You are on page 1of 12

Questions for Discussion - Use the profiles of the House of Representatives, the Senate and the general

population in the chart to help you in answering the questions below.

1. Identify at least six characteristics of a typical representative in the 111th Congress based on the data
above.

2. List three groups of people who might have reason to question whether or not the Congress adequately
represents their interests. Explain each.

3. How important is it to elect someone of the same statistical profile as the majority in the district in order
to gain good representation? Provide pros and cons.
Guided notes: Congress
Political Parties and Congress
Political parties have been central to Congressional operation since 1789

House and Senate leadership is organized _______________________________________

_____________________ in Congress establishes the floor agenda (including, in the


House, its rules of procedure)
_________________________ chair committees and preside over session

Party leadership in Congress


Congressional leadership positions are structured by the Constitution, by chamber
rules and by tradition
Members are elected to party and _________________ leadership by their party peers

Leaders are in charge, but are accountable to those who elected them
MAIN IDEA: THE MAJORITY PARTY HAS A LOT OF POWER!!!!!

Running TWO very different chambers:

House Senate
_____________ rule Minority rights
Strict limits on debate due Few debate limits due to
to size (435 members) size (only 100)
______________ Bottom up control
management
Most legislative and
Rules Committee executive business is
establishes ground rules conducted by unanimous
for considering major bills- consent
by far most POWERFUL
committee.

Purpose of leadership

1. __________________ and unifying party members


2. Scheduling work
3. Making certain lawmakers are present for key ______________________
4. Distributing and collecting information
5. Keeping the House or Senate in touch with the President
6. _______________ lawmakers to support their partys position.
Leadership of Congress

House of Representatives

House of Representatives Leadership - 114th Congress- Who am I?

LEADERSHIP CURRENT
HOW SELECTED/ROLES & RESPONSIBLITIES
POSITION LEADER
Position established by U.S. Constitution (Art. 1, 2, cl. 5)
_________ in line of Presidential succession, behind V.P.
Position wears two hats
Speaker of the MOST POWERFUL Speaker controls the overall legislative __________ of the
House PERSON IN House
CONGRESS! Oversees appointment of committee chairs and members
Serves as national spokesperson of the majority party

Chosen by majority party


Assists Speaker
Kevin McCarthy Plans partys ___________________________
House Majority
_______________ important bills through the House
Leader
Party leader

Responsible for counting and mobilizing votes


House Majority Helps disseminate scheduling information
Steve Scalise
Whip Serve as floor leaders in their absence
Try to influence voting!!
Elected by members of the minority party to serve as their
leader and spokesperson
House Minority Seeks to amend or even ____________ majority party agenda
Nancy Pelosi
Leader Provides counterpoint to the majority party
Responsible for minority party members
_____________assignments and ranking member assignments
Responsible for counting and mobilizing votes
House Minority
Helps disseminate scheduling information
Whip Steny Hoyer
Serve as floor leaders in their absence
Try to influence voting !!
Leadership of Congress
SENATE

Senate Leadership - 114th Congress- Who am I?


LEADERSHIP ROLES/RESPONSIBLITIES
Main functions and purposes of committees:
CURRENT LEADER
POSITION
Types of 1. Consider____________________
Also the ___________________________
Committees Chief presiding officer (constitutionally) of the Senate 2. Maintain oversight of __________________ agencies
Vice President Cannot participate in floor debate 3. Conduct ____________________
President of the Senate
_______________ Casts vote only in case of tie
NO REAL POWER unless a tie 4. Make the work of Congress more EFFICIENT!
1st in line for succession of president
Chosen by majority party; often most __________ member
Presides over Senate in absence of vice-president
President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch
Elected and voting member of the Senate
3rd in line of succession for president
Chosen by majority party
How to get appointed to a
Majority. party leader in Senate
committee?
Steers partys bills through Senate
Mitch McConnell Plans Senates work _____________ in consultation with
Senate Majority Leader
Minority Leader
Makes sure majority members __________ important
sessions

Responsible for counting and mobilizing votes


John Cornyn (from Helps disseminate scheduling information
Senate Majority Whip Texas!) Serve as floor leaders in their absence
Try to influence voting!!

Chosen by minority party


Minority party ______________ in Senate
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid Develops ______________ of bills from majority party
Consults with Majority Leader re: Senates work schedule
Tries to keep members __________________________

Responsible for counting and mobilizing votes


Helps disseminate scheduling information
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin
Serve as floor leaders in their absence
Try to influence voting!!
o Those who are members of Congress longest get the ____________________ committee posts and leadership positions.

o ___________________________ matters!!!

