CHAPTER 6: The legislative branch NAME

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1 CHAPTER 6: The legislative branch NAME VOCAB 1. CONSTITUENT : voters represented by someone in a political office 2. CENSUS : government count of the population every 10 years 3. GERRYMANDER : drawing up voting districts irregularly in order to give a political party an unfair advantage 4. SENIORITY : time on the job 5. MAJORITY PARTY : party that has the most representation in Congress 6. MINORITY PARTY : party that has the least representation in Congress 7. STANDING COMMITTEE : Congressional committee that never disbands and meets periodically 8. EXPRESSED POWERS : powers of Congress specifically stated in Article I of the Constitution 9. IMPLIED POWERS : powers Congress may wield due to the "Elastic Clause." In other words - powers NOT specifically stated in Article I. 10. ELASTIC CLAUSE : Part of Article I of the Constitution that allows Congress the power to do whatever it needs to do in order to do its job. 11. IMPEACH : a formal accusation of wrongdoing against a government official. 12. WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS : court order that requires a suspect to be brought to court to have their charges explained to them (ILLEGAL TO DENY SOMEONE THIS RIGHT) 13. BILL OF ATTAINDER : a law that would allow a person to be punished without a court trial. 14. EX POST FACTO LAW : a law that would allow a person to be punished for committing acts before they were against the law (ILLEGAL) 15. FRANKING PRIVILEGE :power of Congress to send work-related mail without paying postage. 16. LOBBYIST : someone who works for an interest group, job is to influence politicians 17. PORK-BARREL PROJECT : a government project that only benefits a small percentage of the population 18. DRAFT : to draw up/write up a bill 19. ESTIMATE : to make an educated guess 20. JOINT RESOLUTION: a resolution (AGREEMENT) reached by both houses of Congress 21. SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP : a group that looks out for a specific idea/interest and tries to influence Congressional legislation in that area. 22. FILIBUSTER : A tactic in the Senate to kill a bill by preventing a vote on it. 23. CLOTURE : a 2/3 vote to stop a filibuster. 24. VOICE VOTE : voting by saying "yea" or "nay" 25. STANDING VOTE : voting by standing 26. ROLL-CALL VOTE : voting by calling upon a Congressman individually and have them state their vote one-by-one. 27. VETO : denying a bill 28. POCKET VETO : President's way of vetoing a bill by waiting 10 days to pass after receiving it and doing nothing with it.

2 CHAPTER 6: THE U.S LEGISLATIVE BRANCH (Congress!) NAME PART ONE: "BASIC STUFF" (Organization/Makeup of Congress) 1. The primary job of Congress is to make laws. 2. The two "houses" in Congress are the House of Representatives and Senate. 3. In the House of Representatives, there are 435 members. They serve two-year terms. 4. In the Senate, there are 100 members. They serve six-year terms. 5. The leader of the House of Representatives is the Speaker of the House. This is considered to be the most powerful position in ALL of Congress. 6. There are two leaders of the Senate. The day-to-day leader is known as the President Pro Tempore. This position is considered to be "ceremonial", since the holder of this position is whoever has the longest tenure in the Senate. The "technical" leader of the Senate is the Vice-President, however he or she only participates in the Senate if there is a need to break a voting tie. 7. Other important positions include floor leaders, who are Congressmen/women who have influence over the others... and party whips, who basically assist the floor leaders. PART TWO: Elections 8. Each member of the House of Reps and the Senate are elected by and are to serve a specific district. People who live in a representative's or senator's district are referred to as constituents. 9. While districts are supposed to be divided up evenly - based on population -, some states have been known to draw up their districts to "favor" a particular political party... this practice is known as gerrymandering. 10. Every ten years, the USA does a census, which is a population count. Concerning Congress, the reason for doing this is to determine if states need to change their representation in the House of Representatives. PART THREE: Congress at Work 11. Every year, thousands of BILLS (ideas for laws) are handled by Congress. Since there are so many people working in Congress, they divide up into committees to get their work done. a. There are three types of committees: i. STANDING: permanent committee, they never are dissolved. Examples are Budget, Education, Armed Forces, and Judiciary. ii. SELECT: temporary committees, they are created when needed, then dissolved when their work is done. Usually these committees are created to investigate situations (misconduct, research, etc). iii. JOINT: these are committees consisting of both House and Senate members. Primary function of this committee is to resolve differences between House and Senate bills. 12. The committee a congressman works on depends on several factors, the primary two being seniority (time on the job), and experience in that area. Each committee elects a chairperson that oversees that committee's activities - a powerful position. 13. Work that a congressman/woman does to benefit their own district is called casework. 14. Sometimes congressmen/women may get laws passed that only benefit their own district or state. These are referred to as pork-barrel projects.

