Nancy Pelosi is the first woman to hold the position of Speaker of the House.
Pelosi stated that anyone who's ever dealt with her knows not to mess with her.
Pelosi's role in passing Obama's health care reform bill was crucial, and she was effective at maintaining the support and discipline of her Democratic majority in the House, holding on to her leadership position in the party even after the early assessment by a congressional watcher is that she was.
Although Republicans tried to make her an issue in the election, few of the red-state Democrats who repudiated her won.
Although she has acknowledged the need for younger leadership, there is little doubt she will lead the Democrats for another term in office.
As Senate majority leader, Lyndon Johnson was known for his ability to convince others to see things his way.
The six foot, four inch tall Johnson makes a pointor two, towering over colleagues while invading their personalspace.
John Boehner's lot as Speaker was more difficult in many ways.
His leadership skills were challenged by the effort of holding together a diverse caucus, divided between traditional Republicans and the newly elected Tea Partiers who came to Congress determined not to compromise in achieving their ambitious agenda.
Paul Ryan replaced him reluctantly, knowing that the caucus would be hard to lead, and he resigned in 2015.
If the Democrats had won the majority, Ryan would have retired at the end of the year.
The Senate has never had as much formal authority as the House has.
The traditions of the Senate allow each senator to speak when he or she wants.
The Senate wouldn't accept the kind of control that some Speakers have in the House.
The scheduling of legislation is a factor that can be crucial to a bill's success, even though the Senate majority leader cannot control senators.
A bill may be pulled from consideration by the majority leader when defeat would make them look bad.
The biggest legislative victories of Obama's first year as president were shepherded by Harry Reid, who was replaced by the current majority leader,Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
His determination to block as many of Obama's policies as possible, his prevention of the hearings on Merrick Garland, his refusal to get behind a bipartisan warning that our electoral system was under attack by Russia, and his breaking of norm on procedure were accomplished with very little dissention from his party McConnell has kept an eye on the prize of holding power despite the unruliness of the party.
Meeting as full bodies, it would be impossible for the House and the Senate to consider and deliberate on all of the 10,000 bills and 100,000 nominations they receive every two years.
The Constitution doesn't say anything about congressional committees.
The committee system has been developed to meet the needs of a growing nation as well as the evolving goals of members of Congress.
After they made their recommendations to the full body, congressional committees dispersed.
Congress formed a system of more permanent committees as the ad hoc system became unwieldy as the nation grew.
Longer service on a committee allowed members to develop expertise in a particular policy area and thus bills could be considered more efficiently.
The primary position from which they can influence national policy is provided by committees.
The subcommittee stages the work of the legislation at the committee.
Committees and subcommittees work hard to draft legislation.
The primary information gatherers for Congress are committees.
Through hearings, staff reports, and investigations, members discover who will support different policy options.
In considering, drafting, and redrafting proposed legislation, committees act as the eyes, ears, and workhorses of Congress.
Committees do more than write laws.
The congressional oversight was discussed in the chapter.
They check to see that the executive and its agencies are following the law.
The discussion of the Government Accountability Office, later in this chapter, shows how committee members gather information about agencies.
Changes to the laws that give agencies their power and operating funds reflect what is learned in oversight.
Congress mandated for itself in the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 and the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 to have constant congressional oversight.
In the congressional process, oversight tends to be slight.
The reasons are easy to find.
Oversight takes a lot of time, and the rewards to individual members are less certain than from other activities.
The form of oversight most often takes the form of "fire-alarm" oversight, in which some scandal or upsurge in public interest directs congressional attention to a problem in the bureaucracy, rather than careful and systematic reviews of agencies' implementation of congressional policies.
Standing, select, joint, and conference are the types of committees that Congress has.
The standing committees do most of the work.
The permanent committees are created by statute and carry over from one session to the next.
Most of the legislation that is introduced to Congress is reviewed by them.
They scrutinize, hold hearings on, amend, and kill legislation before the full Congress gets a chance to discuss it.
Sometimes committee hearings are major news.
The Senate Intelligence Committee held a hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The standing committees of the 115th Congress deal with issues in specific policy areas, such as agriculture, foreign relations, or justice, and they vary dramatically in size.
Each committee has several subcommittees that focus on specific areas of policy.
The House has over 100 subcommittees and twenty standing committees.