Chapter 12: Congress (pp. 352-389) The Framers Wanted Congress Center of Policymaking in America (pp. 353-354) 1.

Although the prominence of Congress has fluctuated over time, in recent years Congress has been the true center of power in Washington. 2. Congress is not only our central policymaking branch, but is also our principal representative branch; the heart of American Democracy. 3. Congress’ tasks become more difficult each year. The movement of legislation through the congressional maze has never been more complicated, and just finding time to debate the issues has become increasingly difficult. 4. Some critics charge Congress with being the source of government expansion and too isolated from ordinary citizens. II. The Representatives and Senators (pp. 354-358) A. The Job (pp. 354-355) 1. Despite public perceptions to the contrary, hard work is perhaps the most prominent characteristic of a member of Congress’ job. a) A typical representative is a member of about six committees and subcommittees; a senator is a member of about ten. b) Members are often scheduled to be in two places at the same time. 2. Attractions to the Job (2007) a) $174,000 is the yearly salary for the rank-and-file member of Congress; $193,400 for Majority/Minority Leaders and President Pro Tempore of Senate; $223,500 for Speaker of the House. b) Generous retirement benefits c) Office space in Washington, D.C. and in their constituencies d) Substantial congressional staff (1) Representatives’ staff allowances can be used to hire up to 18 permanent and four non-permanent aides divided between the members’ Washington, D.C. and district offices. Up to $75,000 of a representative’s staff funds can be transferred to his or her official expense account for use in other categories, such as computer and related services. The maximum salary allowed House personal staffers in 2005 was $156,848. (2) Senators’ personal staff allowances vary with the size of the members’ states. Senators may hire as many aides as they wish within their allowance; typically this ranges between 26 and 60, depending on the size of the state and the salary levels offered to the staffers. The maximum salary allowed to Senate personal staffers in 2003 was $150,159; for Senate legislative staffers the maximum salary in 2005 was $153,599. e) Travel allowances to see their constituents (1) House: Included in office expenses is a minimum amount of $9,700 (2003), with additional funding based on a formula that uses the distance from Washington, DC to the farthest point in the Congressional district from DC. (2) Senate: The official expense allowance is based overall on population and distance, and includes travel. f) Low travel fares, and often free fare to foreign nations on congressional inquiries (also known as “junkets”). (1) The 1989 Ethics in Government Act set restrictions on foreign travel paid by lobbyists and other special interests. (2) Special-interest paid foreign travel is limited to seven (7) consecutive days, excluding the days spent traveling.

(3) Domestic travel funded by special-interest groups is limited to four (4) consecutive days on the House side (including travel time), and three (3) consecutive days on the Senate side (excluding travel time). (4) One relative per trip may accept special interest-paid travel expenses, and the ethics committee may grant 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 complimentary” to the member, or mail related to a political campaign. (3) The fiscal year 1991 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act imposed new restrictions on franking privileges. The act gave each House member a mail budget and required public disclosure of how much each member spends on mailings. The act also limited a senator’s ability to transfer funds into their mail accounts from other accounts. h) Plenty of small privileges, such as free flowers from the National Botanical Gardens, research services from 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 relatively inexpensive. 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 or slander 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 House of Representatives (proportionally distributed based on population) 2. Term – Congress lasts for two years and each term is numbered consecutively. For 2011-2012, we are 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 between elections in November and the start of new term allowed for delays in communicating election results around the country and travel for new lawmakers. By the 1930s, the “delay” was no longer needed. 3. Session – 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 remains in 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 – end, discontinue – a session, but only when the two houses cannot agree on a date of adjournment. No President has ever had to use that power.

