Flashcards in 17.2d Legislative: Lower Houses of Government Deck (8)
Strengths of the House of Representatives 1
The House of Representatives initiates all money bills.
Elections every two years to the House means that members are likely to represent their constituents well.
Strengths of the House of Representatives 2
Standing committees in the House of Representatives have significant power.
Committees can decide which bills they will hear and can add amendments to bills.
Committees have the voting power to stop a bill passing through the legislative process by voting against it.
Bills can die at the committee stage if they don’t get reported out of committee.
Strengths of the House of Commons 1
House of Commons backbenchers can remove the government through a vote of no confidence.
The House of Commons has a large role in lawmaking.
The Commons has final approval over amendments to bills and can reject legislation by voting against it.
The Commons can reject or amend the government’s budget.
Strengths of the House of Commons 2
Select committees have the power to call any government member to answer questions about the government’s work.
The House of Commons can scrutinise the prime minister weekly and hold them to account at Prime Minister’s Question Time.
Weaknesses of the House of Representatives 1
Direct scrutiny of the executive can only take place through standing committees.
The president rarely sits before a committee to give evidence.
Weaknesses of the House of Representatives 2
The legislative power of the House is limited because it has equal law-making powers to the Senate.
Legislation often fails to pass into law because the House and Senate must both agree to, and vote on, final legislation.
Increased partisanship has led to Gridlock, where legislation fails to pass because the Senate, House and presidency are controlled by different parties.
Few bills were passed into law under President Obama where there was a divided government for six of his eight years as president.
Weaknesses of the House of Commons 1
The government has too much control over the legislative process.
The government uses party whips to make sure MPs follow the party line when voting on bills.
Whips are also present in Congress.
Private members’ bills, which are introduced by backbenchers, often fail to become law.