Slide 1

Members of Congress
These are the people that are
representing us in our government.
Congress is responsible to who?
Congress is responsible to who?
 Us – The Voters
 If you could choose a person to
represent you, what would this
person be like?
A Typical Congressman/woman
White male
Late 50’s – 60’s
Married with children
Christian – 60% Protestant
Lawyer – 50%
Upper middle-class
 Do you think this description can truly
represent the interests of the people?
Functions of a Legislator
 Make laws
 Represent us – the voters
 Serve on Congressional Committees
 Oversight function: checks on executive
branch to make sure they are acting in
line with the law
 Serve us – the voters
 Politicians
How does a member of Congress
act as a Trustee?
 Each question they face must be
decided on based on its merits
 Independent judgment
 Vote as they see: not what we the
voter want
How does a member of Congress
act as a Delegate?
 Agent or representative of the voter
 Vote the way we want him/her to
 Suppress own views, ignore party
leader’s views
How does a member of Congress
act as a Partisan?
 Represent their Political Party
 Feel duty bound to vote in line with
the party platform
 Follow the Political Party leader’s
How does a member of Congress
act as a Politico?
 Tries to combine the basic parts of
Trustee, Delegate, Partisan
 Balance the conflicting factors
Who decides what a
Congressman/woman is paid?
They set their own pay – nice huh?
 $174,000 / year
 Majority Leader $193,400
Minority Leader $193,400
 Speaker of the House $223,500
 Retirement and Health
Care benefits
Other Benefits
 Franking Privilege: mail letters and
other materials postage-free
 Tax deduction for 2 homes
 D.C. and home state
 Travel allowance offset cost of
traveling between both houses
 Allowances for 2 offices with staff