b) Both houses recess for several short periods during a session. c) Only the President may call Congress into special session – a meeting to deal with some emergency situation. (1) Only 26 special sessions of Congress have ever been held. (2) President Harry Truman called the most recent one in 1948, to consider anti-inflation and welfare measures in the aftermath of World War II. (3) The President can call Congress or either of its houses into a special session. (4) The Senate has been called into special session alone on 46 occasions, to consider treaties or presidential appointments, but not since 1933. (5) The House has never been called alone. (6) The fact that Congress now meets nearly year-round reduces the likelihood of special sessions. 4. Members come mostly from occupations with high status and usually have substantial incomes. Law and business are the dominant prior occupations, with other elite occupations also well-represented. 5. Although members of Congress obviously cannot claim descriptive representation (representing their constituents by mirroring their personal, politically relevant characteristics), they may engage in substantive representation (representing the interests of groups). 6. Congressional Elections – Since 1872 Congress has required that elections be held on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November of each even-numbered year. a) Congress has made an exception for Alaska, which may hold its election in October; however, they have held their elections in November thus far. b) In case of filling a vacancy, a special election may be called ONLY by the governor of the State involved (Article I, Section 2, Clause 4). C. The House of Representatives 1. Constitutional Specifications for House Members a) At least 25 years old b) An American citizen for seven years c) Must be a resident of the state from which they are elected d) Live in the district he/she represents (longstanding custom – not a constitutional requirement). 2. Size of the House a) The exact size of the House of Representatives – 435 members – is NOT fixed by the Constitution; instead, it is set by Congress. b) The Constitution provides that the total number of seats in the House of Representatives shall be apportioned (distributed) among the States on the basis of their respective populations. c) Each State is guaranteed at least ONE seat in the House, no matter what its population. (1) States with ONE seat: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming. (2) District of Columbia, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa each elect a delegate to represent them in the House and Puerto Rico chooses a resident commissioner. Those officials are not, however, full-fledged members. 3. Term of the House a) Article I, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution establishes a term for the House as two-years. b) This short term means that the House members always have an election just around the corner requiring them to be responsive to their constituents back home. c) There is no constitutional limit on the number of terms any member of Congress may serve. d) All 435 members of the House are up for reelection every even numbered year 4. Reapportionment – redistribution of seats. a) Article I, of the Constitution directs Congress to reapportion – redistribute – the seats in the House after each decennial census.

b) Until a first census could be taken, the Constitution set the size of the House at 65 seats for the First and Second Congresses (1789-1793). However, by 1910, the House grew to 435 seats. c) Faced with growing too large for effective floor action, the House passed the Reapportionment Act of 1929. (1) The “permanent” size of the House is 435 members. The figure is permanent only so long as Congress does not decide to change it. Congress did enlarge the House temporarily in 1959 when Alaska and then Hawaii became states. (2) Following each census, the Census Bureau is to determine the number of seats each State should have. (3) When the Bureau’s plan is ready, the President must send it to Congress. (4) If, within 60 days of receiving it, neither house rejects the Census Bureau’s plan, it becomes effective. 5. Off-Year Elections are congressional elections that occur in the nonpresidential years. 6. Districts - The 435 members of the House are chosen by the voters in 435 separate congressional districts The State legislatures are responsible for drawing any congressional districts within their own State. Gerrymandering is the illegal drawing of districts to the advantage of the political party that controls the State legislature. Wesberry v. Sanders, 1964 established “one person, one vote” to ensure congressional districts were close in population size. Gomillion v. Lightfoot, 1960 established that gerrymandering based on race was unconstitutional. Bush v. Vera, 1996 further established that gerrymandering districts based on race was unconstitutional. Hunt v. Cromartie, 2001 further established that gerrymandering districts based on race was unconstitutional. b) The single-member district arrangement allows voters in each district to elect one of the State’s representatives from among a field of candidates running for a seat in the House from that district. c) The at-large arrangement allows a State, as a whole, to vote for a candidate for each one of the State’s seats in the House. The seven states that have only ONE representative are considered “at-large” representatives because they are elected by the entire state. 7. Other Aspects of the House Censure is the most serious punishment the House of Representatives can mete out, short of expulsion. When members are censured, they must stand in the well of the House while the speaker reads a resolution rebuking them for misconduct. A reprimand is issued for less serious ethical violations, and can be adopted by the House without a public reading of the resolution. Twenty-two members have been censured in House history; eight have been reprimanded. Here are some examples. Censure July 20, 1983 Gerry E. Studds of Massachusetts, for sexual misconduct with a House page. July 20, 1983 Daniel B. Crane of Illinois, for sexual misconduct with a House page. June 6, 1980 Charles H. Wilson of California, for receipt of improper gifts, “ghost” employees and personal use of campaign funds. July 31, 1979 Charles C. Diggs of Michigan, for payroll fraud. Oct. 27, 1921 Thomas L. Blanton of Texas, for unparliamentary language. Reprimand Jan 21, 1997 Newt Gingrich of Georgia, for allowing a member-affiliated tax-exempt organization to be used for political purposes and providing inaccurate information to the ethics committee. July 26, 1990 Barney Frank of Massachusetts, for using political influence to fix parking tickets, and to sway probation officers for a personal friend.