Committee
Description House Examples Senate Examples
Type
Appropriations charged with setting specific
expenditures for the federal government
Rules the traffic cop of the HR, Armed Services oversees US military &
determines under what rules bills will come to Dept. of Defense
the floor. MOST POWERFUL
Foreign Relations provides foreign
COMMITTEE!
Permanent panel with full policy leadership and considers important
Ways & Means jurisdiction over all taxes,
treaties
Standing legislative functions and tariffs and revenue raising measures
Judiciary conducts hearings and makes
Committee _____________responsibiliti Foreign Affairs- has jurisdiction over bills and
confirmation recommendations to the full
es investigations related to the foreign affairs of Senate re: presidential appointments to the
the United States. federal bench
Judiciary- charged with overseeing the Commerce- oversight over transportation,
administration of justice within the federal communication, and interstate commerce.
courts, administrative agencies and Federal
law enforcement entities. Responsible for
impeachments of federal officials.
Livestock, Dairy & Poultry Subcommittee
National Parks Subcommittee (Energy &
(Agriculture Committee)
Formed to tackle very Natural Resources Committee)
Early Childhood, Elementary & Secondary
____________ tasks within Clean Air & Nuclear Safety Subcommittee
Subcommittee Education Subcommittee (Education & Labor
the jurisdiction of the full (Environment & Public Works Committee
Committee)
committees Health Care Subcommittee (Finance
Space & Aeronautics Subcommittee (Science
Committee)
& Technology Committee)
Groups appointed for a Select Committee on Energy Independence &
Select or Special Select Committee on Ethics
_____________ purpose and Global Warming
Committee Select Committee on Intelligence
limited duration Select Committee on Intelligence
Includes members of both
Joint Economic Committee Joint Economic Committee
chambers to conduct studies
Joint Committee Joint Committee on Printing Joint Committee on Printing
or perform housekeeping
tasks
o
o CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP
o
o Part A. The following list includes important positions of leadership in
Congress. Using your textbook or other reference sources match the
lettered positions with the numbered descriptions of the tasks each job
involves.
o
o a. Vice President j. President Pro-Tempore
o b. Senate Majority Leader k. Speaker of the House
o c. Senate Minority Leader d. Senate Majority Whip
o e. Senate Minority Whip f. House Majority Leader
o g. House Minority Leader h. House Majority Whip
o i. House Minority Whip
o
o _____1. I have the most powerful position in the House of Representatives. I assign
bills to committees and appoint, select, and conference committee members.
o
o _____ 2. I serve as president of the Senate. Although I cannot participate in debates,
I can vote in case of a tie.
o
o _____ 3. I preside over the Senate in the absence of the vice president. The caucus
of the majority party chose me for this post.
o
o _____ 4. I am the party leader in the House of Representatives. I inform members
and assist the minority leader in resisting some of the majority partys programs.
o
o _____ 5. As majority leader in the House of Representatives, I exert pressure on
party members to vote with the party. I am responsible for getting my partys
program enacted into law.
o
o _____ 6. In the Senate, I am responsible for passage of the majority partys
programs. I inform and pressure party members to vote for programs, and I
determine the order in which bills are to be debated.
o
o _____ 7. I am the leader of the minority party in the House of Representatives. I am
responsible for informing party members and organizing resistance to programs
submitted by the majority.
o
o _____ 8. I am the leader of the minority party in the Senate. I am responsible for
resisting programs submitted by the majority.
o
o _____ 9. I aid the majority leader in keeping party members informed and supportive
of programs in the Senate.
o
o _____ 10. I am the minority party leader in the Senate who informs members when
important bills are scheduled for a vote. My usual goal is to oppose majority bills.
o
o _____ 11. I have control of the dominant party in the House of Representatives, and I
am responsible for enactment of our partys program.
o
o _____ 12. I take over if the President and Vice President are unable or unfit for the
Presidency.
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o Part B. Read each of the following statements and decide the House or
Senate committee to which each issue would most likely be assigned.
Write the letter of your choice in the space to the left. One answer is used
more than once.
o
o a. House Appropriations o g. Chairman of Senate Foreign
Committee Relations Committee
o b. Senate Commerce o h. Chairman of House Foreign
Committee Affairs Committee
o c. Senate Armed Services o i. Chairman of House Judiciary
Committee Committee
o d. Senate Foreign Relations o j. Chairman of Senate Armed
Committee Services Committee
o e. Chairman of House o k. Chairman of the House Rules
Appropriations Committee Committee
o f. Chairman of Senate o l. Chairman of the House Ways
Commerce Committee and Means Committee
o
o _____ 1. If someone wanted to construct a new transcontinental railroad, what
Senate committee would most likely handle the request for congressional aid?
o
o _____ 2. A representative for a group of businessman presents the groups views
before this House committee in hopes of securing funds for a new bridge across the
Cuyahoga River.
o
o _____ 3. This Senate committee works closely with the president to raise defense
spending in proportion to increases in the cost of living.
o
o _____ 4. The president would have to work closely with this committee to approve
any treaty in the Middle East.
o
o _____ 5. The seniority system has allowed me to become chairman of the powerful
committee in the Senate that handles matters relating to other nations.
o
o _____ 6. I am chairman of the less powerful committee in the House of
Representatives that handles matters with other countries.
o
o _____ 7. I am chairman of this powerful committee in the House of Representatives
that deals with impeachment charges.
o
o _____ 8. I am chairman of the Senate committee that supervises expenditures of the
department of government with the largest budget.
o
o _____ 9. I am chairman of the House committee that ha power over taxation.
o
o _____ 10. My seniority in the Senate has given me the chairmanship of the
committee that specializes in transportation, communication, and interstate
commerce.
o
o _____ 11. The seniority system allowed me to become chairman of the House
committee that has power over all federal spending.
o
o _____ 12. I am chairman of the most powerful committee in the House. We control
which bills come to the floor.
o
o
o Part C. Extended Response Answer the following questions.
1. Why are the houses of Congress divided into standing committees?
o
2. Explain why is seniority so important in Congress?
o

