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already holding office
Stronger name recognition
having run for election before and served in government, incumbents tend to be better known than challengers
Easier access to media coverage
Media outlets publicize the activities of elected congressional officials, rationalizing that they are covering the institution of congress rather than the individuals.
Franking: Sending mail free of charge. Federal law allows members of Congress free mailings to every household in their state or congressional district.
Campaign contributions: Political action committees and individuals are interested in supporting candidates who will be in a position to help them once the election is over. Because donors are aware of the high reelection rates of incumbent candidates, incumbents garner an enormous proportion of contributions, as much as 80%.
Casework: Incumbents who personally help constituents solve problems with the federal bureaucracy can win their loyalty and burnish their own reputation which helps them to attract support for their candidacy during a run for reelection.
Reapportionment: is the reallocation of seats in the House of Representatives on the basis of changes in a state’s population since the last census.
Redistricting: the redrawing of congressional district boundaries within a state, is based on the reapportionment from the census.
Gerrymandering: The redrawing of congressional boundaries for the purpose of political advantage, the practice of drawing legislative district boundaries to benefit an incumbent, a political party, or some other group.
Majority-Minority district: is composed of a majority of a given minority community, the creators intent is to make it likely that a member of that minority will be elected to Congress.
Enumerated Powers of Congress: Judicial Powers
- Establish the federal court system
- Punish Counterfeiters
- Punish illegal acts on the high seas
Enumerated Powers of Congress: Economic Powers
- Impose taxes
- Establish import tariffs
- Borrow money
- Regulate interstate commerce
- Coin Money
Enumerated Powers of Congress: National Security Powers
- Declare war
- Raise and regulate national armed forces
- Call up and regulate state national guard
- Suppress insurrections
- Repel invasions
Enumerated Powers of Congress: Regulatory Powers
- Establish standards of weights and measures
- Regulate copyrights and patents
Enumerated Powers of Congress: Administrative Powers
- Establish procedures for naturalizing citizens
- Establish post offices
- Govern the District of Columbia
Trustee model: a member of the house or senate is articulating and voting for the position that best reflects constituents’ views.
Instructed delegate model
Instructed delegate model: the idea that a legislator, as a representative of his or her constituents, should vote in keeping with the constituents’ views, even if those views contradict the legislator’s personal views.
Pork barrel: refers to legislators’ appropriations of funds for special projects located within their congressional district. (transportation projects that create jobs)
Earmarks: a designation within a spending bill that provides for a specific expenditure.
providing representation in the form of personal aid to a constituent or group of constituents, typically by getting the government to do something the constituent wants done.
Ombudsperson: an elected or appointed representative who acts as a citizens’ advocate by listening to their needs and investigating their complaints with respect to a particular government agency.
Oversight: the process by which Congress “checks” the executive branch to ensure that the laws Congress passes are being administered in keeping with legislators’ intentions.
determining which public policy issues the federal legislature should consider.
Differences in House and Senate:
- -Larger (435 members)
- -Shorter electoral cycle (two year term)
- -Narrow constituency (congressional districts)
- -Less prestigious
- -Originates all revenue bills
- -Less reliant on staff
- -Power vested in leaders and committee chairs
- -Smaller (100 member cycle)
- -Longer electoral cycle (six year term)
- -Broad constituency (states)
- -More prestigious
- -Ratifies treaties; confirms presidential nominees
- -More reliant on staff
- -Power more evenly distributed
Bill and how it's passed
A proposed piece of legislation
1. Introduction: A member of the Senate or House proposes the bill
2. Committee review: Subgroups within the house and senate review the bill
3. House and Senate approval: if the bill makes it out of committee, a majority of members in both the House and senate must approve it
4. Conference committee reconciliation: The conference committee reconciles the bill when different versions have passed in the House and the Senate
5. Presidential approval: If the president signs the bill, it becomes law. But even after this arduous process, a presidential veto will kill the bill unless the veto is overridden
Hopper: a wooden box that sits on a desk at the front of the House chamber for proposed legislation
Joint referral: the practice of referring the bill simultaneously to two different house committees for consideration until 1995
Lead committee: bills introduced to the house are referred to one committee
Seniority system: the selection of the committee chairs by which the member with the longest continuous tenure on a standing committee chooses its chair.