D. The Senate 1. Constitutional Specifications for Senate a) At least 30 years old b) An American citizen for nine years c) Must be a resident of the state from which they are elected 2. Size of the Senate a) The exact size of the Senate – 100 members – is NOT fixed by the Constitution. b) The Constitution provides that the Senate “shall be composed of two Senators from each State. c) Members of the Senate represent entire States with a more diverse population and a broader range of interests than the House. 3. Term of the Senate a) Article I, Section 3, Clause 1 of the Constitution establishes a term for the Senate as six-years. Those six years give senators some insulation from the rough-and tumble of day-to-day politics. b) There is no constitutional limit on the number of terms any member of Congress may serve. Strom Thurmond (R., South Carolina) was elected nine times serving from 1954-2003 (when he retired). c) The Senate is a continuous body – that is all of its seats are never up for election at the same time. Senators’ terms are staggered. Only one-third of them (33 or 34) expire every two years. 4. Elections - Originally, the Constitution provided that the members of the Senate were to be chosen by the State legislature. Since the ratification of the 17th Amendment in 1913, however, senators have been picked by the voters in each State at the regular November elections A. Who Wins? (pp. 358-359) 1. Incumbents are those already holding office. a) The most important fact about congressional elections is that incumbents usually win. b) Even in a year of great political upheaval such as 1994, in which the Republicans gained eight seats in the Senate and 53 seats in the House, 92% of incumbent senators and 89% of incumbent representatives won their bids for reelection. 2. House of Representatives a) more than 90% of the incumbents seeking reelection to the House of Representatives win, but most of them win with more than 60% of the vote. b) Even when challengers’ positions on the issues are closer to the voters’ positions, incumbents still tend to win. c) Thus, the most important resource to ensure an opponent’s defeat is simply to be the incumbent. 3. Senate a) Even though incumbent senators have a better-than-equal chance of reelection, senators typically win by narrower margins than House members. b) One reason for the greater competition in the Senate is that an entire state is almost always more diverse than a congressional district and thus provides more of a base for opposition to an incumbent. c) Senators have less personal contact with their constituents and receive more coverage in the media than representatives do (and are therefore more likely to be held accountable on controversial issues). d) Senators tend to draw more visible challengers who are already known to voters and who have substantial financial backing. 4. Despite their success at reelection, incumbents have a strong feeling of vulnerability; thus, they have been raising and spending more campaign funds, sending more mail to their constituents, traveling more to their states and districts, and staffing more local offices than ever before. B. The Advantages of Incumbents (pp. 360-362) 1. Voters are not very aware of how their senators and representatives actually vote; voters assume their representative’s vote on policy issues relevant to their area.

