CH 12, pp. 320-346 Congress in Action (Congress’ Inaction?) • Speaker of the House • 322 most important position in the Congress. – Presides over the House of Representatives – Head of the majority party in the House of Representatives • Chosen by the majority party members. – Third person in succession to replace the President President of the Senate • • • • • 323 Presides over the Senate The Vice President of the United States Not chosen by the majority party Not a Senator Has no vote except to break a tie Seniority rule • 326 the most important Congressional posts go to those Senators in office longest. • Traditional role • Best committees • Committee chairmanships Committees • Standing committee • 329 permanent panel to which all bills could be sent, researched, and discussed. • Select committee • 331 aka special committee • Set up for a specific purpose • Limited time Committees • Joint committee • 333 composed of members of both houses. • Consider many of the same issues that similar committees in each house consider. – Some believe that the committees in each house should be replaced by joint committees to speed up research and discussion. • Conference committee • 333 when each house passes a bill, but with differing provisions, a committee of members from both houses temporarily gets together to work out the differences. Bill • 334 A proposed law. • Presented in the House or the Senate • Or any legislature • Often started by the executive branch Let’s read the XXXBill and see how one is written…. Be patient….. What do you notice by the end of the bill? There is no mention of Air Traffic Control anywhere….. Resolutions • • • • Resolution 335 new rule or procedure for a house Amendment of an existing rule Does not require presidential approval Resolution • 335 Joint resolution • Has the power of a law • Usually for some specific event • Concurrent resolution • Passed in both House and Senate • Does not have the power of a law Rider • 335 unrelated matter or law added to a larger more popular bill. • Added to the popular bill because it is not likely to pass on its own. Discharge petition • 336 used to force a bill that is being stalled in committee onto the floor for a vote. • 30 days in committee • 7 days in the Rules Committee Quorum • 339 A majority of the total membership needed to – Allow the legislature to do business – make a vote legal • Filibuster • 343 an attempt to delay a Senate bill or kill it. • An individual or group of Senators can talk (control the floor) as long as they want, about anything they want, so long as one person remains standing. End Day 1 Cloture 2/8 • • • • • • 344 Senate rule prohibiting debate Aka Rule XXII a petition is signed by at least 16 Senators Vote taken two days after Must be passed by 60 Senators. If passed, no more than 30 hours of floor time may be spent on the measure. Veto • 346 Presidential power to refuse a bill passed by both houses of Congress • Refuses to sign • Pocket veto • 346 a bill passed by Congress within 10 days of adjournment can be ignored by the President and dies. Hwk Concepts, Class Work, to Know • What are some duties of the party whips? • Assist the floor leaders • Serve as liaisons between the party’s leadership and its members • What is the purpose of a party caucus? • Selects the floor leaders and deals with other matters of party organization • Why are standing committees called “subjectmatter” committees? – They deal only with bills that concern a particular government subject • How do joint committees differ from conference committees? – Joint committees are either select or standing committees – Conference committees are temporary and deal only with resolving differences between the House and Senate regarding a bill before it passes. • Why is cloture hard to achieve? • It requires a three-fifths vote of the full Senate • Most Senators want to reserve the use of the filibuster which can be useful and is traditional. • What is the effect of the President’s veto and how can Congress respond? • A bill is returned to the house it originated, does not become law. • Congress may respond by passing the bill again, overriding the President’s veto with a two-thirds vote of the members in each house. • Why do you think no equivalent for the filibuster exists in the House of Representatives? • The filibuster is a tool to stop long debates that can take place in the Senate. • The House has debate time limits because it has so many members. • Filibuster would ruin the House’ time-limit rules, – The House could not effectively function Why is there disagreement about the value of the seniority rule? • Those in favor of the seniority rule: • argue that it ensures experienced leadership, • is easy to apply, • and cuts down on power struggles. • Those opposed to the seniority rule: • argue that it ignores ability, • discourages younger members, • and insulates leadership from public opinion. • Images, 321, question • Because the various officers have already been chosen by conference beforehand • Images, 322, question • That most speeches are scripted and rehearsed—even down to seemingly “spontaneous” displays of emotion. 12 • Images, 323, question • The Speaker has a more powerful role as elected presiding officer of the House and leader of the majority party. • Images, 324, question • The party in power always holds the post of president pro tempore as well as majority floor leader and majority whip 6 Images, 325, questions • The Democratic Party • The Republican Party 6 Images, 326, questions • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Republicans: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia • • • • • • • • • • • Democrats: Arkansas, California, Hawai’i, Maryland, Massachusetts, New jersey, New York, North Dakota, Washington, West Virginia 12 • • • • • Images, 330, question Personal background Importance or influence of the committee Images, 331, question That such posts are often awarded to older, experienced members of the majority party Images, 332, question 12 • The vast majority of committee chairs are above sixty years old Government Tracker • Web resource: Research Congress 6 Images, 335, question • Unlike joint resolutions, concurrent resolutions • do not have the force of law and are not signed by the President • are statements of a US position 6 Images, 337, question • The International Relations committee 6 • Images, 338, question • That “debate” consists of politicians expounding their own opinions without listening to those of others. FACE THE ISSUES, 341, questions • to prevent one branch from gaining too much power; – avoid “hasty and ill-considered” governmental actions. • people may believe that leaders behave more prudently under divided government, when opponents are watching them – that drastic changes are usually avoided EW • Images, 343, question • It prevents a bill from reaching the floor for consideration • Images, 344, question • In committee, after being introduced on the floor 12 Images, 345, question • In the House, bills are sent to the Rules Committee after the full committee revises them • In the Senate, bills proceed directly from the full committee to floor action. 12 Images, 349, question • 28 • legislation that is not likely to be received well as that represented by the flowers and gift • the use of riders • 29 answers will vary, but should reflect understanding of the lawmaking process.