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Unit 4 Study Guide (Congress)

1. Organizational v. Representational v. Attitudinal Voting for Congress?

o Organizational = voting for party (can also be for causus)
o Representational - voting for what your constituents want
o Attitudinal - voting for what you personally believe in
a.k.a trustee vote
2. Bills How many? Why? Who can create them? Revenue bills? Joint
resolutions? Why?
o Bills can be created by either House or Senate
o Revenue bills must be started in the House
Ways and Means Committee
All bills regarding tax = start in House
o Joint Resolution - requires approval of both houses and the signature of
the president
same power as a law
also used to propose constitutional amendment
o simple resolutions and concurrent resolutions are not signed by the
president and so do not have the force of law
can be used as "advice" for the president.
3. Marginal districts v. Safe districts? Why?
o marginal district : districts where a winner gets under 55% of votes
o safe district: districts where winner gets over 55% of votes
o only affects House
o safe districts typically are growing b/c of name recognition with
newspapers thru sponsoring bills
franking privilege
can meet constituents publicly
4. Article I Sect. 8? (what powers?)
o expressed powers
post office
borrow money
establish courts
coin money
o Clause 19 - implied powers
necessary and proper clause
coin money --> BUS = implied power
raise military --> drafts = implied power
immigration --> restrictions = implied power
5. Size of Congress how many? Why? Implications? Changes?
o 435 House
o 100 Senate

o 535 Total
o stopped at 435 in 1911
problems are that the number of constituents is raising per
6. Who Composes Congress? representative of groups? More or less partisan?
o Originally old white men
o however now it is becoming less male and less white
o still majority of Congress is wealthy and old
o mostly career politicians in Congress
o increase in incumbency rates
incumbents have free mailing, travel frequently, names in
o 1990s incumbency backfired --> ppl disliking professional politicians
7. Filibusters who ? Where? Why? How to stop?
o used by both parties
o can only stop with a clotchure which requires 3/5 vote to pass
requires a party to have 60 members to dominate Congress
o Filibusters only in the Senate
o prolonged speech/series of speech used to prolong legislative action
8. Powerful committees? In Senate? In House?
o Standing Committees most powerful
o House = Rules Committee, Appropriations, and Ways and Means
o Senate = appropriations/ budget/ finance
9. Standing committee v. Select committee v. Joint Committee v. conference
o standing committee - permanent bodies with specified legislative
o select committee - groups appointed for a limited purpose and usually
lasting for only a few congresses
o Joint Committee - those on which both representatives serve
used to speed up process
o Conference Committee - type of joint committee: made of reps and
senators to resolve differences in House and Senate versions of the same
piece of legislation before final passage.
10. Senators v. Representatives How are they different? Why? Who holds more
power? Who has higher incumbency? Why?
o Both have high incumbency rates due to incumbent privileges but House
can utilize SAFE DISTRICTS.
House can use safe districts and also vote/push for bills that
directly benefit constituents

Senate has the power of prestige --> harder for people to run against them
Different in Size
Revenue bills start in House
impeachment trial in Senate
Senate approves presidential nominations/treaties
Senators can use filibuster
Senate = 6 years in office and 9 years of citizenship
House = 2 years in office and 7 years of citizenship
Reps more interested on local issues whereas Senators more interested in
State/national issues
o Senate has more powers b/c they represent the entire state and not just
certain districts
11. Speaker of the House Powers? How selected? Why?
o leadership more powerful due to large amount of members in House
o elected by majority party and presides over all House meetings
o decides who shall be recognized to speak on floor of House
o rules whether a motion is relevant and germane to the business at hand
o decides the committees to which new bill shall be assigned
o influences what bill is brought up for a vote
12. Majority Party How? Advantages? Why?
o is selected by the majority party
o responsible for making a schedule of business with Senate, while
consulting the minority leader
o has right to be recognized first on floor debate
o can personally influence some senators to favor their party
o assisted by the whip who helps inform the leader about what the members
are thinking, rounds up votes for certain bills, and keeps count on how
voting on controversial issues go.
13. Senate v. House More rules? more publicity? More representative? Why?
o House has more rules due to size
restrict debate time and schedule the business
done typically by Rules Committee
has less time to debate than Senate
o Senate has unlimited debate time and can use filibusters
o Senate has more media visibility than House
o House has more representatives b/c it is based on population
o Senate has less b/c based on statehood
14. Pork barrel / Ear Marks? What? For who? Why?
o bills that give tangible benefits to constituents in order to hope to get their
votes in return
o benefits the constituents and the voter by increasing his/her reputation
15. How a Bill becomes a Law? Long process? Advantages? Disadvantages?
o bill is introduced, gets title and number and is placed on calendar

o bills can either be private or public

private = based on individual affairs
public = based on public affairs
o after introduction, bill sent to committee
will be determined by Speaker of House or presiding Officer in
o most bills die in committee
congressmen introduce bill to get publicity and appreciation from
o can use multiple referral in committee : simultaneously giving the same
bill to multiple committees
o sequential referral - send bill to second committee after first is finished
o if bill favored by committee, it is sent to calendar
o Rules Committee will then either permit a closed, open, or restrictive
closed = no amendments can be added and there is a strict time
open = amendments are ok
restrictive = some amendments are ok but not others
o basically, House to Committee to Floor to Debate to Senate to
Committee to Floor to Conference Committee to House/Senate to
President (can also start in the Senate)
16. Race for Senate Seats v. House Seats similarities and differences?
o House gets to use Safe and Marginal districts
o Senate's prestige makes it more difficult for opponents to fight against
o House can pass certain bills and vote certain ways to benefit their
constituents and increase their reputation
can get votes despite party ideology conflicts between
representative and people
17. Democratic Party v. Republican Party Who gets more votes? Trends in
support? Advantages? Disadvantages? (in relation to powers in Congress)
o more people report themselves as democrats --> democrats get more votes
most of these votes are concentrated in the same state = problem
o republicans benefit from voter loyalty
have a stable voting base
o Democrats lack a stable voting base which causes them to sometimes be
more moderate which may appear to be a weakness
this weakness makes them unappealing to independents
18. Career Politician? What? When? Why?
o started around 1950s
o due to safe districts

incumbents have free mailing, travel frequently, names in

also can create laws/bills that benefit constituents --> increase in
19. Public Opinion of Congress? Why?
o very low
o ppl feel either Congress is doing too much or it is doing too little
o Judges seen as objective, President gets credit when things are good,
Congress gets nothing
20. Quorum What is it? Why?
o quorum: minimum number of members who must be present to conduct
business in Congress.
o Committee of the Whole- people who happen to be at the floor at the time
quorum is only 100 ppl for Committee of the Whole
o quorum is 218 for House of Reps
o quorum call- roll call to find out whether the necessary number of people
are present
used to kill time or stall to plan a strategy