2. Stories of presidential coattails (the theory that other candidates could ride into office by clinging to presidential coattails) do not seem to hold up in practice. 3. Members of Congress do not gain or lose very much from the fluctuations of the economy. 4. Members of Congress engage in three primary activities that increase the probability of their reelections: a) Advertising - Most congressional advertising takes place between elections and takes the form of contact with constituents: members concentrate on staying visible, trips to the home district (or state) are frequent, and use of the franking privilege to mail newsletters to every household in the constituency. b) Credit Claiming involves personal and district service. There is two ways members of Congress can service the constituency: casework and the pork barrel. (1) Casework is helping constituents as individuals, such as cutting through bureaucratic red tape. (2) Pork Barrel refers to expenditures on federal projects, grants, and contracts for cities, businesses, colleges, and institutions. Because credit claiming is so important to reelection, members of Congress rarely pass up the opportunity to increase federal spending in their state or district. c) Position Taking - Members of Congress must also engage in position taking on matters of public policy when they vote on issues and when they respond to constituents’ questions about where they stand on issues. The positions they take may make a difference in the outcome of an election, especially if the issues are on matters salient to voters and their stands are out of line with those of a majority of their constituents (especially in the Senate, where issues are likely to play a greater role than in House elections). 5. Weak Opponent a) Incumbents are likely to face weak opponents. b) Seeing the advantages of incumbency, potentially effective opponents often do not want to risk challenging members of the House. C. The Role of Party Identification (pp. 362-363) 1. Although party loyalty at the voting booth is not as strong as it was a generation ago, it is still a good predictor of voting behavior. 2. Most members of Congress represent constituencies in which their party is in the majority. D. Defeating Incumbents (pg. 363) 1. An incumbent tarnished by scandal or corruption becomes vulnerable. Voters DO take out their anger at the polls. 2. Congressional membership is reapportioned after each federal census, and incumbents may be redistricted out of their familiar base of support. The majority party in the state legislature is more likely to move two of the opposition party’s representatives into the same district than two of its own. 3. Major political tidal waves occasionally roll across the country, leaving defeated incumbents in their wake; i.e., in 1994 frustrated voters defeated incumbent Democrats. E. Money in Congressional Elections (pg. 362) 1. Candidates spend enormous sums of campaigns for Congress. In the 2001-2002 election cycle, congressional candidates spent nearly a billion dollars to win the election. In the House race in 2002, the typical incumbent outspent the typical challenger by a rating of 12 to 1. 2. Spending is greater when there is no incumbent and each party feels it has a chance to win. 3. Critics of Political Action Committees (PACs) offer substantive criticism of the present system of campaign finance. a) Although most of the money spent in congressional elections comes from individuals, 30% of the funds raised by candidates for Congress come from Political Action Committees (PACs). b) Each PAC is limited to an expenditure of $5,000 per candidate (most give less), but some organized interests circumvent the limitations on contributions by creating or contributing to several PACs.

c) PACs seek access to policymakers. Thus, they give most of their money to incumbents, who are already heavily favored to win. Critics of PACs are convinced that PACs are not trying to elect but to buy influence. 4. Spending a lot of money in a campaign is no guarantee of success. In 1998 Alfonse D’Amato spent more than $23 million to retain his Senate seat in New York and lost. 5. Money is most important for challengers because it buys them name recognition and a chance to be heard. 6. When an incumbent is not running for reelection and the seat is open, there is greater likelihood of competition. a) Most of the turnover of the membership of Congress is the result of vacated seats, particularly in the House. b) In open seats, the candidate who spends the most usually wins. F. Stability and Change (pg. 363) 1. As a result of incumbents usually win re-election; there is some stability in the membership of Congress. This provides the opportunity for representatives and senators to gain some expertise in dealing with complex questions of public policy. It also insulates them from political change and makes it more difficult for citizens to “send a message to Washington” with their votes. 2. Some reformers have proposed term limitations laws for senators and representatives. IV. How Congress Is Organized Make Policy (pp. 363-374) A. Making policy is the toughest of all the legislative roles. Congress is a collection of generalists trying to make policy on specialized topics. The complexity of today’s issues requires more specialization. Congress tries to cope with these demands through its elaborate committee system. B. American Bicameralism (pp. 364-366) 1. A bicameral legislature is one divided into two houses. The U.S. Congress and every American state legislature except Nebraska’s are bicameral. Each state is guaranteed two senators in the U.S. Congress, with representation in the House of Representatives based on population. 