CH 10

CH 10
The Congress
pp. 262-284
• Term:
• 264 Congressional term is two years,
• The 113th Congress.
• Session:
• 264 Time in which Congress meets and
conducts business
The Capitol Building
• location
• 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
• 277 the people and interests a senator
• 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
• 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
Ethnic characteristics
Political experience
• How is a Senator’s constituency different from
a representative’s constituency?
• Senator represents the entire state’s
• Why do most senators get more public
attention than their colleagues in the House of
• 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
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
• 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.
• Images
• p. 263
• it shows that each state is an equal partner in
the union.
• Images
• p. 268 question
• most of the states that gained seats were
located in the south and southwest, indicating
regional population shifts.
• 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
• Images,
• p. 272, question
• the House is too big to debate all bills on the
floor of the House.
• 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
• 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.