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Nov. 1 - November 1 2010 Congress 1 What is the basic role...

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November 1, 2010 Congress 1. What is the basic role in government? a. Lay and collect taxes a.i. Took Constitutional amendment to get individuals personally taxed, the constitution was changed from a general ability to tax items to tax individuals b. Borrow money b.i. Makes okay for US to go into debt c. Regulate commerce c.i. Commerce cause—regulate commerce between various states d. Establish rules of naturalization d.i. How does one become a citizen e. Coin money f. Establish post offices and post roads f.i. Institution responsible for building infrastructure g. Confer patents g.i. Registration of idea or product which is important to modern economy so people will not steal ideas h. Constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court i. Provide army, navy, and militia j. “…to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution…all powers vested…in the Government of the United States” 2. How is Congress organized? a. Bicameral a.i. House—up for reelection every 2 years to keep representation current more a.i.1. 435 people in the house where 10 largest states have more than half of the number of delegates showing that more than half the population lives in the 11 larges states a.ii. Senate—reelection every 6 years a.ii.1. When establishing senate was not suppose to serve short cycle, they were supposed to be elected by state legislators 3. One person, one vote? a. Get one vote as a citizen—fundamental in conjunction to democracy b. Is representation equal? With majority in Senate for small states…not in those terms c. Not quite because if small state, still get 2 senators and do not have a principle of one person, one vote when it comes to the legislator d. House can overpower small states but some ways is an accurate representation of e. When Federal money is given who benefits? Small states because over represented and thus can extract more from government
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November 1, 2010 f. If took vote today and national vote 50/50 would the House be equally balanced half Dem. and half Rep.? No, one party would have a clear majority in Congress which would most likely be the Republicans because Democratic vote is more concentrated than Rep. so bias in the House…in Senate? No, Rep. would be stronger because they tend to control small states. So, for Dem. to win they must do better than 50 percent. g. By accidents of where people are the Senate and the House have a bias to it though one man, one vote is tried to be upheld 4. How does Congress operate? a. How does a bill become a law? a.i. Proposed in either Senate or House a.ii. Referred to appropriate committee (assignment controlled by majority party leadership is it is controversial) a.iii. Then referred to relevant subcommittee; MOST BILLS DIE HERE. Only about 10% of proposed legislation actually becomes law a.iv. House—goes to Rules Committee (except monetary bills – appropriations mostly and some from Way and Means….
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