Congress - Congress Representing the American People...

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Congress: Representing the American People Congress is the most important representative institution in American government. Each member's primary responsibility is to the district, to his or her constituency, not to the congressional leadership, a party, or even Congress itself. Yet the task of representation is not a simple one. Views about what constitutes fair and effective representation differ, and constituents can make very different kinds of demands on their representatives. Members of Congress must consider these diverse views and demands as they represent their district. I. How does Congress represent the United States as a whole and in what ways is it not representative? The framers of the Constitution provided for a bicameral legislature with House and Senate to serve different constituencies. The Senate—chosen by the state legislatures and serving six- year terms—were to represent the elite members of society. The House—elected by the voters in congressional districts and serving two-year terms—were to represent the people or well organized local interests. Institutional rules and procedures make the Senate the more deliberative of the two chambers. There are two circumstances under which one person reasonably might be trusted to speak for another—sociological representation and agency representation. The Congress does not reflect the social composition of the United States—therefore, we must rely on agency representation to ensure that members of Congress will speak for the individuals that they represent. Constituent interests are given priority by the party if a party-
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This note was uploaded on 10/26/2009 for the course POLISCI 50830 taught by Professor Stevens during the Spring '09 term at MATC Madison.

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Congress - Congress Representing the American People...

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