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Unformatted text preview: Congress: the Legislative Branch • Ours is different than most other countries o Legislative is a separate branch from executive Makes legislative a little more powerful o We have presidential government • Basic Duties of Congress o Representation o Law Making o Consensus Building o Overseeing the Bureaucracy Bureaucracy is part of the executive branch but congress has the ability to check to make sure they are doing their jobs o Policy Clarification Bring awareness to issues o Investigating the operation of government agencies Including the white house Impeachment hearings • House holds hearing • Senate removes from office o Senate Presidential appointments Treaties • Bicameral Legislature o 2 houses House of Representatives • Entire body elected every 2 years • Have to be at least 25 years old o Average life expectancy in 1789 was 48 • Special Powers: o originates all tax bills o brings impeachment charges • 435 representatives o Based on state populations At the first Congress, there were 65 reps 1790 census - 105 seats with 1 seat every 33,000 1910 - expanded to 435, 1 seat every 200,000 1929 - size was fixed at the 435 number • Physical size of the building was too small • Did not want too many representatives o Leads to gridlocks 2002 - Each seat has about 650,000 people except states with 1 seat (I.e. WY, VT, AK) • Population is bases on VAP not VEP o Reapportionment Every 10 years = census • Congressional seats get redesigned to account for population changes When a state gains or loses a seat, their state legislature will redistrict their U.S. House of Representatives districts • Manipulation of Districts o Gerrymandering Favors the political party of the dominant party in the state legislature o Creation of 'safe seats' Doesn’t matter who you are o Representation of Minority Interests Cracking Packing Majority- Minority Districts • Who are these House members? o Party Gender Race(109 th ) Democrat: 232 Men: 360 African American: 42 Republican: 201 Women: 75 Hispanic: 26 Independent: - White : 367 Vacancies: 2 o Average Age: 55 years(109 th ) o Length of Term(109 th )9.3 years o College 396 House members have a bachelor’s degree 120 House members have a Master’s degree 170 House members have a law degree 20 House members have doctoral degrees 14 House members have Medical degrees • Jobs held by Congressmen and Senators • o 13 medical doctors o 1 psychiatrist o 3 dentists o 3 nurses o 3 vets o 2 psychologists o 1 optometrist o 1 pharmacist o 6 ministers o 35 mayors o 10 state governors o 1 former ambassador o 3 state supreme court judges o 1 federal judge o Former aide in British House of Commons o 4 sheriffs o 4 police officers o 2 state troopers o 2 FBI agents o 1 CIA agent o 1 CIA attache o 2 physicists o 2 chemists o 1 geologist o 1 microbiologist o 6 accountants o 1 commercial airline pilot o 1 astronaut...
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This note was uploaded on 04/21/2008 for the course GOV 310L taught by Professor Kieth during the Spring '07 term at University of Texas at Austin.
- Spring '07