CH 10 The Congress pp. 262-284 Terms • Term: • 264 Congressional term is two years, • The 113th Congress. • Session: • 264 Time in which Congress meets and conducts business The Capitol Building • location Prorogue • 265 the president’s power to end a congressional session. – No president has used this power. Special session • 265 Power of the president to call one or both houses of Congress to meet. • Usually for an emergency The House of Representatives • Reapportion • 267 Redistribution of the seats in the House after the ten-year census. • This will be starting soon as 2010 was the census year. The Senate • Continuous body • 277 The Senate is so called because only 1/3 of its seats are up for election at any time. • The entire house is up for election every two years. Constituency • 277 the people and interests a senator represents • Senators represent an entire state • Representatives must only serve the people and interests of their PART of the state. The Job • Trustee • 281 elected official who judges and votes on an issue for its “merits”, not by party lines. • Politico • 281 combines partisan and trustee roles as needed, depending on the political climate. Oversight function • 281 Many congressional committees have the responsibility and power to check on various agencies of the executive branch. • Effectiveness • Acting in line with US policy set by Congress. Hwk Concepts, Class Work, to Know Concepts • Why is the Constitution's Speech and Debate Clause important? • The clause grants to senators and representatives immunity from arrest for any noncriminal offense. • This allows Congress to debate matters freely, without fear of suits for libel or slander. • • • • How long does a term in Congress last? Two years When does Congress adjourn? At any time, but both houses must agree Face the Issues 266. questions • free market side: • federal government is responsible for higher spending on Medicare • liberal side: • drug manufacturers and medical service providers are to blame for higher spending because they have inflated prices • How are the seats in the House of Representatives apportioned? • Based on state populations Qualifications: The House • What are the formal qualifications to be a member of the House of Representatives? – At least 25 – Citizen for at least 7 years – Must inhabit state that elects him/her • Informal qualifications? (goes for any elected official) – – – – – party identification Name familiarity Gender Ethnic characteristics Political experience • How is a Senator’s constituency different from a representative’s constituency? • Senator represents the entire state’s population • Why do most senators get more public attention than their colleagues in the House of Representatives? • Far fewer senators • More visible in the media What are the formal qualifications to be a member of the Senate? • At least 30 • Citizen for at least 9 years • Must inhabit the state in which he/she is elected. What are some privileges afforded members of Congress? • • • • • • • • Special tax deduction Retirement plan Health care plan Social security Offices in DC and home state Travel allowances Franking privilege May set their pay through legislation Why did the Framers of the Constitution establish a bicameral Congress? • First, they were familiar with the bicameral British Parliament. • Second, a bicameral structure resolved conflicts between the Virginia and New Jersey plans. – House: favors states with large populations – Senate: favors states with small populations • Third, both houses check and balance each other within the legislative branch itself. EW • Images • p. 263 • it shows that each state is an equal partner in the union. EW • Images • p. 268 question • most of the states that gained seats were located in the south and southwest, indicating regional population shifts. EW • Images • p. 269 question • 1974 and 1994 • Images, p. 270 question • Neither party would want to lose seats in Congress as a result of the combining of districts. EW • Images, • p. 272, question • the House is too big to debate all bills on the floor of the House. White/Blue • Images, p. 280, question, • The House has a higher percentage of nonCaucasian members. • + why do you think that is? • House members represent smaller districts where non-Caucasian constituencies might have strong voting power White/Blue • Images, p. 283, question, • They resent the fact that their tax dollars are used to pay members of Congress more than the salary of most average Americans. • $34,000 – US Census Bureau, 2006: Personal income changes considerably over the life-time of the average American, from $28,000 at age 25 to about $42,000 at the age of 65.