patterson9_sg_ch11 - Chapter Eleven Congress: Balancing...

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Chapter Eleven Congress: Balancing National Goals and Local Interests Chapter Outline I. Congress as a Career: Election to Congress A. Using Incumbency to Stay in Congress 1. The Service Strategy: Taking Care of Constituents 2. Campaign Fund-Raising: Raking in the Money 3. Redistricting: Favorable Boundaries for House Incumbents B. Pitfalls of Incumbency 1. Disruptive Issues 2. Personal Misconduct 3. Turnout Variation: The Midterm Election Problem 4. Strong Challengers: A Particular Problem for Senators C. Safe Incumbency and Representation D. Who Are the Winners in Congressional Elections? II. Party Leadership in Congress A. The House Leadership B. The Senate Leadership C. The Power of Party Leaders III. The Committee System A. Committee Jurisdiction B. Committee Members C. Committee Chairs D. Committees and Parties: Who Is In Control? IV. How a Bill Becomes Law A. Committee Hearings and Decisions B. From Committee to the Floor C. Leadership and Floor Action D. Conference Committees and the President V. Congress’s Policymaking Role A. The Lawmaking Function of Congress 1. Broad Issues: Fragmentation as a Limit on Congress’s Role 2. Congress in the Lead: Fragmentation as a Policy Making Strength B. The Representation of Congress 1. Representation of States and Districts 2. Representation of the Nation through Parties C. The Oversight Function of Congress VI. Congress: Too Much Pluralism? Chapter Summary SG – 11 | 1
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Members of Congress, once elected, are likely to be reelected. Members of Congress can use their office to publicize themselves, pursue a service strategy of responding to the needs of individual constituents, and secure pork-barrel projects for their states or districts. House members gain a greater advantage from these activities than do senators, whose larger constituencies make it harder for them to build close personal relations with voters and whose office is more likely to attract strong challengers. Incumbency does have some disadvantages. Members of Congress must take positions on controversial issues, may blunder into political scandal or indiscretion, must deal with changes in the electorate, or may face strong challengers; any of these conditions can reduce members’ reelection chances. By and large, however, the - advantages of incumbency far outweigh the disadvantages. Incumbents’ advantages extend into their reelection campaigns; their influential positions in Congress make it easier for them to raise campaign funds from PACs and individual contributors. Congress is a fragmented institution. It has no single leader; rather, the House and Senate have separate leaders, neither of whom can presume to speak for the other chamber. The principal party leaders of Congress are the Speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader. They share leadership power with committee and subcommittee chairpersons, who have influence on the policy decisions of their committee or subcommittee. It is in the committees that most of the day-to-day work of Congress is conducted. Each standing
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patterson9_sg_ch11 - Chapter Eleven Congress: Balancing...

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