3 PART FOUR: POWERS OF CONGRESS 15. Powers of Congress are divided into two types: legislative and non-legislative. a. There are two types of LEGISLATIVE (law-making) powers. i. EXPRESSED: specifically given to Congress in Article I of the Constitution. (See Expressed Powers Chapter 3.3 notes for a list). ii. IMPLIED: these are NOT specifically-mentioned in the Constitution, but Congress "assumes" them based the "NECESSARY AND PROPER CLAUSE". 16. The primary NON-LEGISLATIVE power the power to investigate and punish members of the government who commit wrongful actions. 17. Impeachment is a two-step process. The first step is conducted by the House of Representatives, who determine if the person committed a wrongful act. The second step is conducted by the Senate, who determine the punishment for that individual - from warnings to being fired! 18. Another significant non-legislative power is the Senate's requirement to approve the majority of actions of the President, such as political appointments. 19. There are limits to Congress's powers - three specifically: a. They cannot suspend a WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, which is a court order requiring police to bring a suspect in custody before a judge to have the reason they're being held explained to them by a judge. b. They cannot pass a BILL OF ATTAINDER, which would allow a person to be punished for a crime without a court trial. c. They cannot pass an EX-POST FACTO LAW, which would allow someone to be charged as a criminal for committing an action before it was against the law. d. Other limits to Congress's power include the President's requirement to approve all laws passed by Congress - and the Judicial Branch has the power to strike down laws they feel violate the Constitution. PART FIVE: HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW 20. STEP ONE: INTRODUCTION: can be introduced in either the House or Senate. 21. STEP TWO: COMMITTEE WORK: bill goes to an appropriate committee, where it's worked on and developed. 22. STEP THREE: DEBATE: Bill is discussed and argued (for and against) in both the House and Senate. Both have different rules for doing this. The House is on a strict time limit, due to the large size of the group. The Senate however, has unlimited time to debate - which allows Senators to filibuster a bill (talk nonstop), which prevents a vote from taking place - thus killing it. Senators however can block a filibuster if they decide to do a vote of cloture, which requires a 3/5ths vote and places an hour-long time limit on senator speeches. 23. STEP FOUR: VOTE: both the House and Senate vote on the bill. Do note however that the approved bill must be the same in both houses before it can go on to the next step. If it is not, then a conference committee is formed, where they sort out the differences and revote once a compromised bill is reached. 24. STEP FIVE: PRESIDENTIAL ACTION: Once the President receives a bill, they can...: A) Sign it into law, B) Veto it (Congress CAN override it with a 2/3rds vote), or... C) DO NOTHING - which after 10 days the bill either dies (called a pocket veto - Congress CANNOT be in session), or goes into law if Congress is IN session.

4 CHAPTER 6 VOCAB REVIEW 1. The primary job of anyone serving in Congress is to serve their, or the people they represent while in office. 2. Every 10 years, the government conducts a. 3. President Clinton was for lying on the witness stand. 4. The state cannot deny you your right to, which requires you to be informed of the charges against you if you're arrested. 5. If gambling was made illegal tomorrow, you couldn't be arrested for gambling before it was against the law. Therefore, Congress (or any US government) cannot pass. 6. The NRA (National Rifle Association) is a that works solely to influence Congress on any law that deals with guns. 7. If the President does not like a bill sent from Congress, they have the option of that bill. 8. In the law-making process, a senator can talk indefinitely during the step where lawmakers discuss/debate a law - with the intention of preventing a vote from occurring on that bill. This tactic used by a senator is called a. 9. While the US Constitution says nothing about Congress being able to start a bank, it is assumed they CAN since Congress has, granted from the elastic/necessary and proper clause. 10. are Congressional powers specifically identified in the US Constitution.

5 CHAPTER 6 READING QUESTIONS 1. What is the primary job of Congress? 2. How many people serve in Congress? 3. Who is the leader of the House of Representatives? 4. Who are the leader(s) of the Senate? 5. What is the criteria for drawing up Congressional districts? 6. What is the purpose of the census? 7. What is casework? 8. What are the three types of committees? (Know the differences) 9. What are the two types of powers Congress has? 10. What are the two types of legislative powers? 11. What is the primary non-legislative power of Congress? 12. What are the two steps of impeachment? 13. Who is required to approve the majority of Presidential actions? 14. What are the three things Congress cannot do? 15. How can the other two branches limit the power of Congress? PROJECT (In class) You will make a display about the process by which a bill becomes a law (Part 5 notes) EXTRA CREDIT Who in the House of Representatives who currently serves as your district's representative? Who are the two current NC senators?

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