AP Gov Unit 2 pt 1: The Legislative Branch

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bicameral congress
the national legislature is a...
British parliament had one, settle conflict between VA and NJ plans, each house checks the other
why do we have a bicameral congress?
2 years
congressional term
session of congress
period of time when congress assembles + conducts business
on the same date in every state
congressional elections are held...
current congress
hor: represent general populace senate: made of men elected by state legislatures (more educated house)
house of reps vs senate original design intentions
house: cup (hot, passionate) senate: saucer (cools cup) SENATE TEMPERS HOUSE
explain the cup + saucer model
knowt flashcard image
- initiate Revenue bills - Impeach officers - selects President (if no candidate wins)
powers of house
435 (based on population of each state)
number of hor members
- at least one hor rep - 2 senate reps
every state=
2 years
hor term length
Congress tells states their # of seats in hor - after each census
- 25 years old - citizen for 7+ years - inhabitant of rep state
formal requirements for hor members
- party ID - name familiarity - experience
informal requirements for hor members
drawing district boundaries to the advantage of the political party that controls the state’s legislature - ex: Shaw v. Reno
redistribution of seats in the HoR based on changes in population
drawing the new district boundary lines "Oh em goodness! You got ______ too?!"
governing sections of a state - not mentioned in constitution
election of 1800 (Jefferson v Burr)
1st and only time hor has had to select president because of tied electoral college "Can we get back to politics? Please? No."
- select VP (if no candidate wins) - Advice and Consent power - declare War - Tries Impeached officers - ratify international Treaties
powers of senate
100 members (2/state)
number of senate members
more enlightened + responsible (upper house)
Framers intended the Senate to be...
6 years
senate term length
1/3 of senate runs every 2 years
what does it mean to say the senate is a "continuous body?"
larger, more diverse than hor
nature of senate representation
senate members chosen by state legis-->direct election senators held to decisions of voting citizens vs state legis
17th Amendment changed...
30 yo citizen 9+ years inhabitant of rep state
formal qualifications for senators
party ID name familiarity experience
informal qualifications for senators
senate designed to have fewer restrictions because intended to be cautious and experienced
"The World's Greatest Deliberate Body" meaning
lengthy speech to delay action on bill
Rule 22 (cloture rule)
1917: required a 2/3 supermajority to stop debate and call for a vote 1975: the Senate lowered the standard to 3/5 majority (60/100)
1) Representatives of their constituents 2) Legislators 3) Committee members 4) Servants of their constituents 5) Politicians
5 roles of members of congress
strong speakers-->weak speakers (members rule) pendulum
phases in house development
WWI + WWII + Great Depression=
Jeanette Rankin
1916: first female to house before even given right to vote
Nancy Pelosi
2007: first female speaker of the house
appointments to late husband's seats
some female senators begin congressional service through...
power of the purse
Congress appropriates, or allots, public money to be spent - budgeting committees
27th Amendment
Members of Congress set their own salaries 1992: adopted to prevent any pay raises from taking effect until the following Congress
hold town hall meetings, examine public opinion polls, hold focus groups, and read stacks of mail and emails
ways for legislators to get ideas of constituents' desires
trustee model
members follow their conscience or ideology - attitudinal vote
delegated model
members try to vote the will of their constituency - representative vote
partisan model
members follow the general beliefs of their political party - organizational vote - Party leaders encourage members to follow the party-line vote, especially if political favors are expected
those who effectively balance their trustee, delegate, and partisan roles to fit the occasion
trading votes to gain support for a bill
raise armies and navies, mandate draft, determine money spent on bases, salary schedule, etc
in regards to foreign affairs and military, congress can...
senate foreign relations duties ____ house foreign relations duties
Speaker of the House President of the Senate President Pro Tempore of the Senate
leadership positions in the Constitution
Majority and minority floor leaders Majority and minority whips
leadership positions created by Congress
speaker of the house
both the elected presiding officer of the House and the leader of the majority party - follow the VP in line of presidential succession
President of the Senate
Senate’s presiding officer - Vice President (not a member like the House Speaker) - Usually only shows up to break a tie
President Pro Tempore
Elected by the Senate itself - always a leading member of the majority party (usually the longest serving)
Congress opens
January 3rd, odd-numbers years
party caucus
the entire party gathers privately weeks before and determines their choices for leadership positions
The formal, nongovernmental groups of like-minded people organized in Congress - ex: agriculture, business, women's issues
- Equal Protection Clause violated - federal courts allowed to intervene if civil rights questions
Baker v Carr
- unusually drawn districts supported equal black representation in voting - racial gerrymandering + violated EPC
Shaw v Reno
Smaller groups can tackle issues and draft more precise laws than the entire House and Senate - where the real work of Congress takes place - allow for expertise and make moving legislation manageable
standing committees
permanent cover particular subject first stage of bill approval senate-hold confirmation meetings for presidential appointments
joint committees
permanent 2 committees between House and Senate for same purpose ex: Library of Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation
select committee
assembled periodically for a particular, short-lived reason - scandals (ex: scandals) - investigate issues that may need congressional action (ex: Jan 6th) - 1 or both houses
conference committees
temporary iron out differences on bills that passed each house but in different forms similar bills passed-->compromise-->members of both house meet for mark up session how bill is amended to become law: pass house + prez
committee assignment
- reps + senators seek this - parties nominate this (Policy and Steering Committee, Committee on Committees) - full house votes on this
executive branch agencies (FBI, IRS, etc) - corruption: call directors to testify - fact finder exchanges
congressional oversight over...
1) senate/house member introduces bill 2) bill numbered 3) assigned to committees (can be addressed by multiple simultaneously) 4) pass both house-->law
legislative process
amendment in house
approved by committee overseeing bill
amendment in senate
individual senator introduces it
additional points that ride onto an often-unrelated law - benefit congressmen's own agendas or programs or enhance the political chances of the bill - "Christmas tree bills": items from congress member's wish lists
pork bill spending
riders on bills lead to...
pork bill spending
congress members try to send federal dollars (aka pork) back to their district
Funds directed for a specific purpose - raised national debate
1) 60s and 70s scandals 2) media only covers controversial battles 3) lawmaking process is longer than expected
3 factors that contributed to unpopular congress:
party polarization
the legislature has become a partisan and uncivil institution - split on either extreme; few neutral/in the middle