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The Legislative Branch

The Legislative Branch - The Legislative Branch Congress...

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The Legislative Branch: Congress OVERVIEW •Dual Nature of Congress –Representation –Legislation •Constitutional Foundation –Representation –Article 1 –Bicameralism –Elections •Styles, Organization, and Procedures –House vs. Senate –Party and Committee System; Leadership –How a Bill Becomes Law –Legislative Tactics Dual Nature of Congress (Congress – the institution) •Representation (serving in the House) Provide: –Accountability to constituencies, districts -House – representing a district within a state -Senator – represents the entire state -Representation is at the heart of congress -Elections are taken into account for accountability –Roles of representation -Constituency – all the people in a district or jurisdiction -Representation is accomplished through congress Why does representation matter? Most of us of how policies should be approached, etc. so voting in an election should be your priority •Legislation -Voting, drafting pieces of legislation –Lawmaking function -drafting legislation/being able to produce legislation –Earmarks, party accountability, credit-taking –Committees, expertise, experience Representation •“In republican government, the legislative authority dominates.” --James Madison •Fundamental function of legislature: representation
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•Theories of representation: –Sociological representation - A type of representation in which representatives have the same racial gender, ethnic, religious, or educational backgrounds as their constituents. It is based on the principle that if two individuals are similar in background, character, interests, and perspectives, then one could correctly represent the other’s views - How well the associate relates •Who runs for Congress? –Agency Representation - The type of representation in which a representative is held accountable to a constituency if he or she fails to represent that constituency properly - How well the associate is held accountable •Trustee vs. Delegate -Trustee – advocating that a representative/senator is elected because they should use their independent judgments in making decisions -Delegate – asserts that a Congressional member should make decisions on based on the will of his our hers constituent even if they disagree -Delegate theory is more realistic •Representation provided in Article 1 Comparing Legislative Bodies US House of Representatives Brit. House of Commons 2 yr. terms No more than 5 yrs. Elections every 2 yrs Discretion of gov’t No Executive Control Executive Control 2 Parties 9 Parties **The US Congress is an independently empowered Institution as opposed to the British Parliament **US Congress is politically powerful in policy-making process. UK has a parliamentary system of government House of Parliament – forms executive board (PRIME MINISTER and his cabinet) - propose legislation in parliament Constitutional Foundation: Article 1 •“Although the three branches supposedly are coequal, the legislature takes the lead in formulating the structure and the duties of the other two.”
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