2. The framers of the Constitution thought the Senate would protect elite interests. They gave the House (which they expected to be closest to the masses) the power of initiating all revenue bills and of impeaching officials; they gave the Senate the responsibility for ratifying all treaties, for confirming important presidential nominations, and for trying impeached officials. 3. The House and Senate each set their own agenda. Both use committees to narrow down the thousands of bills introduced. 4. By creating a bicameral Congress, the Constitution set up yet another check and balance; no bill can be passed unless BOTH the House and Senate agree on it. 5. House of Representatives (pg. 365) a) The House is much larger and more institutionalized than the Senate. b) Party loyalty to leadership and party-line voting are more common than in the Senate. c) Debate can be ended by a simple majority vote. d) One institution unique to the House is the House Rules Committee, which reviews most bills coming from a House committee before they go to the full House. Each bill is given a “rule”, which schedules the bill on the calendar, allots time for debate, and sometimes even specifies what kind of amendments may be offered. The thirteen members are appointed by the Speaker of the House. 6. Senate (pp. 365-366) a) The Senate is less disciplined and less centralized than the House. Today’s senators are more equal in power (less reliance on seniority) than representatives. b) Party leaders do for Senate scheduling what the Rules Committee does in the House. c) Because the Senate has unlimited debate, Senators that oppose a bill may use the filibuster as a tactic to prevent a vote. In practice, this sometimes means that opponents of a bill may try to “talk the bill to

death.” At the present time, 60 members present and voting can halt a filibuster by invoking cloture (closure) on debate. C. Congressional Leadership (pp. 366-368) 1. Much of the leadership in Congress is really party leadership. Those who have the real power in the congressional hierarchy are those whose party put them there. 2. Power is no longer in the hands of a few key members of Congress who are insulated from the public. Instead, power is widely dispersed, requiring leaders to appeal broadly for support. 3. House Leadership (pp. 366-367) a) The Speaker of the House (John Boehner, Republican) is second (after the vice president) in the line to succeed a president who resigns, dies in office, or is impeached. (1) It is the ONLY legislative office mandated by the Constitution (Article I, Section 2) and is chosen by the party in the majority. (2) Presides over the House when it is in session (3) Plays a major role in making committee assignments (4) Appoints or plays a key role in appointing the party’s legislative leaders and the party leadership staff (5) Exercises substantial control over which bills get assigned to which committees (6) The Speaker also has a great deal of informal power both inside and outside Congress; i.e., when the Speaker’s party differs from the president’s party, the Speaker is often a national spokesperson for the party. b) The Majority Leader is the Speaker’s principal partisan ally and is considered a stepping stone to the Speaker’s role. (1) Schedules bills in the House (2) Responsible for rounding up votes on party legislation c) The Majority Whip work with the majority leader to round up votes and to report the views and complaints of the party rank and- file back to the leadership. d) The minority party is also organized with a Minority Leader (Nancy Pelosi, Democrat) and a Minority Whip and is prepared to take over the key posts if it should win a majority in the House. 4. Senate Leadership (pg. 367) a) The Constitution names the vice president as President of the Senate (the ONLY constitutionally defined job – Article I, Section 3). Vice presidents typically have little power or influence in the Senate, except in the rare case when their vote can break a tie. b) The President Pro Tempore takes the place of the President of the Senate when the Vice President is unavailable. c) The Senate Majority Leader (Harry Reid, Dem., Nevada) – aided by the Senate Majority Whip– is the position of real power and authority in the Senate. He rounds up votes, schedules the floor action, and influences committee assignments. 5. Congressional Leadership in Perspective (pg. 368) a) The structure of Congress is so complex that it seems remarkable that legislation gets passed at all. Its bicameral division means that bills have two sets of committee hurdles to clear. Recent reforms have decentralized power, and so the job of leading Congress is more difficult than ever. b) Congressional leaders are not in the strong positions they occupied in the past. Leaders are elected by their fellow party members and must remain responsive to them. c) Party leadership – at least in the House – has been more effective in recent years. Following the Republican takeover in 1995, Speaker Newt Gingrich began centralizing power and exercising vigorous legislative leadership. D. The Committees and Subcommittees (pp. 368-372) 1. Most of the real work of Congress goes on in committees.

