LOWISHX-Chapter%205%20Congress

LOWISHX-Chapter%205%20Congress - AMERICAN GOVERNMENT, Brief...

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AMERICAN GOVERNMENT, Brief 10th Edition by Theodore J. Lowi, Benjamin Ginsberg, and Kenneth A. Shepsle Chapter 5 Congress: The First Branch
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Congress: Functions and Goals The United States Congress is the “first branch” of government under Article I of our Constitution and is also among the world’s most important representative bodies.
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I. Representation Each member’s primary responsibility is to the district, to his or her constituency . Representatives act as both delegates and trustees . Frequent competitive elections constitute an important means by which constituents hold their representatives accountable.
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House and Senate: Differences in Representation The House 435 members 2-year term Membership per state varies by population Tend to have localized, narrow constituencies The Senate 100 Senators 6-year term States represented equally (2 Senators) Have broader, more diverse constituencies
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The Electoral System Three factors related to the U.S. electoral system affect who gets into office: 1. Who decides to run for office 2. Incumbency advantage 3. Gerrymandering : the way congressional districts are drawn
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Competitive Advantages -Name recognition -Fundraising advantages -More media coverage Advantages of Office -Free mailing to constituents -Providing casework -Bringing legislative projects to the district Congressional incumbents in both the House and Senate enjoy distinct advantages in elections.
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House Candidates' Off-Year (2005) Fundraising by Party and Status 0 100,000 200,000 300,000 400,000 500,000 600,000 700,000 Democratic Incumbents Republican Incumbents Democratic Challengers Republican Challengers Democrats in Open Seats Republicans in Open Seats Category Average Amounts
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By raising large amounts of “early money,” Senators and House Members can scare off strong challengers who might unseat them.
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The Organization of Congress Party Leadership and Organization House : Every two years at the beginning of a new Congress, the members of each party gather to elect House leaders, including the Speaker of the House , majority leader, minority leader, and whips . Representatives seek committee assignments that
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LOWISHX-Chapter%205%20Congress - AMERICAN GOVERNMENT, Brief...

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