Govt. topics 10-13

Govt. topics 10-13 - TOPIC 10: CONGRESS CHP INTRODUCTION:...

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TOPIC 10: CONGRESS [ CHP . 12] INTRODUCTION: A. Congress – both a representative institution & a policy making institution B. The Promise of Congress 1. To represent the needs and interests of ordinary people 2. To translate those interests into laws that determine who gets what I. Overview of how congress works A. Is the operation of congress governed by majority rule? The legislative process is best described as one governed by minorities consent (minority consent is the group of people less than 50+1%, at each “hurtle” a # of minorities makes a decision about whether the bill goes to the next level) 1. Fragmented power 2. Multiple decision points B. The major Hurtles in the Legislative Process 1. Introduction and committee assignment 2. Standing Committee Action (or Inaction) [sometimes several committee have one huge bill (high up on the majority party’s agenda)] a. Most important point determining the fate of legislation (if the committee likes the bill, there is a high likelihood its gunna pass, otherwise nothing happens because no body looks at it [most of the time this is what happens – nothing!]) b. More important in the House than in the Senate (house are much more powerful and influential in determining the fate of the legislation because (1) there are 435 members in house vs. only 100 in the senate; (2) on average, house committees have fewer assignments (2 is the average for a house member; 3 is the average # for senators; therefore the house members have more time to devote) c. Committee Structure d. Assignment to standing committees e. Inaction most common “response” f. Some get attention: Hearings and mark-up (“take this section out, mark this out, fix this, re-write that. .”) *IF it gets to the mark up stage, there is a good chance its gunna get passed. If it doesn’t, then it probably focuses on a problem that doesn’t have a LARGE amount of political support, has to be an issue that has majority support from pple for it to pass
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g. Discharge petition (House only) If they get 218 (majority) votes, then a bill can be pulled out a committee (discharged); this rarely works. Tiny amounts [couple dozen out of thousands] have ever made it passed this stage, and an even tinier percentage that made it to laws past this stage h. Sub-committees of standing committees 3. Committee (and sub-committee) Chairs a. b. The practice was to appoint the member of the majority party with the longest continuous service on the  committee Most Desirable committees : Appropriation Committee on Energy & Commerce Rules Ways & Means When they transfer, it takes about 3 re-elections in congress before seniority allows you to be the longest member before you can move up to a new one that is more desirable c. Seniority no longer the exclusive criteria in the House d. Other criteria: competence, party loyalty, and a record of raising campaign money to help fellow Republicans e. Senate follows seniority 4. House Rules Committee – Special standing committee
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Govt. topics 10-13 - TOPIC 10: CONGRESS CHP INTRODUCTION:...

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