Gov 370L- Congress & the Presidency Full Semester Notes- Spring 2007

Gov 370L- Congress & the Presidency Full Semester Notes- Spring 2007

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1/18/07 Terms: Congress’ existential dilemma Ambition to counteract ambition Mary Landriue Fenno’s Paradox Harry Reid Sausages and laws The most powerful branch Turnout in Congressional elections There is a tension between the individual districts and the country as a whole - 2 kinds of districts- House districts & Senate districts (the whole state) - Members of Congress tend to be more concern bout the interest of their district than the concern of the nation as the whole - 435 Members of the House, 100 Senators, 3 Representative in the House from DC who can speak but not vote - Entire house is up for election every 2 years, Senators serve up to 6 years - If the senate was based on population- CA would have 12, TX 7, 31 states would have just 1 senator - Example 1: Mary Landriue (D) - from LA for the Senate in 2002, running for reelection in 2002 against Susie Terrell, a week before the voting, polls showed Terrell (R) was going to win, but a week before the election, Landriue staff learned the Bush admin. Was going to dbl. Mexico sugar quota. (cheap imported sugar put American growers out of business which also lowered everyone’s price on sugar)- there are many sugar growers in LA; Landriue launched a TV ad attacking the deal with the Mexicans and showed they need a senator that put LA first; Landriue was reelected- by putting her district/state ahead of the national interest o In 2006, the Dep. of Energy spent 90 million dollars on what to do with nuclear waste By 2010, 70 reactors will have to shut down if we don’t have a solution on nuclear waste 1982- Nuclear waste policy act- it told the D. of E find a solution to store the waste permanently- suggested to put it underground in the desert isolated Nimby Syndrome- “not in my backyard”- the public is afraid of nuclear waste that nobody wants waste stored in their state In Jan 2002, DoE decides to put it in Yacka Mountain, Nevada In July 2002, Congress approves of the Yacka Mt. site- NV filed against the plan in Fed. Court In 2006, the Democrats win control of the senate and Reid becomes the Maj. Leader, and said Congress will not implement the policy against the Act by withdrawing money; Congress tends to make policy at the bases of neg. with special interest Example 2: Harry Reid - Nevada- Senate Majority Leader o Congress’ existential dilemma- Congress is a national leg. But members are locally elected, rep are asked to make national policy but they get themselves elected by promising to serve the special int. of their dis. Or state can conflict with the int. of the country - There are certain eras and time periods where representatives suppress their individual interest in order to make coherent policy (they change over time, sometimes by institution) o Since 1995, we have a coherent house but not the senate o Congress’ existential dilemma- Rep want to increase their individual power, they want to increase their ind. Power so they can serve their districts, but the more rep. increase. Ind. Power, the less
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This note was uploaded on 04/22/2008 for the course GOV 370L taught by Professor O'brien during the Spring '08 term at University of Texas.

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Gov 370L- Congress & the Presidency Full Semester Notes- Spring 2007

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