(3) Domestic travel funded by special-interest groups is limited to four (4) consecutive days on theHouse side (including travel time), and three (3) consecutive days on the Senate side (excluding traveltime).(4) One relative per trip may accept special interest-paid travel expenses, and the ethics committee maygrant an extension in exceptional circumstances.g) Franking Privilege
allows a member to mail official letters and packages
under the members’
signature without charges for postage.(1) Limited to
correspondence “in which the member deals with the addressee
as a citizen of the United
States or constituent.”
(2) Prohibited for mail that is purely personal, mail that is “laudatory and
mentary” to the
member, or mail related to a political campaign.(3) The fiscal year 1991 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act imposed new restrictions on frankingprivileges. The act gave each House member a mail budget and required public disclosure of how mucheach member spends on mailings. The act also
limited a senator’s ability to transfer
funds into their mailaccounts from other accounts.h) Plenty of small privileges, such as free flowers from the National Botanical Gardens, research servicesfrom the Library of Congress, and access to exercise rooms and pools.i) Power! Members of Congress make key decisions about important matters of public policy.3. Despite the salaries, the perks, and the thousands of staff members, Congress is relativelyinexpensive. Per citizen, Americans annually spend about the equivalent of the cost of a hamburger,
fries, and cola on running the nation’s legislature.
4. Article 1, Section 6, Clause 1 states that senators and representatives “shall in all Cases, except
Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the
Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same.”
5. The Speech and Debate Clause of Article I, Section 6, Clause 1 declares “…for any Speech or Debate
in either House, they shall not
be questioned in any other Place.” The words “any other Place” refers
particularly to the courts. It is intended to protect representatives and senators from suits for libel orslander arising out of their official conduct of legislative debate and committee work.
B. The National Legislature a/k/a
Congress = House of Representatives AND Senate
(pp. 355-358)1. There are 535 members of Congress
100 in the Senate (two from each state) and 435 in the Houseof Representatives (proportionally distributed based on population)
Congress lasts for two years and each term is numbered consecutively. For 2011-2012, weare in the 112th Congress.a) Twentieth Amendment (1933) established the start of a new term to be noon of the 3rd day of January of every odd-numbered year.
b) Prior to the 20th Amendment, Congress began its term on March 4th. The four month gap betweenelections in November and the start of new term allowed for delays in communicating election resultsaround the country and travel for new law
makers. By the 1930s, the “delay” was no longer needed.
That period of time during which, each year, Congress assembles and conducts business.There are two (2) sessions to each term of Congress. 2011 is the first session of the 112th term of Congress.a) Congress adjourns, or suspends until the next session, each regular session as it sees fit.(1) Until World War II, a typical session lasted four or five months; however, today, Congress remainsin session for most of the year.(2) Neither house may adjourn without the consent of the other.(3) Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution does give the President the power to prorogue
a session, but only when the two houses cannot agree on a date of adjournment. NoPresident has ever had to use that power.