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Intentions of Founders
- -Fear of excessive power concentrated in single institution
- -Fear of mob rule by impassionate majority
- -Concern about mannet of representation in Congress
- -Solution to these concerns: bicameral legislation
- 1. Mob rule concern addressed by creation of "upper house" in which the senators would be elected by state legislation rather than the people, and which would check the passions of the people's representatives in the House
- 2. Representation concern settled by a Senate w/equal representation and a House with representation based upon population.
- -belief that Congress would be the dominant branch of government
- Allow Congress to act quickly and decisively, but at the expense of individual and the constituents whom they represent. It would require several conditions:
- -Strong centralized leadership w/authority over rank and file membership.
- -Restrictions on debate
- -Few oppurtunities for stalling tactics
- -Minimal committee interference
- -A streamlined legislative process
- -Opportunity to conduct business w/minimal public scruntiny
- Protect and enhance the interest of individual members and their constituents, but would prevent Congress from acting quickly and decisively. It would require several conditions:
- -Weak central leadership
- -Few restrictions on debate
- -Numerous opportunities for stalling tactics
- -Powerful committee influence
- -Complicated legislative process
- -Close public scrutiny
Speaker of the House
The only officer of the House of Representatives specifically mentioned in the Constitution;elected at the beginning of each new Congress by the entire House; traditionally a member of the majority party
A formal way of halting action on a bill by means of long speeches or unlimited debate in the Senate.
Mechanism requiring sixty senators to vote to cut off debate. 3/5 vote for cloture in 1917 for Senate provided means to kill a filibuster.
- Made Senators directly elected by the people; remove their selection from state legisltaue.
- Direct election of Senators
- Government by mob or mass of people.
- Feared by the Founders
- Speaking fees.
- A payment given for professional services that are rendered normally without charge.
- Redrawing boundaries to favor the party in power of the state legislature.
- A special incumbency advantage for House members
- The legslative process through which the majority party in each state house tries to assure that the maximum # of representatives from its political party can be elected to Congress through the redrawing of legislative disticts.
Drawing the district lines in such a way as to concentrate the opposing party in a few districts, thus preserving a majority of seats for itself.
Drawing the district lines in such a way as to disperse the opposing party throughout the state and thus dilute the party's strength in order to preserve a majority of seats for the majority party.
Created by racial gerrymandering prompted by the Justice Department during the Bush administration.
- A state has a change in the number of seats, its district boundaries must change.
- The redrawing of congressional districts to reflect increases or decreases in seats allotted to the states, as well as population shifts within a state.
Term and Session of Congress
- Terms of Congress lasts two years
- Terms begin Jan. 3 of every odd-numbered years
- Terms numbered consecutively(105th Congress from 1997-1999, 106th from 99-01, 107th from 01-03).
- Adjournment:end of term; date must be agreed upon by both houses.
- Two regular sessions per term: Periodic recesses(not to be confused w/adjournment)
A period of time when the proceeding of the parliment, committee, court of law, or other offical body are temporarily suspended.
The termenation of a meeting