Assignment On Withing Politics

2150 words - 9 pages

VIII. Organization of congress = staffs and specialized officesA. tasks of staff members devising proposals, negotiating agreements, organizing hearings, writing questions for members of Congress to ask of witnesses, drafting reports, and meeting with lobbyists and administratorsB. Growth and impact of staff a large staff creates conditions that seem to require an even larger staff. As staff grows, it generates more legislative work. Subcommittees proliferate to handle all the issues with which legislators are concernedC. Staff agencies - offer specialized into have come into being in large part to give congress specialized knowledge equivalent to what the president has by virtue of this positions as chief of the executive branch ( CRS - provide congressmen with date, GAO - providing audits, CBO - economic)IX. How a bill becomes lawA. Bills travel through congress at diff. speeds1. bills to spend money, tax or regulate business move slowly.2. bills with clear, appealing idea most fast.3. complexity of legislative process helps bill's opponents block action at various points.B. Introducing a bill1. any member of congress can introduce legislation2. congress initiates most legislation.i. If bill not passed and signed by end of congressional session (2 years), it is dead, must be reintroduced next session.3. President can suggest legislation, member of congress must officially introduce bill.4. resolutionsi. simple - passed by one house affecting that houseii. concurrent - passed by both houses affecting bothiii. joint1. essentially a law - passed y both house, signed by pres.2. if used to propose constitution amendment - 2/3 votes in both house, no president sign at.C. Bill referred a committee for consideration by speaker of house or presiding office of senate.1. revenue bills (tax) must originate in housei. ways and means committee considers revenue bills - very powerfulii. all other bills can start in either chamber2. committees hold hearings, experts/interest groups, testify, revisions often made3. committee reports bill out to house, or senate4. bill placed on calendar to come before full chamber5. house rules committee sets rules for considerationsi. "open rule": permits amendments from the floorii. "closed rule" sets time limit on debate and restricts amendmentsiii. "restrictive rule" - permits only some amendments1. use of closed, restrictive rules growingiv. rules can be bypassed in house - rarely used1. move to suspend rules2. discharge petition3. calendar wedv. in senate - bills placed on calendar in order the majority of members chooses1. majority leader, in consultation with minority leader, schedules bills for considerationD. Floor debate - the house1. committee of the whole (procedural device for espediting house business, min. 100 members) debates amendments, decides final shape of bill, but cant pass bill2. committee sponsor of bill organizes discussion3. house usually passes sponsoring committee's version of billE. Floor debate -senate1. no rule limiting debate or relevance to matter under considerationi. any member can offer amendments to bill1. if not germane to purpose of bill; its called a rider2. committee hearing process bypassed if house already passed bill3. debate limited only by culture votei. 3/5's of senate must vote in favor of ending filibuster4. both filibuster and cloture rule becoming more commoni. since 1975, 40% cloture votes successfulii. double-tracking allows other business to be considered while filibuster in progressiii. threat of filibuster means neither party can control senate without 60 votesF. Methods of voting1. procedures in housei. voice vote (yea or nay)ii. division (standing) voteiii. teller vote - counted as members pass by twoiv. roll call vote (yea or nay by name)1. must be requested by 1/5 of members2. since 1973 done electronically2. senate voting is same except no teller vote, roll call not done electronically3. differences in senate/house versions of same billi. if minor, last house to act sends bill to other house, which usually accepts changesii. if major conference committee is appointed.1. 10-15% of bills go to conference2. decisions approved by majority by both delegations, favor senate version 60% of the time3. conference reports back to respective chamber for acceptance or rejection - no amendments - report usually accepted4. bill, initial form, goes to president for signature.i. If vetoed, bill goes back to house of origin.1. either house may override veto with 2/3 majority rule2. if both houses override, bill becomes low without presidents signature3. historically 96% of president vetoes aren't overriddenX. How members of congress voteA. representational view1. assumes members vote to please their constituents, to get reelected2. constituents must have a clear opinion of the issue, the legislators vote on issuea. strong correlation on civil rights and social welfare billsb. weak correlations on foreign policy3. controversial issues may cause conflict between legislator and constituency: gun control, abortion, etc -legislator must decide go with constituents or vote own views4. Legislators from marginal district no more likely to be influenced by constituent preferences than those from safe districts5. weakness of representational explanation usually no clear cut opinion in the constituency on most issues.B. Organizational view1. When constituents interest not vitally at stake, members vote o please colleagues, gain status and prestige,2. organizational cuesa. party affiliation more