Congress - 5/26/2010 Bicameralism Congressisbicameral.

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5/26/2010 1 Bicameralism y Congress is bicameral. y Why do we want to have a bicameral legislature? It’s Part of the Plan against “Majority Faction” y House—Each state has a number of seats proportional to its population y Senate—Each state has two seats, regardless of population y Before a bill can become a law, it must be passed by EACH chamber, before going to the President to be signed or vetoed. y SO: No bill can pass without compromise between institutions reflecting different parts of society (the more urban and more rural parts) Congressional Elections y Senate—One third elected every two years to six year terms (appointed by state legislatures until 17 th Amendmen 1917 Amendment—1917) y House of Representatives—Entire House elected every two years Party Composition of Congress 109 th Congress (elected in 2004) 110 th Congress (elected in 2006) 111 th Congress (elected in 2008) 111 th Congress since Jan. 2010 election of Scott Brown) SENATE SENATE SENATE SENATE 55 Republicans 44 Democrats 1 independent HOUSE 232 Republicans 201 Democrats 1 independent 49 Republicans 49 Democrats 2 independents HOUSE 233 Democrats 200 Republicans 58 Democrats 40 Republicans 2 Independents HOUSE 254 Democrats 178 Republicans 57 Democrats 41 Republicans 2 independents HOUSE 254 Democrats 178 Republicans
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5/26/2010 2 Roles of Congress BOTH CHAMBERS: y Lawmaking y Oversight of the Executive Branch y Voting on Proposed Constitutional amendments (by 2/3 majority) y Overriding presidential vetoes (by 2/3 majority) THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ALONE: y All bills having to do with raising revenue must start in the House y Impeachment Roles of Congress y THE SENATE ALONE: y Approval of treaties signed by the President (by 2/3 majority) y Confirmation of Presidential nominees to the judiciary, ambassadorships, cabinet positions and other high level executive department positions y Removal of the President or other officials (by 2/3 majority) The Senate is the “Upper Chamber” y The Senate has special powers, longer terms, more prominent individuals (because they have to be elected by the people of an entire state). Originally, they were to be appointed rather than elected. y The Founding Fathers thought the Senate would be the more mature body, able to stop irresponsible legislation passed by the people’s direct representatives in the House. The Senate is the Upper House y George Washington (explaining the Senate to Thomas Jefferson): "we pour legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it.“ y Thus the old saying: The Senate is the saucer that cools the tea.
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5/26/2010 3 The Lawmaking Process in the House of Representatives The Lawmaking Process in the House—first, a cast of characters y Political Party organizations in the House: y The Party Caucuses: ‐‐ House Democratic Caucus ‐‐ House Republican Conference y Groups consisting of all the Democrats and all the Republicans in the House, who meet away from the House chamber to discuss policy priorities, strategize, etc.
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Congress - 5/26/2010 Bicameralism Congressisbicameral.

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