Chapter 12: LEGISLATIVE BRANCH Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 12: LEGISLATIVE BRANCH Deck (99):

How many get elected every how many years ?

House- entire house elected every two years
Senate- 1/3 elected every two years


How long do they serve?

House- 2 terms
Senate-6 terms


Minimum age and citizenship and where they must live?

House- 25 yrs 7 yr a citizen and must live in the state where district is located

Senate- 30 yrs 9 yr a citizen and must live in the state elected to represent


When do the two houses meet?

They meet for terms of two years every beginning on January 3rd off of odd numbered years


How are the terms divided?

Each term is dived into two 1 year sessions


Who chooses leadership in the congress?
And current congress

Each house of congress chooses its own leadership and rules


When getting elected to the house what does the constitution guarantee?

It guarantees at least one representative for each state


When getting elected to the house how are members elected?

Members are elected from districts within each state * more people you have in your state the more districts you have


What is apportionment?

Distribution among the starts based on the population of each of the states



The redistribution of congressional seats after the census determines changes in population distribution


What is congressional districting?

The drawing by state legislatures of congressional districts for those states with more than 1 representative * as #'s grow your voice gets quieter



Draw congressional districts to favor a political party over another
* do whatever you can to get your party favored


What are two ways to gerrymander?

You either draw districts to separate oppositions *people work to the favor how their population is set up or some become minorities
or they put all the opposition into specific districts *pack and give some to get other ones


Gerrymandering rules

The districts have to be close to the same size and they have to be contiguous


Problems of gerrymandering

Created huge lawsuits - court cases
Made it clear
People get frustrated because some districts are longer [different mixture of people]


When getting elected to the senate what does the constitution guarantee?

The constitution guarantees that "no state without its consent shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the senate (article 5)


How were member chosen before the 17th amendment in 1913

Members were chosen by state legislatures


What is the incumbency advantage?

The tendency of those already in office to win reelection
And it is stronger for members in the house than in the senate


What are some incumbency advantages?

Name recognition
Credit claiming
Constituent casework
Visibility to constituent
Media exposure
Fundraising abilities
Campaign experience
Voting record


What is name recognize and credit claiming?

Name recognition advantage is when voters are more likely recognize the incumbent than the challenger and credit claiming is when the incumbent may have brought government projects and money into the state or district


What is constituents casework advantage?

The incumbent may have helped voters back home solve problems involving the bureaucracy or the government


What is visibility to constituent?

Office perks allow communication through media sources and franking ( policy that enables members of congress to send material through the mail by substituting their facsimile signature(frank) for postage

*cant have campaigning materials in letter


What is their media exposure advantage and fundraising abilities ?

Incumbents more likely to gain free publicity during a campaign through the media fundraising abilities is a HUGE PART they are able generate more campaign funds than challengers.


Campaign experience and voting record

Incumbents have been through campaigns and elections and know who to work the system
Voters can evaluate an incumbents performance based on their voting records
* people might vote if your consistent and like the way you stand on issues
Some people are flipfloppers and flip around


What has the Supreme court ruled about term limits?

Neither the states nor congress may impose term limits w/o a constitutional amendment


Where does the leadership go in congress?

Majority party in each house controls the leadership positions in congress


What is the Speaker of the house's role?

+Presiding officer behind vp
+And the most powerful member
+He assigns bills to committees~which bills go to which committees
+appoints members to committees
*gets lots of press


Role of majority leader in HOR?

+2nd in command
+serves as major assistant to speaker
+ helps plans the party's legislative program
+directs floor debates


Role of minority's leader in HOR?

+Spokesperson for minority party
+Organizes the opposition to the majority party


The WHIPS role in HOR?

+ pressures member to vote with the party
+helps floor leaders by directing party members
+informs members of impending votes
+keeps track of vote counts


Vice President role -SEN


Many not participate in debates
Vote is only there to break a tie



Senior member of majority party
Mostly ceremonial position


Majority party role for SEN

Most influential member of THE SENATE
spokesperson for the majority party of the entire senate


Minority role in SEN

Spokesperson for minority party
Organizes the opposition to the majority party



Pressures member to vote
Keeps track of vote counts
Direct party members
Inform members of impending votes


What are committees

*Most of the work of congress is accomplished through committees
+regularly hold hearings to investigate problems and oversee the executive branch
+they control congressional agenda and guide legislation


Why are committees good?

