Ch. 5 notes

Ch. 5, section 1
Role of Congress
Essential Questions
• What influences how members of Congress
• What purpose do congressional investigations
• Why is it important for members of Congress
to serve their constituents?
Influences on the voting decisions of
members of Congress:
personal beliefs
constituents’ interests
interest groups’ concerns
political party loyalty
Purpose of congressional
• to examine the performance and operations
of government agencies
• to look into scandals and abuses in federal
Reasons members of Congress should
serve their constituents:
• to detect changes in constituents’ attitudes or
problems with federal programs
• to represent their constituents’ interests
Ch. 5, Section 2 Houses and Members
of Congress
Essential Questions:
• How do the houses of Congress differ in their
structure and membership?
• How are congressional districts drawn?
• What is the typical profile of a U.S.
Differences in the structure and
membership of Congress:
• House of Representatives
- 435 members
- two-year term
- representation determined by population
- members required to be at least 25 years
old, U.S. citizens for at least seven years, and
legal residents of the states they represent
• 100 members, or two members from each
• six-year term
• members required to be at least 30 years old,
U.S. citizens for at least nine years, and legal
residents of the states they represent
Houses and Members of Congress
• Congressional districts are drawn according to
the population distribution as indicated by
each official census every 10 years
Typical profile of U.S.
• has at least a college degree
• is a white male over 40 years old
Section 3 Powers of Congress
• Essential Questions
- To what main areas of governing do
Congress’s expressed powers apply?
- What special powers does Congress hold?
- What are the implied powers of Congress?
- What constitutional limits exist on
congressional powers?
Congress’s expressed powers:
government finance
regulation of commerce
national defense
law enforcement
national sovereignty
Congress’s special powers:
• impeach federal officers
• approve treaties and presidential
• decide elections under certain circumstances
Congress’s implied powers:
• As provided by the Elastic Clause, Congress
can expand its expressed powers in order to
respond to situations unforeseen by the
framers of the Constitution
Limits on congressional powers:
• judicial review
• the Tenth Amendment
• Article 1, section 9 of the Constitution
Chapter Wrap-up
1. What role do constituents, interest groups,
and political parties play in the policies made
by Congress?
2. What are Congress’s three main roles?
3. How are congressional districts for the House
of Representatives determined?
Chapter Wrap-up cont.
4. What qualifications does the Constitution set
for senators and representatives?
5. What types of powers does Congress hold?
6. What powers are denied to Congress by the
• The Constitution establishes few qualifications
for members of Congress. Should there be
additional qualifications? Write a paragraph
that supports your opinion on this issue

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