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Flashcards in Congress Deck (39)
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1

Membership of the House of Representatives

Two-year terms

Must be at least 25 years old

Must be a US citizen for at least seven years

Must be a resident of state they represent

2

Membership of the Senate

Six-year terms

Must be at least 30 years old

Must be a US citizen for at east nine years

Must be a resident of state they represent

3

Joint powers of both houses

Legislation

Oversight

Initiating constitutional amendments

Impeachment

Declaring war

4

Sole power of the House

Initiating money bills

5

Sole powers of the Senate

Confirming appointments

Ratifying treaties

6

Senate > House

Represent the entire state, not just a congressional district

Longer term length

More esteemed as less Senators than members of the House

More likely to gain a leadership position more quickly

Launching pad for a Presidential campaign

Significant exclusive powers

VS

Closer bond with constituents

More direct impact

7

Types of congressional committees

Standing committees

House Rules committee

Conference committees

Select committees

8

Standing committee features

Permanent

Policy specialist

Exist separately in both houses of Congress

Most are divided into sub-committees

Comprised of around 18 members in the Senate, 30-40 in the House

Party balance proportional to that which exists within the chamber as a whole

Members seek assignments on committees that are closest to the interests of their district or state

9

Which standing committee are both of North Dakota's senators members of?

The Senate Agriculture Committee

10

Standing committee functions

Conducting the committee stage of bills

Conducting investigations within the committee's policy area

Confirming presidential appointments

11

House Rules Committee

A standing committee of the House responsible for prioritising bills coming from the committee stage on to the House floor for their debate and votes

Gives a 'rule' to a bill, setting out the rules of debate

Membership is smaller and more skewed towards the majority party than other standing committees

12

Types of rule that can be given to a bill by the House Rules Committee

Open - permit unlimited amendments

Modified - limit the total number of amendments

Closed - forbid any amendments

13

Conference committees

Ad hoc

Set up to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the same bill

The reconciled version of the bill must be agreed by a vote on the floor of each house

Likely to draw up what will become the final version of the bil

Power is checked by the ability of the House and Senate to refuse to sign up to their compromises version.

14

Select committees with an example

Ad hoc

Set up to investigate a particular issue which does not fall within the policy area of a standing committee, or is so time consuming that a standing committee would become tied up with it, preventing the standing committee from fulfilling its other functions

eg. Benghazi select committee set up in 2014 by John Boehner

15

Legislative process

Introduction

Committee stage

Timetabling

Floor debate and vote on passage

Conference committee (optional)

Presidential action

16

Introduction

Formality - no debate nor vote

Between 10,000 and 14,000 bills introduced each Congress - only 2-4% make it into law

17

Committee stage

Only bills with a good deal of support are given hearings

Standing committees given full power of amendment to alter the bill

18

Vile on standing committees

'They are the sieve through which all legislation is poured'

19

Timetabling

Senate- unanimous consent agreement

House - House Rules Committee

20

Floor debate and vote on passage

Filibuster

21

Cloture petition

Requires 16 senators to sign petition, then 3/5 of the entire Senate to vote for it

22

Options for presidential action

Singing the bill into law

Leaving the bill on his desk

Regular veto

Pocket veto

23

Reasons for difficulty in passing bills successfully through Congress

Volume of bills introduced

Complicated process

Requirement for super-majority votes

Both chambers possess equal power

Chambers can be controlled by different parties

Congress may be controlled by a different party to the executive

24

Denenberg on complicated legislative process

'bastion of negation'

'legislative labyrinth'

'a built-in negative bias'

25

Senator Jim DeMint on congressional oversight

'political posturing and demagouging'

26

Models of representation

Delegate model

Trustee model

27

Methods of representation

Engagement with constituents (constituency)

Fulfilling the representative function (DC)

Pork barrel politics

E-democracy

28

Factors affecting voting in Congress

Political party

The administration

Pressure groups

Colleagues and staff

Personal beliefs

Constituents

29

Functions of congressional caucuses

Educational

Agenda-setting

Encouraging support for their proposals in votes on the floor of each chamber

30

Examples of congressional caucuses

Blue Dog Coalition

The Tea Party