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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 5- Congress: The first Branch The U.S. Congress is the first branch of government under Article 1 of our Constitution. Congress is the only national representative assembly that can be said to govern. Congress has vast authority over the two most important powers given to any government: the power of force (control over the nations military forces) and the power over money. In the realm of foreign policy, Congress has the power to declare war, deal with piracy, regulate foreign commerce, and raise and regulate the armed forces and military installations. Further, the Senate has the power to approve treaties and the appointment of ambassadors. Representation- Each members primary responsibility is to the district, to his/her constituency , not to the congressional leadership, a party, or even Congress itself. Some members see themselves as delegates and others as trustees . One expects at the very least that each representative will constantly be seeking to discover the interests of the constituency & will be speaking for those interests in Congress & other centers of government. For many, this ambition is satisfied simply by maintaining a hold on their present office and advancing up the rungs of power in that body. The legislator is eager to serve the interests of constituents; either to enhance his/her prospects of contract renewal at the next election or to improve the chances of moving to another level. House and Senate: differences in representation- Bicameral legislature is a legislative body consisting of two chambers. Members of the house are to be close to the people, elected popularly every two years. Members of the Senate on the other hand, were previously appointed by state legislatures for six-year terms. They are to present the elite members of society, and are to be attuned more to the interests of property than too those of the population. Today members of both House and Senate are elected directly by the people. The House and the Senate play different roles in the legislative process: This is the institution principal at work. The two legislative chambers are organized in very different ways, reflecting not only their differences in size but also their differences in electoral rhythm, constituencies, and roles. Differences in the length of terms and the requirements for holding offices specified by the Constitution generate differences in how the members of each body develop their constituencies and exercise their powers in office. The result is that members of the House more effectively and more frequently serve as the agents of well-organized local interests...
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This note was uploaded on 06/14/2008 for the course POLSC 110 taught by Professor Adler during the Spring '06 term at CUNY Hunter.
- Spring '06
- The Ambassadors