3. Michael McCaul, your representative, is on the Science and Technology committee. Explain
why he would request that committee assignment knowing he is from Houston.
o
o Senate tactics of obstruction!
a. Filibuster-obstructive tactic to prevent a measure from being brought to vote.
a. New tactic-silent filibuster Just tell the Majority leader 41 Senators
oppose the bill!
b. ________________-motion to bring debate to an end and bring motion to a
vote (after a set period of debate). Requires 60 votes (supermajority)
o Effects of a filibuster:
1. Bring the Senate to a halt for up to a week.
2. Prevents other issues from being addressed.
3. Small number of Senators can put personal political agendas above the
work of government.
4. Some appointments never happen.
1. Ex. 85 vacancies on federal judiciary benches.
o Part IV: Legislative committees

o Functions and purpose

1. Consider ______________________
2. Maintain oversight of __________________________ agencies
a. Review and monitoring of federal agencies.
o Examples:
i. Appropriations hearings on budgets.
ii. Authorization hearings for programs
iii. Investigations
3. Conduct _____________________
o Examples:
a. Watergate
b. Clinton impeachment
c. Benghazi investigation
d. Clinton emails
o
4. Make the work of Congress more EFFICIENT!!!
o Types of Committees:

o Standing Committees - ________________ panel with full legislative functions and


oversight responsibilities
a. MOST __________________.
b. Majority party has majority of seats on the committees.
c. Each member usually on two standing committees.
d. Chairs are elected, but most senior member of MAJORITY PARTY usually is chair.
e. ________________ formed to tackle very specific tasks within the jurisdiction of the
full committees
5. Select or Special Committees - groups appointed for a limited purpose and limited duration
6. Joint Committees - includes members of both chambers to conduct studies or perform
housekeeping tasks
7. _________________ Committee - includes members of House & Senate to work out
differences between similar bills
a. Reason- must look the same for ________________ to consider!
o

o
o Congressional leadership KEY
o
o Part A
1. K
2. A
3. J
4. I
5. H
6. B
7. G
8. C
9. D
10.C/E
11.F
12.K
o
o Part B
1. B
2. A
3. C
4. D
5. G
6. H
7. I
8. J
9. L WAYS AND MEANS (NOT AN OPTION-ERROR)
10.F
11.E
12.K
o
o Part C
1. Standing Committees divide up the work and allow specialization to make the system
more efficient.
2. Seniority is important because it allows the most senior members to get important
chairmanships which allow them to influence policy.
3. Explanation of large tech industries such as NASA and the Medical Center.