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What is the current split in the Senate?

53-47 Republican


Which of the Cabinet and EXOP are mentioned in the Constitution?



Harry Truman kept a famous sign on his desk. What does it say and why is this example useful?

"The buck stops here." Useful to show his view of the (possibly theoretical) power of the president.


How did Clinton's adviser Paul Begala describe Executive Orders?

"Stroke of the pen. Law of the land. Kinda cool."


According to whom is the vice-presidency "not worth a bucket of warm spit"?

Jack Garner (VP to FDR)


How did Jack Watson, Chief of Staff to Jimmy Carter, describe the role, and what did he mean?

"Javelin catcher"; he meant that it's the CoS's job to protect the president from political dangers.


The relationship between Veterans for America, the Senate Defense Committee and Congress could be described as:

An iron triangle.


Name three key EXOP roles.

Chief of Staff, National Security Adviser, Press Secretary


According to Daniel Moynihan, who served in the Nixon White House, you should "Never underestimate" what, and what did he mean?

"the power of proximity." He meant that being physically close to the seat of power is vital, which gives senior EXOP members more influence than cabinet members.


Give an example involving the Transportation Secretary which shows Cabinet/EXOP rivalries.

Nixon's White House staff referred to him as "the bus driver".


Schlesinger wrote of the imperial presidency. What did Neustadt prefer?

Power with persuasion.


What did Trump recognise in 2017 which showed his control over foreign policy?

Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.


According to Harry Truman, who makes foreign policy, and why is this a useful example?

"I do." Useful for powers of the president.


What was surprising about Obama's proposed military action against Syria in 2013?

He asked for Congress' approval, which these days is rarely sought before launching military action. (He didn't get it.)


How many members of Congress are there, and why is the number three fewer than the total of electors?

535 (435 House, 100 Senate). There are 538 electors because the District of Columbia has three electors but no representation in Congress.


List three concurrent powers of Congress.

Pass legislation; override veto; initiate constitutional amendments; declare war; confirm a newly appointed VP. (And do you know the exclusive powers of the House and Senate? If not, learn them.)


What majority is required to overturn a presidential veto?

2/3 in each house.


A veto is good, but what type of veto is best and why?

A pocket veto; because it's only available in the last ten days of Congress and kills a bill completely.


Why is "leaving a bill on his desk" not a veto, and why would a president do it?

Because after ten working does it becomes law anyway. It shows opposition to a bill in a less aggressive way than a veto or signing statement.


Who appoints House Select Committee chairs?

The Speaker


Who is a House or Senate committee's "ranking member"?

The most senior opposition figure.


If a committee puts a bill to one side, effectively killing it, it is said to be using what technique?



Prof William Riker described the House Rules Committee as:

A toll bridge attendant, who lets only his friends through.


Roughly how many bills are introduced each Congress, and what percentage become law?

14,000; 2-4%.


If a bill passes the House and Senate in different forms, and the differences cannot easily be reconciled, what is called?

A conference committee.


How many times was Obama's veto overriden?

Once, in 2015 when he vetoed a bill that would allow US citizens to sue the Saudi government for damage caused by 9/11.


"Nothing is more likely than that the enumeration of powers is defective." So said:

Thomas Jefferson


How did James Madison describe checks and balances?

Ambition counter-checking ambition


Who said, "A constitution is not meant to facilitate change. It is meant to impede change."

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia


Which Supreme Court case established that the court has the power of judicial review?

Marbury v Madison