a) Committees dominate congressional policymaking. b) They regularly hold hearings to investigate problems and possible wrongdoing, and to investigate the executive branch. c) They control the congressional agenda and guide legislation from its introduction to its send-off for the president’s signature. 2. Committees can be grouped into four types: standing committees (by far the most important), joint committees, conference committees, and select committees. a) Standing Committees are permanent subject-matter committees, formed to handle bills in different policy areas. Each house of Congress has its own committees and subcommittees. In the 108th Congress, the typical representative served on two committees and four subcommittees, while senators averaged three committees and seven subcommittees each. b) Joint Committees are study committees that exist in a few policy areas, with membership drawn from both the Senate and the House. c) Conference Committees are formed when the Senate and the House pass a particular bill in different forms. Appointed by the party leadership, a conference committee consists of members of each house chosen to iron out Senate and House differences and to report back a compromise bill. d) Select Committees are temporary committees appointed for a specific (“select”) purpose, such as the Senate select committee that looked into Watergate. 3. The Committees at Work – Legislation and Oversight (pp. 369-371) a) More than 11,000 bills are submitted every two years, which must be sifted through and narrowed down by the committee process. Every bill goes to a standing committee; usually only bills receiving a favorable committee report are considered by the whole House or Senate. b) New bills sent to a committee typically go directly to subcommittee, which can hold hearings on the bill. The most important output of committees and subcommittees is the “marked up” (revised and rewritten) bill, submitted to the full House or Senate for consideration. c) Members of the committee will usually serve as “floor managers” of the bill when the bill leaves committee, helping party leaders secure votes for the legislation. They will also be cue-givers to whom other members turn for advice. When the two chambers pass different versions of the same bill, some committee members will be appointed to the conference committee. d) Legislative Oversight – the process of monitoring the bureaucracy and its administration of policy – is one of the checks Congress can exercise on the executive branch. (1) Oversight is handled primarily through hearings. Members of committees constantly monitor how a bill is implemented. The process enables Congress to exert pressure on executive agencies, or even to cut their budgets in order to secure compliance with congressional wishes. (2) Congressional oversight occasionally captures public attention, such as congressional investigations into the Watergate scandal and the 1987 Iran-Contra affair (A scandal occurring during the Reagan administration in which members of the executive branch sold weapons to Iran and illegally used the profits to continue funding an army of rebels in Nicaragua. This led to an investigation, indictment, or conviction of over 138 administration officials, the largest number for any US president) (3) Congress keeps tabs on more routine activities of the executive branch through its committee staff members, who have specialized expertise in the fields and agencies that their committees oversee (and who maintain an extensive network of formal and informal contacts with the bureaucracy). 4. Getting On a Committee (pg. 371) a) Just after election, new members write to the party’s congressional leaders and members of their state delegation, indicating their committee preferences. Each party in each house has a slightly different way of picking its committee members, but party leaders almost always play a key role. b) Members seek committee assignments that will help them achieve three goals: reelection, influence in Congress, and the opportunity to make policy in areas they think are important.

c) Although every committee includes members from both parties, a majority of each committee’s members – as well as its chair – come from the majority party. 5. Getting Ahead On the Committee – Chairs and the Seniority System (pp. 371-372) a) Committee Chairs are the most important influencers of the committee agenda. They play dominant – though no longer monopolistic – roles in scheduling hearings, hiring staff, appointing subcommittees, and managing committee bills when they are brought before the full House. b) Until the 1970s, committee chairs were always selected through the seniority system – the member of the majority party with the longest tenure on the committee would automatically be selected. (1) Chairs were so powerful that they could single-handedly “bottle up” legislation in committee. (2) The system also gave a decisive edge to members from “safe” districts, where members were seldom challenged for reelection. E. The Mushrooming Caucuses – The Informal Organization of Congress (pp. 372-373) 1. The explosion of informal groups in Congress has made the representation of interests in Congress a more direct process (cutting out the middleman, the lobbyist). 2. In recent years, a growing number of caucuses have dominated these traditional informal groups. A caucus is a grouping of members of Congress sharing some interest or characteristic, such as the Black Caucus, the Hispanic Caucus, the Congresswomen’s Caucus, and the Sunbelt Caucus. Caucuses include regional groups, ideological groupings, and economic groupings. 3. The proliferation of congressional caucuses (more than 100 of them in the 108th Congress) gives members of Congress an informal, yet powerful, means of shaping the policy agenda. Composed of legislative insiders who share similar concerns, the caucuses exert a much greater influence on policymaking than most citizen-based interest groups can. F. Congressional Staff (pp. 373-374) 1. Most staff members work in the personal offices of individual members. In total, about 11,500 individuals serve on the personal staffs of members of Congress. Nearly one-half of these House staffers and nearly one-third of the Senate personal staff work in members’ offices in their constituencies, not in Washington. This makes it easier for people to make contact with the staff. 2. The committees of the House and Senate employ more than 2,500 staff members. These staff members organize hearings, research legislative options, draft committee reports on bills, write legislation, and keep tabs on the activities of the executive branch. 3. Congress has three important staff agencies that aid it in its work. a) The first is the Congressional Research Service (CRS), administered by the Library of Congress. The CRS employs nearly 750 researches, many with advanced degrees and highly developed expertise. CRS tracks the progress of major bills, prepares summaries of bills and makes this information available electronically. b) The General Accounting Office (GAO), with more than 3,500 employees, helps Congress perform its oversight functions by reviewing the activities of the executive branch to see if it is following the congressional intent of laws and by investigating the efficiency and effectiveness of policy implementation. The GAO also sets government standards for accounting, provides legal opinions, and settles claims against the government. c) The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) employs more than 230 people. Its principal focus is on analyzing the president’s budget and making economic projections about the performance of the economy, the costs of proposed policies, and the economic effects of taxing and spending alternatives. V. The Congressional Process (pp. 375-383) A. Approximately 5,500 bills are introduced annually. A bill is a proposed law, drafted in precise, legal language.

