Legislative Branch

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  • 1. Legislative Branch Chapter 5-7

2. Congress

  • A bicameral body
  • Meets in the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C
  • May goal is to introduce legislation

3. Congress

  • Each term lasts two years
  • The first term began March 4, 1789
  • Each session convenes on January 3 rdfollowing the November election

4. Congress

  • The President is the only one who can call special sessions
  • The last one was called by President Truman

5. House of Representatives

  • 435 members
    • Set in 1929
  • Each state must have at least one member
  • Membership is based on population
    • Is controlled by the census which is taken every ten years according to the 9 thamendment

6. House of Representatives

  • 1959/1960- went to 436 and 437 members because of Alaska and Hawaii.
  • In 1961, it went back to 435 members

7. House of Representatives

  • States with only one representative
    • Delaware
    • Montana
    • North Dakota
    • South Dakota
    • Vermont
    • Wyoming
    • Alaska

8. Gerrymandering

  • Introduced by Elbridge Gerry
  • The party in power draws up the districts and it usually works in the favor of the party in power
  • This is also done at the local and state levels

9. Qualificationsfor Representative

  • Must be at least 25 years old
  • U.S. citizen for at least seven years
  • Live in the stated elected from
  • They serve a 2 year term
  • Salary: $161,000 (probably more now)

10. Senate

  • 100 members (2 from each state)
  • Elected to a six year term
  • Qualifications
    • Must be 30 years old
    • Be a U.S. citizen for 9 years
    • Live in the state elected

11. Congress in Action

  • Opening Day
    • Begins at noon on January 3 rd ; there are no sworn members
    • Clerk of preceding house presides and calls roll
      • The clerk is a non-member

12. Congress in Action

  • Members answer roll call and choose the speaker of the house
    • Must be from the majority party
  • The speaker is sworn in by the Dean of the House (the one who has been there the longest)
  • The speaker then swears in the other members

13. Congress in Action

  • Open Day (cont.)
    • Republicans sit on the right
    • Democrats sit on the right
    • Independents may sit on either side
    • Members than adopt the house rules
      • They usually remain the same
    • Standing committees are then appointed

14. Congress in Action

  • Opening Day in the Senate
    • Only1/3 of the senate is new , so it takes less time to swear people in
    • Standing committees are then appointed

15. State of the Union Address

  • When congress notifies the President they are organized the President responds with what he hopes to accomplish while in office
  • Members of Congress with the exception of one member from each house will not attend, along with a cabinet member so that if there is a catastrophe, government may go on.

16. State of the Union Address

  • The President appears in person
  • There are many dignitaries invited by the president
  • The address includes issues on the economy, domestic issues, and foreign affairs

17. Officers of House and Senate

  • Speaker of the House
    • Usually has been in the house for a long period of time and highly respected
    • Nancy Pelosi (D)-CA currently holds the office
    • Sam Rayburn held the position for 17 years, 2 months, and 2 days
    • Last Republican to hold the position was Dennis Hastert (R)-IL

18. Speaker of the House

  • Duties of Speaker of the House
    • Maintain order in the House of Reps.
    • No person may speak unless recognized by the speaker

19. Officers of the House and Senate

  • Majority Leader- Steny Hoyer (D)
  • Minority Leader- John Boehner (R)
  • Majority Whip- James Clayburn (D)
  • Minority Whip- Roy Blunt (R)

20. Officers of the House and Senate

  • President of the Senate- Dick Cheney
    • May only vote to break ties
  • President Pro-Tempore- Robert Byrd
    • He replaced Ted Stevens, who replaced 100 year old Strom Thurmond (retired in 2003
  • Majority Leader Harry Reid
    • Previous to Reid, was Bill Frist, who replaced Trent Lott because of a racist statement given at a birthday party

21. Committees

  • Majority party controls all committees
  • Standing Committee
    • Permanent committees
    • 19 in the House has 10-62 members
    • 17 in the Senate has 9-28 members
  • Special Committee
    • Usually put into effect for investigations like Watergate, Un-American activities, Whitewater

22. Committees

  • Joint Committee
    • Members from both houses serve on committee
    • Many believe this is the best kind of committee
  • Conference Committee
    • Used to push bills through respective houses

23. Punishment in Congress

  • People from Congress who have been punished
    • 15 have been expelled from the Senate
      • 14 after the Civil War
    • The last person was David Durenberger who was denounced and not re-elected

24. Punishment in Congress

  • House personnel punished
    • Reprimanded Adam Clayton Powell, Jim Wright, Barney Frank, and Newt Gingrich
    • Michael Myers from Pennsylvania was expelled from the House in 1980
    • James Trafficant recently was convicted of fraud and tampering, but was not re-elected

25. Seniority Rule

  • Senior members get the best committees to serve on as well as a preference on seating and offices

26. Bills becoming Laws

  • Over 20,000 introduced each session
  • Only 10% become law
  • Anyone may write a bill, but only a congressperson may introduce one to the floor
  • Process for introducing a bill is by dropping it in the hopper
    • A box at the end of the clerks desk

27. Types of Bills

  • Public Bills
    • General applications like taxes, patents, etc
  • Private Bills
    • Apply to certain places or persons (MLK day)
  • Resolution
    • Either house for specific item (new money)

28. Types of Bills

  • Joint Resolution
    • Temporary measures
  • Concurrent Resolution
    • Usually deals with foreign policy
    • Present directive to allow President Bush to attack Iraq

29. Committee Status on Bills

  • Groups of Congress people go through the bills to decide which are important
    • They may pigeon-hole- kill the bill
    • Committee may take a junket (fact-finding trip) used to be used for vacations
    • Committee may discharge (blast bill out of committee)

30. Rules and Calendars

  • Calendar- is a schedule of when a bill will appear on the floor for consideration
  • All bill pending action are read by the committee and then read a second time if they reach the floor
  • Debating a bill is limited to one hour in the House

31. Voting on a Bill

  • Most common way (Yea or Nay) called a voice vote
  • Teller vote where each person walks betwe