Ch.8 Module - -1Ch.8 - Congress We expect Congress to make...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
-1Ch.8 - Congress We expect Congress to make wise policy decisions in a democratic fashion. But what type of representation defines a “democratic” legislature? The founders struggled over the apportionment of the House and the Senate to try to balance opposing views of what a representative democracy should look like. When we argue today over how to improve congressional performance, we still must think about questions of representation. The policymaking cycle in Congress begins with issues reaching the congressional agenda. Once Congress is ready to fashion legislation, the work begins in committee. Policy is most closely scrutinized in committee, and most of the decisions over the substance of legislation are made there. The authority of the committee system promotes pluralism in Congress. The leaders in Congress can play an important role in building coalitions for legislation as it emerges from committee. Oversight can be thought of as both the final state of one legislative cycle and the beginning of another. It is the final stage in the sense that oversight activity is directed at finding out how well the legislation that was passed is working. At the same time, it provides crucial information to members of Congress to help them amend existing legislation; that is, oversight helps to start the cycle of legislating all over again. When legislation does reach the floor, what influences the way a member of Congress votes? This chapter examines various factors that can have influence, including political parties, the president, constituents, and interest groups. The end of the chapter turns once again to representation. Members of Congress are caught between the needs of their constituencies and what is best for the country as a whole. The classic question is posed: Should senators and representatives act as trustees or delegates? This debate is relevant to one of the larger themes of the book. Members of Congress who act as delegates help to promote pluralism in Congress. If we decide we want a more majoritarian Congress, we need a fundamental reform of our party system. I. The origins and powers of Congress A. Our Congress has two separate and powerful chambers. 1. The bicameral nature of Congress has its origins in the negotiations that shaped the U.S. Constitution. 2. Representation in the House is based on population. Representatives are elected for two- year terms. After the census is taken every ten years, House seats are reapportioned. 3. Each state has two senators. Senators serve six-year terms. B. The U.S. Constitution gives the House and Senate essentially similar legislative tasks. 1. Only the House has the power of impeachment. The Senate acts as a court to try impeachments. 2.
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 07/24/2010 for the course PS 001 taught by Professor Graham during the Summer '08 term at Los Angeles Southwest College.

Page1 / 4

Ch.8 Module - -1Ch.8 - Congress We expect Congress to make...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online