Standing committees: permanent committees with a defined legislative jurisdiction. The house has 24 and senate has 20 (homeland security)
Select committees: specially created to consider a specific policy issue or to address a particular concern.
Joint committees: bicameral committees composed of members of both chambers of Congress.
Subcommittees and their responsibilites
handle specific areas of the committees’ jurisdiction. (h-90+ s-68)
1. Agency review: committee or subcommittee asks executive agencies that would administer the law for written comments on the measure
2. Hearings: Next the committee holds hearings to gather information and views from experts, including interest groups, concerned citizens.
3. Markup: committee “marks up” the bill with suggested language changes and amendments.
4. Report: After agreeing to a bill, the committee issues a report to the full chamber. The bill may then be considered by the full chamber.
Discharge petition: used to extract a bill from a committee in order to have it considered by the entire house.
Rules Committee: decides the length of debate and scope of amendments that will be allowed on a bill
Unanimous consent: every senator needs to agree to the terms of debate (including time limits on debate), and if even one senator objects, unanimous consent does not take effect.
Filibuster: a procedural move that attempts to halt passage of the bill. During a filibuster, a senator can speak for an unlimited time on the Senate floor.
Cloture: a supermajority of sixty senators agrees to invoke cloture and end debate.
Pocket veto: occurs when congress has adjourned and the president waits ten days without signing the bill, the president effectively “puts the bill in his pocket” and the bill dies
Speaker of the House
Speaker of the House: Chosen by the house majority party. Second in line of presidential succession (after vice president), the speaker serves as the presiding officer and manager of the house.
House majority leader
House majority leader: develop and implement the majority party’s legislative strategy, work with the minority party leadership, and encourage unity among majority party legislators.
Majority whip: acts as a go-between with the leadership and the party members in the house
President pro tempore
President pro tempore: Senate leader, third in line for presidential succession.
Senate majority leader
Senate majority leader: manage the legislative process so that favored bills are passed to schedule debate on legislation in consultation with their counterpart in the minority party
Logrolling: the practice of trading votes between members
How Presidential candidates are nominated and elected
How Presidential candidates are nominated and elected: The delegates to the national conventions are chosen by citizens in each state who vote in their party’s primary election. After the nominees have been decided, typically by late August, they and their vice-presidential running mates begin their general election campaign. Then votes are tallied on Election Day determining which presidential candidate’s slate of electors will cast their ballots. 538 electors (435 House + 100 Senate + 3 DC = 538) A presidential candidate needs 270 to win
Chief Legislator: Presidents can influence Congress by lobbying its members to support or oppose pending legislation and by defining the congressional agenda in the annual presidential State of the Union message. Presidents also “legislate” when they submit the budget for the entire federal government to Congress annually, although Congress ultimately passes the spending plan.
Veto - The president can either sign a bill or send it back to Congress within 10 days, if it is not signed within 10 days, the bill becomes law even without the President’s signature. A primary determinant of whether a president will regularly use a veto is whether the president’s party has majority in Congress.
Line-item Veto: allowed the president to strike out specific line items on an appropriations bill while allowing the rest of the bill to become law. In 1997 the SC decided the line-item veto was unconstitutional, asserting that it violated the separation of powers because the constitution grants Congress the inherent power to tax and to spend.
Signing Statement: a written message that the president issues upon signing a bill into law. A presidential signing statement may direct executive departments in how they should implement a law, taking into account constitutional or political considerations.
What is meant by the term Chief Economist
What is meant by the term Chief Economist: Constitution makes no mention of presidential responsibilities with respect to the economy, but the president submits a budget to Congress and set the economic priorities of the legislative agenda. Presidents help establish regulatory and economic environment in which businesses must operate, and in this way influence economic growth and employment levels. Appointment of the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) and its chair, who play a crucial role in the managing of the economy.
