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T or F: Congress is the 2nd branch mentioned in the Constitution (Art. 1, Sect. 1).
False. It is the 1st!
How is Congress the branch closest to the people?
It is the only one we directly elect.
How does Congress perform the most basic form of government?
It enforces the public\'s wants by passing bills.
What are the expressed powers of Congress?
Tax Borrow (sell bonds and treasury notes) Bankruptcy (also shared with state) Regulate interstate and foreign commerce Buy, sell, lend federal land (military bases, prisons, national parks) Laws on naturalization Coin money Decide postal routes and offices Copyrights/patents Standards of weight and measures Creates federal courts other than SC Declare war (can raise army and institute draft) Spending
What kind of legislature is Congress?
What are the three reasons why Congress is bicameral?
1) Historical-UK had bicameral Parliament 2) Compromise- of VA Plan (representation by population) and NJ Plan (equal representation) 3) 1 chamber would be too big-made 2 so one could not dominate the other
What are the two parts to why Congress is slow to act?
It\'d be quicker if they had more dominant leadership and it protects interests of individual members.
How are Senator elections different today compared to in the past?
Today they are popularly elected (directly), when in the past they were elected by state legislatures.
Why is there no limits on debate in Senate?
It is so small. (that\'s what she said)
Which amendment made Senators directly elected?
17th (1913)
What is a filibuster?
A delaying action; stalling technique used by the minority
A 3 week filibuster during WWI led to what rule?
Cloture rule (kills a filibuster)
What is a supermajority?
The 60% (previously 66%) of members needed in Senate to break a filibuster.
Why are Senators slow to enforce the cloture rule?
They don\'t want it used on themselves.
What Congress is currently in?
Who are the Presiding Officer of the House (in order of importance)?
1. Speaker of the House 2. Majority Leader (has whip) 3. Minority Leader (has whip)
What is party unity?
When parties vote together (within 1 party)
What is a Congressional caucus?
a group of Congressmen who either advocate an idealogy, an area, or an interest (like an interest group made of Congressmen)
Why are there Congressional caucuses?
-ability to show leadership -as a show for constituents -to get info
What are the 2 jobs of the Speaker?
1. Runs House-decides which bills go to which committees 2. Leader of their (the majority) party
What are the 3 kinds of votes on a bill (ie for constituents)?
1. representational (delegate)- as constituents would like 2. organizational (partisan)- as party would like (which is how Congressmen tend to vote most often) 3. attidunal (trustee)- as you think best
What is the name of the most senior member of the majority party of the Senate?
President Pro-Tempore
What does a policy committee do?
helps leadership organize
What is the name for the democratic committee that decides who gets on which committees? The Republican?
steering committee; committee on committees
What do whips do?
assists the majority or minority leader; act as a go-between for leadership and the rest
Where does the real work of Congress get done?
What are the 4 types of committees?
1. standing committee- permanent committee that focuses on a particular subject (where legislation gets proposed) 1a. sub-committee- more specified committees under standing committee 2. select committee- meets for a limited time for a select purpose 3. joint committee- Senate and House work together 4. conference committee- iron out differences between House and Senate form of a bill before it goes to the President
What does a staff do?
-stays up on legislation -drafts legislation -constituent services- take up most of staff time
What are the limits on debate in the House?
timed and must stay on topic
What are the 5 House Calendars?
1. union- deals with tax and spending bills 2. House- for non $ bills but still important 3. private- for private bills 4. consent- non-controversial bills 5. discharge- for discharge petitions
What are the 2 Senate Calendars?
1. executive- appointment confirmation, treaties 2. business- all other legislation
What is the House Rules Committee\'s nickname and why?
traffic cop: controls the flow of legislation
What are the three types of rule for the HRC?
1. closed rule-limited (time on debate and no amendments) 2. restrictive rule- some amendments ok 3. open rule- freer (amendments ok)
T or F: It is much easier to block a bill than to pass it.
What is a public bill?
A bill that affects the nation as a whole.
What is a private bill?
A bill that only affects a particular group.
What is sequential referral?
Speaker may send a bill to another committee after going through one.
What are the four voting methods of the House?
+1. voice vote- voting with aye or nay 2. division vote- voting by standing *3. teller vote- in favor would go through teller and count vote +*4. rollcall vote- go through every name +=type also found in Senate *=has official record of votes
What happens to a bill after it goes through a conference committee?
goes back to House and Senate floors to be voted on, then to President\'s desk
What are the 4 options a President has with a bill that reaches his desk?
1. Veto (both houses of Congress would need 2/3 vote to overrule) 2. Sign into law 3. pocket veto- sits on it for 10 days then dies if Congress out of session 4. allows it-sits on it for 10 days and Congress in session so it becomes law
What is double-tracking?
Tabling one bill and moving on to another.
What is party polarization?
the majority of one party being against the other party.
T or F: Senators make more $ than Representatives.
False- they are paid equally
What was created in the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995?
Office of Compliance- place where Congressional complaints are taken
What is pork barrel legislation?
laws that give benefits to constituents; grease that makes the wheels of Congress turn
T or F: pork barrel legislation accounts for 1/4 of all gov\'t $
F- it accounts for a small fraction of $
What is a quarum?
enough people to conduct business
What can happen if there isn\'t a quarum?
committee of the whole (can work with only 100 Representatives present)- work but no voting on bills
What is a rider?
an addition to a bill that usually has nothing to do with it (added on for small project, President, or to get people to vote against the bill
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