Congress' Responsibility to Vote

Congress' Responsibility to Vote - One of the most...

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One of the most important responsibilities a Member of Congress has is to vote. Members are called upon hundreds of times a year to vote yes or no on a many bills, motions, and amendments. Members really do show up to vote. The questions Members are asked to vote on include all the important issues we care about — gun control, school safety, abortion rights, education assistance, environmental programs, social security reform, Medicare costs, trade — and many more. Before a major vote, Members are receive opinions months, weeks, and sometimes even minutes ahead of time. Their offices receive bags full of letters, e-mails, faxes, and phone calls from their constituents, with conflicting opinions. Expert witnesses testify before congressional hearings. Special interest groups send in background material. Reports and studies come from Congressional agencies. Other members of Congress send letters with recommendations. The President’s administration gives its opinion. How does a Member get through all this and decide? Some people think they just vote the way special interest groups or party leaders tell them to. Others think Members vote only how they want to, no matter what pressure is put on them. The answer is really somewhere in between. They study, think and analyze all the important decisions of how to vote. Members have many — including the President, the party leadership, constituents, colleagues, special interest groups, the media, and political contributors. Here’s what they do: Information Gathering Members learn about the arguments on the opposing sides of public policy issues. They get them from constitutional or legal analyses, statistics or data, moral or ethical reasons, public policy arguments, or all of these. They also look at things like cost to the
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