1. Anyone can draft a bill, but only members of the House or Senate can formally submit a bill for consideration. The White House and interest groups are common sources of bills. 2. Most bills are quietly killed off early in the legislative process. 3. Legislators often use riders to pass a bill that does not have enough support on its own to pass. B. Presidents and Congress: Partners and Protagonists (pp. 375-377) 1. Presidents are partners with Congress in the legislative process, but all presidents are also Congress’ adversaries in the struggle to control legislative outcomes. 2. Presidents have their own legislative agenda, based in part on their party’s platform and their electoral coalition. Political scientists sometimes call the president the chief legislator; the president’s task is to persuade Congress that his agenda should also be Congress’ agenda. 3. Presidents have many resources with which to influence Congress. They may try to influence members directly, but more often will leave White House Lobbying to the congressional liaison office and work primarily through regular meetings with the party’s leaders in the House and Senate. 4. Rather than creating the conditions for important shifts in public policy, an effective president is a facilitator who works at the margins of coalition building to recognize and exploit opportunities presented by a favorable configuration of political forces. 5. Presidential success rates for influencing congressional votes vary widely among presidents and within a president’s tenure in office. Presidents are usually most successful early in their tenures and when their party has a majority in one or both houses of Congress. Regardless, in almost any year, the president will lose on many issues. C. Party, Constituency, and Ideology (pp. 377-381) 1. Party Influence (pp. 377-380) a) Parties are most cohesive when Congress is electing its official leaders. A vote for the Speaker of the House is a straight party-line vote. On other issues, the party coalition may not stick together. Votes on issues like civil rights have shown deep divisions within each party. b) Differences between the parties are sharpest on questions of social welfare and economic policy c) In democracies with parliamentary systems such as Great Britain, almost all votes are party-line votes. Parties are considerably weaker in the United States. Party affiliation does influence votes of U.S. legislators, but in a typical year, a majority of Democrats and Republicans oppose each other less than half the time. d) Party leaders in Congress are limited in their powers to obtain support from party members. They cannot remove a recalcitrant member from the party, although they do have some influence (such as committee assignments). Recently the parties – especially the Republicans – have been a growing source of money for congressional campaigns. 2. Constituency versus Ideology (pp. 380-381) a) There are a variety of views concerning how members of Congress should fulfill their function of representation. (1) Trustees believe that each question they face must be decided on its merits. Conscience and independent judgment are their guides. Trustees call issues as they see them, regardless of the views held by their constituents (the people and interests the senators represent) or by any of the other groups that seek to influence their decisions. (2) Instructed Delegates see themselves as the agents of those who elected them. They believe that they should vote the way they think “the folks back home” would want. They are willing to suppress their own views, ignore those of their party’s leaders, and turn a deaf ear to the arguments of colleagues and of special interests from outside their constituencies. (3) Partisans are those lawmakers who owe their first allegiance to their political party. They feel dutybound to vote in line with the party platform and the wishes of their party’s leaders. Most studies of

legislators’ voting behavior show that partisanship is the leading factor influencing their votes on most important measures. (4) Politicos attempt to combine the basic elements of the trustee, delegate, and partisan roles. They try to balance these often conflicting factors: their own views of what is best for their constituents and/or the nation as a whole, the political facts of life, and the peculiar pressures of the moment. b) Winners of congressional elections tend to vote on roll calls pretty much as they said they would. The most effective way for constituents to influence congressional voting is to elect candidates who match their policy positions. c) On some controversial issues, it is perilous for a legislator to ignore constituent opinion. Representatives and senators