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Polisci Notes Chapter 12

Polisci Notes Chapter 12 - Polisci Notes/15/08 The Congress...

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Polisci Notes Chapter 12 04/15/08 The Congress - part of the explanation for seemingly contradictory appraisals is the members of Congress spend considerable time and effort serving heir constituents - constituent one of the persons represented by a legislator or other elected or appointed official - he founders of the American republic believed that the bulk of the power that would be exercised by a national government should be in the hands of legislature - article I deals with the structure, the powers, and the operation of Congress - the bicameralism of Congress – its division into two legislative houses was in part the result of the Connecticut Compromise which tried to balance the large-state population advantage - the two chambers of Congress reflected the social class biases of the founders - members of the House are required to face the electorate every two years, wheras senators can serve for a much more secure term of six years - the senators’ terms are staggered so that only one-third of the senators face the electorate every two years The Functions of Congress - the bicameral structure of Congress was designed to enable the legislative body and its members to perform certain functions for the political system most important thing they deal with are lawmaking and representation - lawmaking is the process of establishing the legal rules that govern society - a majority of the bills that Congress acts on originate in the executive branch and many other bills are traceable to interest groups and political party organizations - through the process of compromise and logrolling (an arrangement in which two or more members of Congress agree in advance to support each other’s bills) backers of legislations attempt to fashion a winning majority coalition to create policies for the nation - representation includes both representing the desires and demands of the constituents in the member’s home district or state and representing larger national interests such as farmers or the environment - the legislators acts as trustees ( a legislator who acts according to her or his conscience and the broad interest of the entire society) - directly opposed to the trustee view of representation is the notion that the members of Congress should behave as instructed delegates ( a legislature who is an agent of the voters who elected him or her and who votes according to the views of constituents regardless of personal beliefs - for the most part neither view works well by itself therefore politicians incorporate both ways into their ideas - individual members of Congress are expected by their constituents to act as brokers between private citizens and the imposing often faceless federal government…this usually takes in the form of casework - legislators and many analysts of congressional behavior regard this ombudsperson role as an activity that strongly benefits the members of Congress
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- ombudsperson a person who hears and investigates complaints by private
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  • Spring '08
  • Garrison-Nelson
  • United States Congress, United States Senate, United States House of Representatives, Party leaders of the United States Senate

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