POSSIBLE QUESTIONS FOR 1
EXAM, SPRING, 2008
Three questions; two from the reading (Binder – STALEMATE), Baker (Chapters 1 and
2 from HOUSE AND SENATE); and Chapters 1,2,7,8,9, and 12 in Smith, et al., THE
Two questions from the reading:
If I ask a question from Binder, it will be something like:
What is gridlock (or
Stalemate); why does it occur; what are its consequences, and how can its frequency be
Gridlock is legislative inaction. Gridlock is a consequence of separated institutions
sharing and competing for power. The consequence of gridlock is
If I ask a question from Baker, chapter 1 deals with the evolution of the House and Senate
and the question will ask how the two have evolved and what factors influenced their
Originally the House was destined to be the most prestigious and powerful body because
of the way it was elected, its preeminence in fiscal matters, and its presumed capacity to
generate strong and forceful leadership. The Senate was constructed to be like the House
of Lords which would counteract the House, who would be excessively responsive to
popular will. In 1831 Henry Clay left the House for the Senate, which revealed something
about the changing status of the upper chamber. At this time the Senate and the House
were equal, and soon the Senate would surpass it. Before long the Senate had the better
pick of House members who changed chambers in addition to their own brilliant
members. The House eventually grew to be more than four times as large as the Senate,
which required a rule in the house limited the amount of time a bill could be debated (one
hour). The debate time in the Senate remains unlimited. The nature of American policy
also changed in a way that favored the Senate over the House. The Senate had power
over foreign affairs and as the United States grew and became a world power the Senate
was granted additional powers.
If I ask a question from Chapter 2, which deals with differences between the House and
Senate, I will ask something about why office holders view the Senate as a more
desirable institution than the House in which to serve.
Office holders view the Senate as a more desirable institution than the House for a
number of reasons. The Senate is a smaller house with the same number of
responsibilities as its larger counterpart. Senators have many more responsibilities than
house members. They have much larger offices, more staff members, and more time to
debate. They know everyone in their chamber as opposed to the House where one may
not know many of his/her colleagues.
Chapter 1 in Smith.
Describe the modern trends to which the authors refer.