Flashcards in US Congress Deck (35)
What's the term length for a Senator? A representative?
How many reps are there? Senators?
Senator = 6 years; Rep = 2 years/
100 Senators, 435 Reps.
Who is the current speaker of the House? president of the Senate? Senate majority leader? Minority?
Who currently has the majority in the Senate? The House?
Nancy Pelosi; Mike Pence; Mitch McConnell; Chuck Schumer.
What is House represented proportionally to? The Senate?
How many women in the HOR 2017-18?
2017-18 = 83.
How many African Americans are in the Senate currently (116th)? Muslims?
What does 'Pork Barrel Politics' mean?
Usually refers to spending that is intended to benefit constituents of a politician in return for their political support, e.g. in votes.
How many times did the House vote in 2007? By contrast, the Senate (and when)?
Over 1,100 times; Senate in 2016 only voted 163 times. The Republican majority sat on their hands as Obama's second term wound its way through its lame duck period.
What are 2 ways in which Congressmen can engage with their constituents?
By making trips back home to visit constituents, e.g. Dan Newhouse represents a district nearly 3k miles away.
Conduct surgeries (appointments) with constituents.
What has enabled Congressmen to further connect with their constituents?
'E-democracy', e.g. staying in touch through online methods.
How can Trump be checked differently from the PM in light of the midterms?
What happens during the first reading? How many bills were introduced in 2015-16? Yet, how many were enacted?
Trump faces an opposition majority in the legislature (House), whilst the PM doesn't.
No debate + no vote; over 12k; 2.7%.
During what stage do most bills fail? Which committees consider these bills? What did a Professor say about them?
What happens during the 2nd and 3rd readings?
The committee stage; standing committees; those in the committees have power of amendment, so Professor Vile said how a bill turns out is "largely in their hands".
Further amendments can be made.
What could happen in the Senate after the committee stage?
What can be done to stop this?
Filibustering - delaying a bill by debating it at length, e.g. in 2013 Ted Cruz delayed the 'Affordable Care Act' for 21 hours.
Filibusters can be stopped through closure petitions, which must be signed by 16 senators and voted for by 3/5s of the Senate.
What 2 things happen to a bill after debate on the floor?
What is the party balance of each standing committee? Name a military standing committee and one of its sub-committees.
House + Senate vote; Presidential action.
Reflects the proportions of the chambers;
Standing committee on the Armed Services - 1 sub-committee includes 'Air and Land Forces'. The Senate equivalent has similar areas of expertise.
What situation does the term 'government shutdown' describe?
Why do gov shutdowns not happen in the UK?
One the executive branch must enter into when Congress creates a 'funding gap' by choosing not to, or failing to pass legislation funding government agencies.
There's fusion between the exec and the legislative.
In what month did the 2018 shutdown occur? Why did it happen?
January; Republicans and Democrats in the Senatr couldn't agree on the spending bill. Democrats complained that there were no provisions to protect 'Dreamers' (those protected by DACA - the program that gives temporary protection to undocumented migrants who came to the US when they were children.
How many National Park Services shut down as a result of the Jan 2018 shutdown? How was the shutdown resolved?
Over 400, including the Statue of Liberty.
Democrats in the Senate voted to re-open the government after they got a commitment from Republicans to have a vote on immigration legislation.
Where does the power of oversight come from?
An implied power of Congress, e.g. can come from the elastic clause - Congress needs to know what's going on to make + amend laws.
What are 2 examples of treaties that the Senate has ratified/not as part of their oversight?
In 2010, the START treaty was ratified. In 1982, the 'Law of the Sea' Treaty was never ratified, with opponents citing concerns about it restricting the navy.
What's an example of investigation by the Senate as part of their oversight? What committees were included?
What's a third oversight Congress has of the President specifically?
In 2017, there was an ongoing investigation into whether the Russians interfered in the 2016 election. Standing committees = House oversight committee + Senate Judiciary Committee; Select Committees = House and Senate intelligence committees.
How are Congressional committees seen in comparison to Parliamentary ones?
UK select committees are seen as having a lack of funding; meanwhile, standing committees are regarded for their expertise. Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has had 36 years of experience.
What's an example of a lack of control by Congress of the President? (hint = 90s)
What was different about Trump and the 115th Congress?
In 1993+1994, Congress was controlled by the Democrats. When Republicans took over the House in 1995, they impeached Bill Clinton in 1998 and trialled him in 1999.
Though Trump had a majority in both houses, still had a shutdown.
What's an argument that gridlock IS an inevitable consequences of the US government?
What's another, more basic argument?
April 2017 - Democrats filibustered Neil Gorsuch's nomination on the SC...first time in history. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell invoked the 'nuclear option', requiring merely a simple majority vote to approve Gorsuch.
What's are 2 arguments that gridlock IS NOT an inevitable consequence of US government? (hint = legislation).
Congress still passed landmark legislation - the 'Emergency Economic Stabilisation Act' in response to the 2008 financial crash, with authorised a $700 billion relief programme.
The Supreme Court can promote change - the 'Respect for Marriage Act' (2011) got nowhere, but in 'Obergfell v Hodges' (2015), the S.C. declared SS marriage constitutional under the 14th amendment.
What's evidence of the Senate being more important than the House? Vice-versa?
50 House members in 2017 were elected to the Senate, but no ex-Senators in the HOR.
The House can initiate impeachment proceedings, unlike the Senate.
What are the features of a standing committee?
Apart from the Armed Services committee, what other standing committee is there? What law did they approve of?
A permanent, policy specialist committee that plays crucial roles in investigation and legislation.
Veterans' Affairs committee. Approved of a bill to re designate certain clinics of the Dept of VA based in Montana (2017).
What's a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Standing Committee?
What 3 main things do standing committees focus on?
The Strategic Forces subcommittee.
Conducting the committee stages of bills, holding hearings and voting on whether to pass bill on.
Confirm presidential appointments (specifically in the Senate), e.g. the Senate Judiciary Committee has hearings.
What is the role of select committees? Why are they more special than standing committees?
They investigate a particular issue. They look at stuff that does not fall within a standing committees remit, or looks at stuff that standing committees can't do.
Include Senate Aging Committee + Sen/HOR intelligence committees.
Why is the chairperson of a committee extra powerful?
What is the term to describe the leader of the HOR? Senate leader/leader from the minority party?
What is 1 thing the Speaker can do? What do they represent?
They control the committee's agenda and budget.
The Speaker; majority/minority leader.
Appoint select committee chairs; their party's interests.
What situation can be described as 'partisanship'?
When members of a particular party consistently band together to oppose members of another party, characterised by firm party discipline.
What is an example of Congress having a stronger check than Parliament?
Yet, why can Parliament arguably oversee the executive easier?
Ratification of appointments, which isn't donwn to Parliament.
Because Parliament + exec are fused.
Despite the HOL being weakened by the Senate, what's the caveat?
The Lords has undergone a reinvigoration after increased legitimacy w/ the removal of hereditary peers.