have recently been concerned about the many new single-issue groups that will vote exclusively on a candidate’s position on a single issue (such as gun control), and not on the member’s total record. d) Members of Congress do pay attention to voters, especially on visible issues, but most issues do not interest voters. However, it is difficult for legislators to know what the people want. On less visible issues, other factors (such as lobbyists and the member’s individual ideologies) influence policy decisions. D. Lobbyists and Interest Groups (pp. 381-383) 1. Lobbyists – some of them former members of Congress – represent the interests of their organization. They also can provide legislators with crucial information, and often can give assurances of financial aid in the next campaign. 2. There are more than 14,000 individuals in Washington representing nearly 12,000 organizations. The bigger the issue, the more lobbyists are involved in it. 3. Paid lobbyists whose principal purpose is to influence or defeat legislation must register and file reports with the secretary of the Senate and the clerk of the House. a) A 1995 lobbyist regulation law requires anyone hired to lobby members of Congress, congressional staff members, White House officials, and federal agencies to report what issues they were seeking to influence, how much they were spending on the effort, and the identities of their clients. b) In theory, the disclosure requirements would prevent shady deals and curb the influence of special interests. VI. Understanding Congress (pp. 383-389) A. Congress and Democracy (pp. 383-384) 1. In a large democracy, the success of democratic government depends on the quality of representation. 2. Congress clearly has some undemocratic and unrepresentative features: its members are an American elite; its leadership is chosen features: its members are an American elite; its leadership is chosen by its own members; voters have little direct influence over the people who chair key committees or lead congressional parties. 3. There is also evidence to support the view that Congress is representative: Congress does try to listen to the American people; the election does make a difference in how votes turn out; which party is in power does affect policies; linkage institutions (political parties, the media) do link voters to policymakers. Members of Congress are responsive to the people, if the people make it clear what they want. B. Reforming Congress (pp. 384-386) 1. Reformers have tried to promote a more open, democratic Congress. To a large degree, they have succeeded. 2. In the 1950s, the real power was at the top. Committee chairs were automatically selected by seniority, and their power on the committee was unquestioned. C. Democratization (pg. 385)

1. Lyndon Johnson started the reform process during his tenure as majority leader when he implemented the “Johnson rule,” which gave each senator a seat on at least one key committee. This reform allowed junior members more room at the top. 2. By the 1970s, the reform movement tried to create more democracy by spreading power around. Chairs were elected by the majority party (some chairs were replaced), and the power of committee chairs was reduced. Subcommittees became the new centers of power in Congress. 3. The proliferation of informal caucuses has tended to decentralize power in Congress, although recent reforms by the Republicans may change this. D. Representativeness versus Effectiveness (pp. 385-386) 1. The central legislative dilemma for Congress is combining the faithful representation of constituents with the making of effective public policy. 2. Supporters see Congress as a forum in which many interests compete for a sport on the policy agenda and over the form of a particular policy (as the founders intended). 3. Critics wonder if Congress is so responsive to so many interests that policy is too uncoordinated, fragmented, and decentralized. Some observers feel that Congress is so representative that it is incapable of taking decisive action to deal with difficult problems. E. Congress and the Scope of Government (pp. 386-387) 1. Americans have contradictory preferences regarding public policy. They want to balance the budget and pay low taxes, but they also support most government programs. These contradictory preferences may help explain the pervasive ticket splitting in national elections, which has frequently led to divided government. 2. Big government helps members of Congress get reelected and even gives them good reason to support making it bigger. However, Congress does not impose programs on a reluctant public; instead it responds to the public’s demands for them.

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