
Using pp.200-208 create the journey of a bill.
Incorporate:
The different stages
Information on these different stages.
Places where a bill might stall/fail.
Use key terminology and examples.
Make it colourful and creative.
Identifies the different stages of the legislative process.
Explains in detail the different stages of the legislative process.
Evaluates each stage by explaining the problems associated with them.
TASK: Congress Questions
Which is the most important stage in the passage of legislation and why?

Explain what a filibuster is (using examples) and how it can be dealt with.

"The legislative process in Congress is not fit for purpose." Discuss.
Homework
Due: Tuesday 4 November 2014
Choose 2 committees (1 House and 1 Senate) and create a powerpoint/prezi presentation:

1. Type of committee and what this means to its functions.
2. Details of membership and leadership (subject to change).
3. Recent examples of debate on legislation (at least two key bills - one must be recent).
4. Power and Prestige.
5. Evaluation/Judgment on its work.
"The House sits, not for serious discussion, but to sanction the conclusions of its committees as rapidly as possible. It legislates in its committee rooms; not by determination of majorities, but by the specially-commissioned minorities [the committees]; so that it is not far from the truth to say that Congress in session is Congress on public exhibition, while Congress in its committee rooms is Congress at work."

Woodrow Wilson, 1885,

Agree or Disagree?
TASK: Does the real power and work of Congress lie in its committees?
Defines congressional committees and explains their role in the legislative process.
Explains why Congressional Committees are seen as powerful.
Assesses the extent to which the work and power of Congress is concentrated within Congressional Committees.
TASK: Congressional Committees Roles and Powers
Using pp. 193-199 complete the following:
Make a table outlining the :
Role
Powers
Limits on Power (if applicable).
a) Standing committees
b) House Rules Committee
c) Conference Committee
d) Select Committees
e) Committee chairs
Steps to success:
1. Discuss the powers and role of Congress (use previous notes)
2. Compare these with the power and role of its committees (be specific).
3. Ensure your discussion includes both sides of the argument.
4. Conclusion which includes Judgment and discussion of their overall importance.
Success Criteria
A*
A
B
C
Explains the role of Congressional committees.
Explains why Congressional committees may be regarded as powerful, using evidence.
Interrogates the question by critically evaluating different committees and their overall influence.
Evaluates the extent to which the power and work of Congress is concentrated within its committees.
Review Bubble
1. Which form of committee is most powerful?

2. Overall, how powerful are the committees of Congress?
Key Question 2: How effective is Congress?
Learning Objectives
Know - Key influences on the voting intentions of members of Congress.

Understand - The extent to which partisanship has increased in Congress.

Skills - Note-taking, independent research, extended writing.
Success Criteria
What factors influence the way members of Congress vote?
TASK: Voting Quandaries
Members of Congress are at the mercy of big business.
YES
No
1) To what extent do members of Congress have to listen to their constituents?

1) What effect havethe technological changes of of the 1990s had on the manner of in which Congressmen are lobbied?


2) What is the problem that faces Congressmen when listening to constituents? Which group of people are most likely to lobby?

3) What is a Senate 'odd couple'?


TASK: How has the degree of partisanship in Congress changed over time?
Success Criteria
A*
A
B
C
Explains partisanship and its role in Congress.
Explains how partisanship has changed over time using examples.
Critiques partisanship in Congress.
Evaluates the extent to which partisanship in Congress has changed over time using examples.
Research Phase
Step 1:
Find out the current most and least partisan Senate/House members.

Step 2:
Find out the extent of change over different Congresses.

Step 3:
Research reasons for any change.
Writing Phase
Explains the influences on Congressional voting.
Independently researches partisanship in Congress.
Evaluates the extent of partisanship in Congress.
Success Criteria:

1. Type of committee and what this means to its functions.
2. Details of membership and leadership (subject to change).
3. Recent examples of debate on legislation (at least two key bills - one must be recent).
4. Power and Prestige.
5. Evaluation/Judgment on its work.
TASK: Committee Presentations
To what extent does Partisan Gerrymandering affect the legislative role of Congress?
Learning Objectives
Know - What partisan gerrymandering is.

Understand - How partisan gerrymandering affects the legislative process.

Skills - Presentation, knowledge and understanding.
Success Criteria
Describes what partisan gerrymandering is.
Explains consequences of partisan gerrymandering.
Evaluates the extent of the problem of partisan gerrymandering.
TASK: Partisan Gerrymandering
1. What is partisan gerrymandering?

2 Explain the outcome of the Davis v Bandemmer case.

3. What potential impacts could partisan gerrymandering have on the legislature?

4. How might partisan gerrymandering become racial gerrymandering?

5. Explain the case: Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission

How effective is Congress?
Learning Objectives
Know - Factors influencing the effectiveness of Congress.

Understand - The arguments for and against Congress being effective.

Skills - Gathering evidence, evaluating arguments, exam skills.
Success Criteria
Give as many reasons as possible why these cartoons reflect a popular belief in America about Congress.
TASK: Ineffective Congress?
Using the articles complete the following:

1. Evidence for effectiveness Evidence against effectiveness
2. Which are the strongest arguments in favour of Congress' effectiveness and ineffectiveness? Explain your answer.

TASK: Planning a 45 Mark Question
Next lesson:

‘The broken branch’ To what extent is this a fair assessment of Congress? 45 Mark (June 2012)

You have the rest of the lesson to plan.