They permit congress to divide the work amongst members and allows for the study of legislation by specialists nod speeds up the legislation process* people usually want to be on the committee that makes most sense
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How many members of congress in house and senate?



Where does the leadership go to in congress?

Leadership goes to committee chair person s who are members of the majority party


What is the role of the committee chair people?

They set agendas assign members to subcommittees and decide wether the committee will hold public hearings and which witnesses to call

They manage floor debate of a bill when it's presented to the full House or Senate

Traditionally chosen based on seniority but reforms allow for selection based on merit


What does the percentage of each committees membership reflect?

It reflects the overall percentage of republicans and democrats in each house and members try to serve where they can best affect policy for their state or district or influence national public policy
ex. Tons of military bases want to be on armed forces committee
*get some press and some members don't get the committee they want


What are the types of committees?

Standing committees
select committees
Joint committees
Conference committees


What are standing committees?

Standing committees are permanent committees that deal with specific policy matters
Ex agriculture ☘
Energy 🌞
Veterans affair πŸ‘¨
*most effective in policy


What are select committees ?

Temporary committees appointed to a specific purpose
Most are formed to investigate a particular issue
Ex. Watergate πŸ’§
*beyond the capacity or Authority of a standing committee


What are joint committees?

They are made up of both congresses
It may be a select committee like(Iran-contra) or perform routine duties (library of Congress)


What is a conference committee ? And why was it created?

A temporary committee of members from both congress
It was created to resolve the difference in HOUSE and SENATE versions of a bill(legislations)


What are caucuses in congress?

Informal groups formed by members of congress who share a common purpose or set of goals ( congressional black caucus , Women's caucus)


What is a legislation?

Law which has been enacted by a legislature or other governing body or the process of making it
Law enacted by an assembly


What are joint committees? And what do they do?

Committees are made up of members of both houses of congress it can be a select committee or perform routine duties


What is a conference committee?

A temporary committee of members from both houses of congress
Created to resolve the differences in HOUSE & SENATE versions of a bill(legislations)- act or process of making or enacting laws


What are Caucuses in congress?

Informal groups formed by members of congress who share a common purpose or set of goals (congressional black caucus,women's caucus


Who does the congressional staff work for?

Personal staff work directly for members in DC and back in their home state/district


What does the committee staff do for members in congress?

Committee staff research problems and analyze information
*Congress people rely heavily on staffers
*staffers have a lot of power cuz sometimes they tell who to vote for and what not


What do support agencies do for members of dc?

They provide services to members (library of congress helps congressmen and sends them research they need ) (government printing offices)


What is your job as a congress member?

They have to be
policy maker
And they are either a delegate or a trustee
Constituent servant
Committee member
Politician and party member


What is the policy maker role and what do they do?

It is the Chief role and it passes laws and makes public policies through the passage of legislation
*help pass legislation
*some ppl think congress passes to many laws


What is there job as a representative?

Represents your constituents



Members vote based on wishes of constituents

*how you view yourself as a member in congress
*thats how most people get votes



Listens to constituents but votes their own opinions
*how you view yourself as a member in congress
*you elected me because you don't know what's going on so I will make the final decision on what's best for you


Constituent servant role of congress member

Helps ppl in there district and states with problems
* help old ladies about their social security check


What does the congress member do in committees?

They serve on committees in either house or senate to help handle bills and business

*independents usually have to choose whichever party in a caucus they want to go with

*pressure to support your party
*everybody in the party has to support the bill to send it off to senate


What does the politician and party members do?

They work to support their political party platform and get reelected
* they have to have a strategy


What are the privileges of members of congress?

Allowances - to maintain offices in their home district or state

Travel allowances- fly from dc back to home state
40 paid trips a year -tax payer dollars

Franking privileges-sends free Mail to constituents
*cant campaign or send vote for me
Immunity from arrest-during congress business
*speeding when driving
Immunity from libel or slander suits for speech/debate in congress


What are the legislative powers?

Expressed powers
Implied powers
Limitations on powers


What are the legislative :expressed implied and limited power for congress ?

Expressed powers are specifically granted to congress
*found in article 1 section 8 of constitution
Implied powers are necessary and proper
Their limitations on powers by imposing boundaries through article 1 section 9 and the tenth amendment .


