Congress%20Intro - Congress PLS 4600 Introduction Todays...

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ongress Congress PLS 4600 Introduction
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Today’s Congress: Overview 1. Congress occupies the center stage in national policy making. lectoral politics influences almost everything members 2. Electoral politics influences almost everything members of Congress do, collectively and individually. 3. The majority party, through party leaders, directs and dominates the action in the House and Senate. 4. The rules and organizational structures the House and Senate adopt have a deliberate and crucial effect on power and policy making. 5. It is always easier to stop things from happening in Congress than to make things happen. gg p p
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reas of Areas of Congressional Authority • House: Bills Dealing with raising and spending revenue must begin in the House • Senate: Advice and Consent on treaties, nfirms presidential appointments of confirms presidential appointments of ambassadors, justices, members of cabinet
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The Electoral System • Two choices made by the Framers of the Constitution have profoundly affected the electoral politics of Congress: embers of Congress and presidents are Members of Congress and presidents are elected separately. – Members of Congress are elected from states and congressional districts by plurality vote – that is, whoever gets the most votes wins.
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Congressional Districts • After the first census in 1790, each state was allotted one House seat for every 33,000 habitants for a total of 105 seats inhabitants for a total of 105 seats. • Total membership was finally fixed at its current iling of 435 in 1911 when House leaders ceiling of 435 in 1911 when House leaders concluded that further growth would impede the House’s work. • However, the size of each state’s delegation may change after each decennial census as state/region opulations shift populations shift.
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Election of Senators • The 50 Senate constituencies – entire states – may not change boundaries with each census, though ey vary greatly in size of population they vary greatly in size of population. • Average U.S. House member represents 647,000 eople. people. • Until the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913, senators were chosen by state legislatures. • Most Americans had long since concluded that i th d f l ti d ti d this method of selection was undemocratic and corrupting. Charges of bribery.
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Congress and Electoral Politics • The modern Congress is organized to serve the goals of its members. • Primary goal: Keep their jobs! hus a career in Congress depends on • Thus a career in Congress depends on getting elected and reelected again and ain again.
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The Advantages of Incumbency • The decline in party loyalty among voters offered incumbents a chance to win votes that once would have gone routinely to the other party's candidate.
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This note was uploaded on 04/16/2009 for the course POLS 4600 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at University of Georgia Athens.

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Congress%20Intro - Congress PLS 4600 Introduction Todays...

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