What the Fed is
What the Fed is: Federal Reserve Board and its chair. Play a crucial role in managing the economy. The Fed chair is less partisan, serving under several presidents. Fed action (such as increasing the interest rate) can send the stock market plummeting sheds light on why presidential appointments to the ed are watched so closely.
What is meant by Chief Diplomat:
What is meant by Chief Diplomat: The president (along with advisors shapes and administers the nation’s foreign policy. Supported by a wide array of foreign policy resources, including the State Department, the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, and various branches of the U.S. military, the president creates and administers foreign policy. Negotiates treaties and other international agreements with foreign nations and represents the United States at international summits. President may appoint ambassadors. President is the leader of the diplomatic corps and may hold state dinners at the White House. Executive agreement: a kind of international accord based on the constitutional authority vested in the president, and unlike treaties they may not be binding on future presidents, nor do they require Senate approval.
Executive agreement: a kind of international accord based on the constitutional authority vested in the president, and unlike treaties they may not be binding on future presidents, nor do they require Senate approval.
What is meant by the term Chief Executive:
What is meant by the term Chief Executive: In this capacity the president appoints the secretaries (top administrators) of the cabinet - the fifteen departments of the federal government - as well as the heads of other federal government agencies charged with developing and implementing the administrators policy. The president also appoints other staff members and numerous advisers, including staff in the executive office of the president. Determines how the bureaucracy will implement the laws Congress has passed and which policies will be emphasized.
What a cabinet is:
What a cabinet is: the group of experts chosen by the president to serve as advisors on running the country. These advisers serve as the heads of each of the 15 executive departments. (justice, state, treasury, war, etc)
What is meant by the term chief of state:
What is meant by the term chief of state: Reflects the executive’s embodiment of the values and ideals of the nation, both within the United States and abroad. The function of Chief of State is similar to the ceremonial role played by the constitutional monarch such as Great Britain.
The vice president’s job:
The vice president’s job:Largely ceremonial, including state dinners, visiting foreign nations, and attending funerals of foreign dignitaries. Acts as a legislative liaison with congress.
Executive Office of the President(EOP)
Executive Office of the President(EOP): typically is the launch pad for the implementation of policy. The offices, counsels, and boards that compose the EOP help the president to carry out the day-to-day responsibilities of the presidency and similarly assist the First lady and the vice president in their official activities. The EOP also coordinates policies among different agencies and departments.
White House Office (WHO)
White House Office (WHO) staff members develop policies favored by the presidential administration and protect the president’s legal and political interests. They research and keep the president informed about policy issues on the horizon.
National Security Council (NSC):
National Security Council (NSC): The NSC has advised presidents on key national security and foreign policy decisions and assisted in the implementation of these decisions by coordinating policy administration among different agencies.
Office of Management and Budget (OMB):
Its chief responsibility is to create the president’s annual budget, which the president submits to Congress each January.
The first four positions in the line of succession to the presidency:
- 1. Vice President
- 2. Speaker of the House
- 3. President pro tem of the Senate
- 4. Secretary of State
The provisions of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:
The provisions of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: if the president believes he or she is unable to carry out the duties of the office, the president must notify Congress, and the vice president becomes the acting president until the president can resume authority. In other situations, a president might be incapable of carrying out the duties of office and incapable of notifying Congress. In such a case, the 25th amendment requires that the vice president and a majority of the cabinet notify Congress, and the vice president becomes the acting president.
Expressed Powers: The powers enumerated in Article II, Sections 2 and 3, include the following: serve as commander in chief of the armed forces, appoint heads of the executive departments, ambassadors, supreme court, justices, people to fill vacancies that occur during the recess of the Senate and other positions, pardon crimes, enter into treaties(with ⅔ consent of Senate), give the state of the Union address to congress, convene the Congress, receive ambassadors of other nations, commission all officers of the united states.
Inherent powers: which are powers that are not expressly given by the Constitution but are inferred. (Louisiana purchase).
