The Legislative Branch C H A P T E R S 2 A N D 7 E S S E N T I A L S O F A M E R I C A N G O V E R N M E N T R O O T S A N D R E F O R M

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1 The Legislative Branch C H A P T E R S 2 A N D 7 E S S E N T I A L S O F A M E R I C A N G O V E R N M E N T R O O T S A N D R E F O R M M S. CAMPBELL A P GOVERNMENT EDGREN HIGH SCHOOL

2 Imagine for a moment that American Government is a tree. This tree has three main branches, the national executive, judicial, and legislative branches. These large branches become smaller, representing the state level government; then the small branches break into smaller twigs representing the local government. The purpose of this structure is to separate the power of government and create checks and balances. American Government: The Basics

3 The Constitutional Legislative Branch Article I of the Constitution defines the Legislative Branch through use of: The Bill of Attainder Clause Contracts Clause Ex Post Facto Clause Commerce Clause Elastic Clause Many Amendments have also been made to the Constitution concerning the legislative branch, but that will be discussed later.

4 Legislative Branch Basics Bicameral The Senate 100 Representatives Designed to be further from the people The House of Representatives 435 Representatives Designed to be responsive to the people Bicameralism was chosen by the founders due to conflict at the Constitutional Convention: the New Jersey and Virginia Plans concerning citizen representation. The Great Compromise, also known as the Connecticut Compromise, created the bicameral Congress to provide both equal representation planned by New Jersey and population based representation planned by Virginia. Purpose To protect against an overly powerful Legislative Branch Population Representation; this number was set by the Reapportionment Act in 1911

5 Legislative Powers Expressed Powers Levy Taxes Spending for common welfare and defense Borrow Money Regulate Foreign, Interstate, and Indian commerce Coin money Establish weights and measures Establish Post Offices Declare War Raise and Support and Army and Navy Implied Powers Based on clauses found in the Constitution Inherent Powers Powers of the Congress given simply by virtue of being a sovereign Nation Institutional Powers Powers needed for checks and balances

6 House of Representatives Elected by Congressional District Number of districts in state provides number of Seats for that state Districts are reapportioned every 10 years depending on the Census 2 year terms Every representative is up for reelection every 2 years Reflects the popular will of average Americans Qualifications 25 years old Citizenship for 7 years State residency

7 114 th Congress ( ) House of Party(Shading indicates majority caucus) Representatives Democratic Republican Total Vacant End of previous Congress Begin (January 3, 2015) January 5, 2015 [3] Latest voting share Non-voting members 43.2% 56.6%

8 114 th Congress ( ) Senate Party membership of the Senate, by state BLUE: 2 Democrats RED: 2 Republicans PURPLE: 1 Democrat and 1 Republican GREEN & BLUE: 1 Independent (caucuses with Democrats) and 1 Democrat GREEN & RED: 1 Independent (caucuses with Democrats) and 1 Republican

9 House of Representatives Leadership Speaker of the House Strongest Congressional position Presides over House Appoints and selects committee members Assigns bills to committees 3 rd in line for President Greater access to media Sets House agenda Paul Ryan (R)

10 House of Representatives Leadership Majority and Minority Leader Partisan positions chosen by party members Floor leaders and legislative strategists Mitch McConnell (R) Harry Reid (D)

11 House of Representatives Leadership Majority and Minority Whip Assistant floor leaders Keep nose count on important votes Persuade party members to vote with party John Cornyn(R) Dick Durbin (D)

12 Senate 100 members Small size makes procedures less formal in Senate, fewer restrictions 6 year terms 1/3 up for reelection every 2 years Staggered terms ensure a more stable and less responsive body Qualifications 30 years old Citizenship for 9 years State residency Special Powers Filibuster Hold

13 Senate Leadership United States Vice President Acts as President of Senate Votes in case of ties Mainly ceremonial job Joe Biden