Remember 3 arguments for and against.

Micro and macro analysis.

Tips from the exam board:
Introduction – explaining why there is a debate around this issue - and conclusion – summarising the key arguments
Clear structure - two halves, discussing first one side and then the second side of the debate, is the simplest structure and works well
First sentences of paragraphs which link to the title and the preceding paragraph, and which summarise the contents of the paragraph
Detailed up to date knowledge

Common problems:
Lack of relevant knowledge.
Uncertain focus on the question.
Imprecise and/or inaccurate expression.
Explains arguments for and against Congress' effectiveness.
Identifies the strongest arguments for explaining whether Congress is effective or ineffective.
Evaluates the extent to which Congress is effective or not.
Learning Objectives
Know - The features of Congressional oversight.

Understand - The extent that Congress is a lapdog.

Skills - Knowledge and understanding.
Success Criteria
TASK: Congressional Oversight
Read pp.219-222 and the article and answer the questions on the article.
TASK: Congress: lapdog or watchdog? (45 Marks) Discuss
1. Discuss key features of Congressional oversight.

2. Examples of where/when it is lacking.

3. Examples of where/when it works effectively.

4. Assert an overall judgement.
Learning Objectives
Know - How Congress interacts with the President.

Understand - The extent to which Congress' power has been challenged by that of the presidency.

Skills - Exam practice, peer assessment, knowledge and understanding.
Success Criteria
How far has the power of Congress been eroded by the Presidency?
What were the intentions of the Founding Fathers when they created Congress?
Identifies features of Congressional interaction with the presidency.
Evaluates the extent to which the Office of the President has eroded Congressional power.
TASK: Congress vs the President
TASK: Promoting Progress
Purple pens of progress
Point
Evidence
Explanation
Evaluation
1.) Read your own essay, my comments on it, and use the mark scheme to give it a grade.

Complete your Review Sheet at the front of your book.

With a purple pen:

Choose one paragraph to rewrite or complete with a conclusion etc in order to act upon targets I have given you.
Using the article ('The President as Commander in Chief') answer the following:

1.What does the US Constitution say about foreign policy? What are the presidents powers and constitutional checks?
2. Outline events which led to the growth of presidential power.
3. Outline key moments in the expansion of the president's war powers.
4. Explain the term 'imperial presidency.'
5. Explain what an executive arrangement is.
6. How successful have Congressional attempts been to control the president's foreign policy power.
TASK: Explain factors which affect the relationship between Congress and the president. (15 Marks)
Co-plan a response to the question.
Think about:
Powers - traditional and development.
Partisanship.
Super majority.
Foreign vs. domestic policy.
Explains key factors influencing the relationship between Congress and the presidency.
Presidential success in Congress
Learning Objectives
Know - Key features of Obama Care.

Understand - The debate on the Act and what it reveals about the legislative process.

Skills - Note-taking, reading, knowledge and understanding, evaluation.
Success Criteria
Next week - Unseen 15 Mark Question on Congress - Monday 24 November
Describes key features of the Affordable Care Act.
Explains the legislative passage of Affordable Care Act.
Evaluates the extent to which the Affordable Care Act is represents a paragon of the legislative process.
How can we explain these figures?
TASK: Obamacare Observations
Read the article and answer the questions.
TASK: Independent Research
Research the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013

Find out:
Background (Why was it introduced?)
What is it?
What does it include?
Who are the Gang of 8?
What happened in the Senate?
What happened in the House?
What does this reveal about the legislative process? (Requires your own judgement.)
What happened in Nov 2014 and what has been the response?
http://edition.cnn.com/2014/11/14/politics/obama-immigration/
Learning Objectives
Know - The content of the immigration debate.

Understand - What the immigration debate can reveal about the workings of Congress and the potential future for immigration reform.

Skills - Knowledge and understanding, independent research and presentation.
Success Criteria
HOT Question
What similarities and differences do the healthcare and immigration debates reveal about Congress?
TASK: History of Debate
Research the following:
1. Outline Obama's agenda on immigration.
2. What are Trump, Cruz and Clinton's agenda?
2. What is the DREAM Act?
3. What happened to the DREAM Act in the Senate?
4. Why has immigration reform been neglected?
Explains the recent history of the immigration debate.
Researches and explains key issues in recent developments in the immigration debate.
Compares and contrasts the immigration and healthcare debates in order to evaluate the legislative process.
partisanship
gerrymandering
filibuster
select committee
standing committee
representation
War Powers Act
elastic clause
pre-eminance
Speaker
Majority Leader
Minority Leader
Learning Objectives
Know

Understand

Skills
Success Criteria
Has Congress moved beyond the original intentions of the Founding Fathers?
Evidence For
Evidence Against
Enumerated Powers - think interstate commerce, treaties, war etc.
Implied powers

Why do only a small percentage of bills introduced into Congress become laws?
(15 marks)
Third in line to the Presidency.
Most senior Senator of the majority whip usually holds the position (tradition began in 1949).
Declarations that the president is unable to perform the duties of the office must be transmitted to them.
Can make minor appointments to advisory boards and other Congressional commissions.
Orrin Hatch
Describes where Congressional Oversight takes place.
Explains examples of Congressional oversight.
Evaluates how effective the power of Congressional oversight is.
Full transcript