Tell me about commerce power?
- The Constution gives congress the authority to regulate commerce.
- Supreme Court decisions have expanded this power.
- The courts todcay consistently interpret the term commerce to mean nearly all activities concerned with the production, buying, selling, and transporting of goods. For example, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbidding racial discrimination in public accommodations such as hotels and restaurants. In upholding this law the Supreme Court reasoned: (a) racial discrimination by innkeepers and restaurant owners makes it diffficult for the people discriminated agaist to travel and thus restricts the follow of interstate commerce; (b) Congress has the power to regulate commerce; (c) therefore, Congress may pass laws against racial discrimination.
the purpose of committees.
- The purposes are (1) they allow congress to divide their work among many small groups.
- (2) committees select few bills for further consideration. (3) committees help the public about key problems facing the nation.
What jobs do the committees do?
(1) The standing committees oversee bills that deal with certain kinds of issues. They continue from one Congress to the next. The House and Senate each create their own standing committees and control their areas of jurisdiction, occasionally adding or eliminating a standing committee when necessary.
Sub committees Nearly all sanding committees specializes in a subcategory of its standing committee's responsibilties. Subcommittees, like standing committees, usually continue from one Congress to the next, although the majority party may make changes.
(2) Select Committees, study one specific isssue and report their findings to the House or Senate. These issues can include (1) matters of public concern (2) overlook problems (3) problems of interest groups.
(3) Joint committees, They are made of House and the Senate and they are temporary or permanant members of both political parties of which handle routine matters. They do not have authority to handle bills or propose legislation of Congress.
(4) Conference committees, a temporary committee set up when the House and Senate have passed different versions of the same bill. Memebers of the conference committee, called conferees, usually come from the House and the Senate Standing committees that handle the bill in question. The job of the Conference committee is to resolve the two differences of the bill.
What different type of committees are there?
(1) Standing committee (2) Joint committee (3) Select committee (4) Conference committee
How are Amendments Proposed?
(1) Amendment Proposed by: A two-third vote of both houses of congress (or) Which has never been used a constitution convention which has been called by congress on petition of two-thirds of the 50 states. (2) Amendment Ratified by: Three-forths of the 50 state legislatures (or) which has only been used for the 21st amendment Three-fourths of special constitutional conventions called by the 50 states. New Ammendment.
Examples and Definitions.
The president can also reject a bill with a veto. In a veto the president refuses to sign the bill and returns it to the house of Congress in which it originated, along with reasons for the veto. The president may also kill a bill passed during the last 10 days Congress is in session by refusing to act on it. This is a pocket veto.
Tell me about Congressional Sessions?
Congressional Sessions: Each term of the Congress starts January 3rd on odd numbered years and are elected on even number years. Each term of Congress is divided into two sessions. They last for one year each including breaks, holidays and vacations until the 20th ammendment was ratified in 1933. The Congressional Session didn't end until March, which left a four month delay between the election and formal start for new members. Congress stays in session until members vote to adjorn. Neither House or Senate may adjorn for more than 3 days without formal approval of the House and Senate. They can be called back by the president for special sessions.
Tell me about the Membership of Congress?
Five Hundred and Thirty-Five members are the largest body of Congress. 100 Senators and The number representives is 435. In addition, there are 4 delegates in the House--1 each from the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa and the Virgin Islands-1 resident commissioner from Puerto Rico, none can vote, but, may attend sessions, introduce bills, speak in debates and vote within committees. The House seats must be divided among states as based by population. Each state is intitled to one no matter how small the population is.
Tell me about Incumbents.
The members are already in office and have won reelection. The reasons for their success is (1) It is easier for them to raise funds. (2) many districts have been gerrymandered. (3) They are better known to voters. (4) they use their position to help solve voters problems. (5) voters believe incumbents best represent their veiws.
How House Bills are scheduled
All laws start as bills. A proposed law is called a bill until both houses of Congress pass it and the president signs it. To introduce a bill in the House a representitive drops the bill into a hopper. A hopper is a box near the front of the chamber. After the bill is introduced the speaker sends it to the appropriate committee for study, reveiw and discussion. Only do 10 or 20% go to the full house for a vote.
Bills that survive the committee process are put on the house calendars (list the bills that are put up for consideration) The union calendar list bills dealing with money issues. Most other public bills are put on house calendar. Private calendar list bills dealing w/individual, w/people and places. Any bill the house gives unanamous consent to debate out of regular order is listed on consent calendar. The discharge calendar is used for buititions to sischarge a bill from a committee.
A great many factors influence a lawmaker's decisions. One factor is the the lawmaker's personality. Some lawmakers take more risks than others. Sometimes the very nature of the issue determines the factors that will influencelawmakers the most. they always have their own opinions and beliefs depending on where they came from.
Congressional staff members also influence lawmakers' decisions in congress.(1) by controlling the info. on which lawmakers base their decisions. (2) by setting the agenda for individual lawmakers and for congressional committees that may favora certain point of view.
Most lawmakers agree that the most important influences on their decision making are the concerns of voters back home, their own political parties, the president, and special-interest groups.
The Constitution grants Congress the power to remove any federal official from office. The House of Reps has exclusive power over impeachment., a formal accusation of misconduct in office. If a majority of the House votes to impeach a public official, the Senate conducts the trial. A two-thirds vote of those Senators present is required for a conviction and removal. When the impeachment procceedings involve a president, the Chief Justice of the United States presides.
What is the role of Congressional staff?
To do important work. Llawmakers are helped; the staff helps them get elected.
What are the two types of staff?
(1)personal staff- work directly for individual senetos and representatives.
(2)committees staff- work for many house and senate committees.
What is legislative assisstance?
They make certain that lawmakers are informed of many bills. They assist committee meetings, write speeches, and attend meetings for lawmakers.
Tell me about the committee staff.
They have myriads of amount of staff members.
Senior minority party members of the committee are in charge of these duties:
(1) draft bills
(2) study issues
(3) collect info
(4) plan committee meetings
(5) prepare committee reports.
What are the four important support agencies?
(1) Library of Congress
(2) Congress Budget office
(3) General accounting office
(4) Government Printing Office
What is the Library of Congress?
Created in the 1800s it is the largest library in the world with over 100,000,000 items. The copyright office(in the library) receivs 2 free copies of most published work. It also are equipped with a congressional research service-- used to research info on maters related to bills and congress.
What is the Congress Budget Office?
it was Est. in 1947 to coordinate budget making and study budget proposals. The proposals were set by presidents. Each year it counter balances the president's budget making organizations to to sudy economy trends.
What is the general accounting office?
It was set up in 1921. It is the watch dog over the spending of the funds that congres appropriates.
(1) It reviews financial management
(2) Collect gov. debts
(3) settle claims
(4) provide legal service.
What is the government printing office?
This is the largest multi-printing plant inthe world. They do printing for the federal government. They publish a daily record, speeches and testimony presented in Congress.