about voting record than any other single factorb. ideology - opinions of trusted and like-minded colleaguesc. party members on sponsoring committees3. problem - party and other organization don't have clear positions on all issuesC. additional view1. assumes that ideology affects legislator's vote2. average house member's opinions more closely reflect views of average voter in district3. senators views not always reflective of their states votersa. in 1970's senators more liberalb. in 1980's senators more conservativec. often a state will have liberal and conservative senators serving at same timeXI. Reforming congressA. numerous proposals to reform congress--term limits, new ethics, and campaign finance laws, organizational changes, all designed to make congress more efficient and accountableB. representative or direct democracya. framers: representatives should refine, not reflect public opinionsb. today: many believe representatives should mirror majority public opinionc. move toward direct democracy would have consequencesi. tyranny of the majority, loss of minority rightsC. Proper guardians of the public weal (well-being)?a. Madison's view of public interest (Federalist 10)i. Nation laws should transcend local interestii. Legislators should make reasonable compromises on behalf of entire polity's needsiii. Legislators shouldn't be captured by special interest (factions)b. Madison's conception of public interest embodied in calls to reform congress to be less captive to interest groupi. Problem - one man's special interest is another's professional association trade group or public interest advocateD. A decisive or deliberative congressa. Framers designed congress to balance competing views and thus act slowlyb. Today many complain or legislative grid look - want congress to move more quicklyc. Problem: if congress moves quickly, may not move wiselyE. Imposing term limitsa. Anti-federalists distrusted strong national government; favored annual elections and term limitsb. Today, 95% of house incumbents reflected, but 80% of public supports term limitsc. 22 states passed term- limit proposals in 1994.d. 1995, congress failed to approve resolutions for constitutional amendment on term limits.e. Supreme court ruled term limits for house and senate members unconstitutionalf. Effects of imposing term limitsi. Lifetime limits would produce amateur legislators less prone to compromiseii. Limiting continuous service in one legislative branch without restricting eligibility office would result in office hopping and constant need for candidate to seek public attentionF. Reducing power and perks (special privileges)a. "legal bribes" banned in 1995i. new house rules prohibited accepting any giftsii. senate limted any gift to $50, $100, per year limit of gifts from any single sourceiii. both hosues allow campaign donations expense paid travel for "fact finding" trips, other "official duty", paid by private sources.b. Regulating frankingi. Treasured perk of members of congressii. Members abuse privilege by using news letters and questionnaires as campaign literatureiii. Some reformers want franking abolishediv. Others want it strictly regulatedv. 1995-house passed resolution to limit use of rank and prevent use as campaign toolc. placing congress under the lawi. congress routinely exempted itself from many laws it passed1. reason- executive branch would acrquire excessive power over congress by enforcing such laws2. public criticism demanded change congressional accountability act of 1005 solved problem3. set up independent office of compliance to enforce laws congress had previously exempted itself from i.e. civil rights, = pay, age discrimination, etc.ii. trim pork barrel projects to avoid waste1. main cause of deficit is entitlement programs, not pork2. some spending in districts is for needed projects; some is wasteful and needs to be exposed as such3. members are supposed to advocate interest of their districts4. will never be totally eliminated - pork is price of citizen - oriented congressiii. cutting committees1. a. # of committees and subcommittees wave grown dramatically as work load has increased2. criticism - too many committees and attendant staffs bog down legislative production3. 1994 - house cut # of committees by 25% - # in senate also reducediv. reformers also advocate cutting size of congressional states1. staffs provide congress with own independent info and expertise, process mail and maintain contacts with constituents2. concern- cutting staffs would make congress more dependent on executive branch and interest groups for info/policy expertise, less able to process constituent concernsXII. Ethnics and congressA. separation of powers and corruptiona. fragmentation of power (decentralization) increases # of officials with opportunity to sell influencei. ex. - executive appointee seeks to influence senator to get appointment.1. president/senate trade favors over appointments and legislationb. forms of influencei. $ and exchange of favorsB. New ethnics rules (104th congress)C. Problem with ethnic rulesa. Rules assume $ is only source of corruptionb. Neglects political alliances and personal friendships are part of legislative bargainingc. Framers more concerned with ensuring liberty through checks and balances than moralityD. Congress most regulated national legislature in the world.Essay : identify and explain 5 proposed ways that the powers and perks of congress may be reined in and whether they have been successful or not. Pg. 350-353


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