Article 1 section 8

-The power to lay & collect taxes ,and tariffs(imported goods tax)
-regulate foreign commerce and inter state commerce
-coin money
-post office and roads
-declare war
-raise and support armies
-provide and maintain navy
-make gov rules
-make all laws that are necessary and proper


Article 1 section 9

No ex post facto law
No head tax(charged to each individual in the population)
No tax on exports


Tenth amendment

State rights
Any not given to federal government are assumed belonging to the state or directly to the people


What are the non legislative powers of congress?

Electoral powers
Amendment powers
Executive power of senate
Investigative/oversight powers


What are the electoral powers?

When there is no majority vote in the electoral college for the president


What are the amendment powers?

Allow proposal of amendments by a 2/3 vote of each house for ratification (accepting)
* ERA equal rights for women and men amendment
*not allowed to burn the flag


Impeachment powers?

Allows the HOUSE to bring charges against any civil officer
Cases are tried in the senate,


Executive powers of senate

Allows them to share appointment(majority)and treaty making (2/3 ) with the executive branch*either gonna approve you or deny you

*constitution gives the senate the power to approve (by 2/3 vote) treaties made by executive branch


Investigative/oversight powers

Reviewing of policies and programs of the executive branch
*Checks to see why things aren't being done


How does a bill become a law?

-Both in house and senate a bill is introduced numbered and assigned
-Bill may be assigned to a subcommittee by speaker of house for further study
-Then it's returned to committee where it becomes approved or rejected


Continuing on how it becomes a law in the house?

In the house , the rules committee sets the terms of debate for the bill
then it gets debated
Then a vote is taken on weather it's passed or not
Then it gets passed to the senate


Continuing on how it becomes a law in the senate

Senate doesn't have rules committee

the bill is debated
Then a vote is taken
When passed in senate Then passed to HOUSE


What does the conference committee do for the bill after both houses of congress approve it ?

Resolved differences between H & S versions of a bill and they can't have any new material


What happens after the the conference committee resolves the bill?

The HOE votes on compromised version of bill
The SIN votes on compromised version of bill


The rules committee

Most powerful of HOE

Determine how bills get passed
How debates goes to the floor
Every bill goes to the rules committee
They don't deal with new legislation


Presidential action when making a bill a law

President may sign the bill ,veto(reject) the bill, allow the bill to become law w/o signing or pocket veto the bill
Vetoed bills are returned to congress where they must be overridden



Proposed law presented to parliament for discussion


Pocket veto

Allows presidents to exercise the power to veto by taking no action


What Does the Unanimous consent agreement allow and what is it?

It is only in the SUN
Allows a bill to move through the senate w/o debate or w/ a time limit on the debate

It is an unanimous(full agreement)consent request setting terms for the consideration of a specified bill or other measure. Usually proposed by majority leader or floor manager of the measure and reflects negotiations among senators interested in the measure


What are legislative Tactics?

Strategies and devices used by congress and others in an attempt to block legislation or to get legislation passed


What are some legislative tactics?

Committee system
Pork barrel legislation
Log Rolling
Conference committees
Legislative veto


Legislative tactic - caucus

may form voting blocks (group of voters have a specific common concern they tend to dominate their voting patterns


Legislative tactic - committee system

Plays a major role in the passage of legislation
Bills can die in committee


Legislative tactic-filibuster

-Unlimited debate in an attempt to stall action on a bill
-only possible in the Senate because of their loose restrictions on debate


Legislative tactic-cloture requirements

Method where senate limits a filibuster
~involves a petition to end debate and requires vote of at least 60 senators


Legislative Tactic -porky barrel legislation

Attempt to provide funds and projects for a members home state or district


Legislative tactic- log rolling

An attempt by members to gain the support of other members by promising them support


Legislative tactic-riders

~Additions to legislation which generally have no connection to that legislation-- would not pass on its own merit
~When it has lots of riders it become a Christmas tree bill


Christmas tree bill

Bill that attracts many unrelated floor amendments


Legislative tactic-amendments

Additions or changes to legislation that deal specifically to that piece of legislation


Legislative tactic-lobbying

Trying to influence members of congress to support or reject legislation


Legislative tactic-Conference committees

May affect the wording and therefore the final intent of the legislation (big impact on legislation)


Legislative tactic-legislative veto

Rejection of a presidential or executive branch action by a vote of one or both houses of congress
~used mostly between 1932 & 1980 this declared
Was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1983 {immigration and naturalization service vs. chadha}


Immigration and naturalization service vs chadha

States that congress can't take any actions having he force of law unless the president agrees