Statutory powers: additional powers given to the president explicitly granted by congressional action (line item veto).
Emergency Powers: Broad powers that a president exercises during times of national crisis have been invoked by presidents
When courts typically allow the exercise of executive privilege
When courts typically allow the exercise of executive privilege: executive privilege: the authority of the president and other executive officials to refuse to disclose information concerning confidential conversations or national security to Congress or the courts. In general courts have hallowed executive privilege in cases where a clear issue of separation of powers exists -as with respect to international negotiations and conversations regarding matters of policy or national security.
The new deal and how it impacted presidential power
The new deal and how it impacted presidential power: Franklin D. Roosevelt - a series of social welfare programs that would provide employment for many of the nation’s unemployed. 1. People now tend to think of the federal government as the provider of a “safety net” that protects the most vulnerable citizens. 2. The federal government would have to grow larger in order to administer these programs and as a result the president’s role as chief executive would become much more important to modern presidents. Works Progress Administration(WPA): a federal government program that employed 8.5 million people at a cost of more than $11 million between 1935 and 1943 (government funded employment would create economic growth in the private sector)
Works Progress Administration(WPA)
Works Progress Administration(WPA): a federal government program that employed 8.5 million people at a cost of more than $11 million between 1935 and 1943 (government funded employment would create economic growth in the private sector)
Watergate and how it impacted presidential power:
Watergate and how it impacted presidential power: Watergate: In 1972, men affiliated with President Nixon’s reelection campaign broke into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee (located in the Watergate Hotel in Washington DC) to retrieve wiretaps that they had previously installed to monitor their opponents. A Senate investigation revealed the President Nixon had secretly taped conversations in the Oval Office that would shed light on “what the president knew and when he knew it”. It deeply wounded the natural trust that many americans held for their president and for their government. The problem of growth of the executive branch and in particular the rising number of Executive office of the President staff members, many of whom are not subject to Senate confirmation and share a deep loyalty to the person who is president rather than the institution of the presidency.
The steps in the impeachment process
The steps in the impeachment process: Impeachment: the power of the House of Representatives to formally accuse the president (and other high ranking officials, including the vice president and federal judges) of crimes. The Constitution specifically refers to charges of “Treason, Bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” If a majority of the members of the House of Representatives vote to impeach the president, the charges against the president, called the articles of impeachment, are forwarded to the Senate. The Senate then tries the president and, in the event of conviction for the offenses, determines the penalty.
Honeymoon period: a time early in a new president’s administration characterized by optimistic approval of the public
Approval ratings: The percentage of survey respondents who say that they “approve” or “strongly approve” of the way the president is doing his job
Rally ‘round the flag effect:
Rally ‘round the flag effect: when the United States engages in a short-term military action or is the subject of an attack by terrorists, the president’s approval ratings also tend to improve substantially
Balanced Ticket: to broaden their appeal to the electorate and increase their chances of getting elected, they select a running mate who brings diversity of ideology, geographic region, age, gender, race, or ethnicity to the slate.
Chief of Staff:
Chief of Staff: serves as both an adviser to the president and the manager of the WHO.
Press Secretary: the president’s spokesperson to the media
White House counsel:
White House counsel: the president’s lawyer
Take Care clause:
Take Care clause: states the “the executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America” and that “he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed”
Executive orders: carry the same weight as congressional statutes and have been used in a variety of circumstances to guide the executive branch’s administrative functions. (direct the enforcement of congressional statutes or supreme court rulings, enforce specific provisions of the Constitution, guide the administration of treaties with foreign governments, create or change the regulatory guidelines or practices of an executive department or agency.
Spreading like-minded voters apart across multiple districts to dilute their voting power in each. This denies the group representation in multiple districts.
Concentrating like-minded voters together in one district to reduce their voting power in other districts. This gives the group representation in a single district while denying them representation across districts.
a bicameral, bipartisan committee composed of legislators whose job is to reconcile two versions of a bill
when the votes are counted, the majority is the one who gets all the electoral vote