14 Senate Leadership President Pro Tempore Presides over Senate when Vice President is away Ceremonial job 4 th in line for presidency Orin Hatch (R)

15 Senate Leadership Majority Leader Recognized first for all debates True leader of majority party Influences committee assignments of senators Influences agenda Mitch McConnell (R)

16 Congressional Compensation Members set their own salaries Private Staff Travel Allowance Office Space Franking Privilege Free mail service Insurance Legislative Immunity Cannot be sued for something they say while on Congressional business Cannot be arrested while going to or from a session of Congress

17 Committees Basics Real work in Congress is done in committees, not on the floor of the House or Senate Before a bill can be debated on the floor, it must pass through a committee Functions: Screen bills Analyze legislation Conduct investigations of Executive Branch (as needed) Conduct oversight of agencies (always)

18 Committee Members Congressmen assigned to committees depending on Party R: Committee on Committees D: Steering and Policy Committee Majority Party will have majority in committee and hold position of Chairman Chairman chosen by secret ballot Helps to be old, experienced, and a good leader (seniority system) Chairman Powers Setting agenda, hiring staff, membership appointment on subcommittees, and jurisdiction over subcommittee

19 Types of Committees Standing Committees Permanent committees of Congress with legislative, investigative, and oversight powers Conference Committees Temporary committees comprised of members from both houses Select Committees Appointed by a house for a limited, temporary purpose to study an issue or to conduct an investigation Joint Committees Composed of members from both houses for similar temporary purposes

20 Important Committees House of Representatives Rules Committee Sets legislative agenda and establishes debate rules Ways and Means Committee Deals with taxes Appropriations Committee Deals with spending bills Senate Finance Committee Deals with tax bills Appropriations Committee Deals with spending bills Foreign Relations Committee Role in confirming treaty ratification and ambassador confirmation Judiciary Committee Screens judiciary nominees

21 Who Influences Congress Constituents Ideology of member Other members, party leaders, and committee leaders Interest Groups and Lobbyists Congressional staff members Campaign Contributors The President Media Iron Triangles Caucuses

22 Elections Winner-take-all system and single member district system Primaries Closed: can only vote for candidates in registered party Open: crossing of party lines is allowed Blanket: independents may vote Less popular than presidential election due to media coverage Senate elections are more competitive Incumbency Advantage

23 Bill Basics Less than 10% of bills pass 80% of bills originate from the executive branch Revenue Bills must originate in the House of Representatives Passage of a bill requires a simple majority

24 How a Bill becomes a Law Bill is received by House or Senate then sent to committee where bill can be passed, killed, amended, or pigeonholed Bill is either sent out by committee or sent out via a discharge petition filed by the House or Senate If the bill passes both houses but contains different wording, a conference committee is needed When both houses pass the legislation, bill is sent to president and he can sign, veto, or ignore

25 Schoolhouse Rock H O W A B I L L B E C O M E S A L A W

26 Checks and Balances Senate ratifies treaties Senate approves presidential appointments House votes for impeachment, Senate tries impeachment cases House elects president if no electoral majority, Senate elects Vice President Congress expands or decreases size of courts Changes Over Time Judiciary Act of 1911 Allows Congress to change size, jurisdiction, and numbers of courts and allows for the creation of the Supreme Court Buckley v. Valeo Congress can limit campaign contributions but not spending 16 th Amendment Allows Congress to apply Federal Income Tax 17 th Amendment Direct election of Senators 20 th Amendment Establishes beginning and ending of terms for Senators and Representatives 26 th Amendment Congress prohibited from setting voting age higher than th Amendment Changes in salary for Senators and Representatives will not go into effect until after the next election of representatives

27 Works Cited O'Connor, Karen J. "Chapter 2 and Chapter 8." Essentials of American Government Roots and Reform. [S.l.]: Longman, N. pag. Print. "I'm Just a Bill." YouTube. YouTube, 13 June Web. 18 May 2013.

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