Coleman Federalism



Structure of Congress

Based on Article 1, Congress is a bicameral


Bicameral= comprises two houses

Advise and consent for presidential appointments to courts and
cabinet positions.
Ratify foreign treaties
Conviction of president in impeachment trial



Evolution of Congressional

Congress has changed
since the beginning of the

More career-driven.
Members are more


U.S. House Tenure Has


435 seats are apportioned according to the population distribution.  Afterwards. .4 Senate  Constitution stipulates there will be two senators for every state.Representation and Reapportionment  9.  This is called reapportionment.  House  Census taken every 10 years.

9.4 .

 Gerrymandering.redistricting to secure a partisan advantage.  Restrictions placed on number of citizens in each district and district shape.4 . 9.Redistricting  Draw new boundaries for congressional districts after decennial census.

4 .Gerrymandering The Daily Show 9.

 Intended to increase non-white racial representation in Congress. .4  Congressional districts constructed so that racial and ethnic minorities comprise a majority of the population.  Ongoing debate about effectiveness.Majority Minority Districts 9.

Majority Minority Districts 9.4  What do you perceive as the strengths and weaknesses of these districts?  In House.  May increase opposition in Congress by making surrounding districts more racially conservative. . it has increased the number of black and Latino representatives.

and Hispanic Americans in Congress.2 .FIGURE 13.2: African Americans. 1951–2010 13. women.

 Most states choose their candidates in one primary prior to the general election.4 The congressional nomination process is similar to the presidential process. because of death or retirement .  Hardest fought primaries occur when there is an open seat.  Open seat: A House or Senate race with no incumbent.Congressional Nomination Process  9.

House Elections 9.4  Safe seat: a congressional district certain to vote for the candidate of one party.  Incumbency advantage: the electoral advantage a candidate enjoys by virtue of holding elected office.  Challengers face barriers to success.   Low visibility Fewer resources .

2 . but use best judgement when making a decision.Models of Representation  Delegate  Representatives simply follow the expressed preferences of their constituents. 13.  Trustee  May listen to constituent opinion.

Models of Representation 13.2  What are the strengths and weaknesses of the delegate model?  What are the strengths and weaknesses of the trustee model?  Which model of representation do you endorse?  Could their application depend on the context? .

2 Reelection Public Policy Gaining influence within party Serve constituents  Which objective are members of Congress more concerned about?  Reelection .Objectives of Representation  Objectives of Members of Congress     13.

4 Representatives engage in constituency service:  District service: effort by members of Congress to secure federal funding for their districts.Representative Behavior  9.  Casework: to help constituents when they have difficulties with federal agencies .

 Typical House member employs 18 personal staff assistants.Member Resources 9. mail).S.  A Washington office and one or more district offices.4  Each member has:  Use of the franking privilege (free use of the U.  Travel subsidies .

 The average total spent by winning House candidates was almost $1.2 million in 2012.4  Elections for Congress have become increasingly expensive.  The gap between incumbent and challenger spending has widened.Campaign Funds 9. .  The average winning senatorial candidate spent almost $10.5 million in 2012.

4 .9.

 Senate elections differ from House elections in:  Party competition  Uncontrolled information  Better challengers  The high ambitions of senators .4  Incumbent Senators lose more frequently than incumbent House members.Senate Elections 9.

National Forces in Congressional 9. and more distinct. political parties .  More unified.  Evidence suggests that congressional elections are more nationalized today.4 Elections  Incumbent Senators lose more frequently than incumbent House members.  Coattails  Positive electoral effect of a popular presidential candidate on congressional candidates of the president’s party.

3  Must grasp information on variety of issues  Must understand what other members think about the issues  Collective Action  Some members bear disproportionate cost of passing legislation compared to other members  May lead to inaction on legislation  “Cycling”  Lawmakers have a hard time deciding among a range of different policy options .Challenges Faced By Members of Congress  Information Costs 13.

Congressional Structure  Congressional committees help solve the collective action problem  Members are assigned to committees that cover particular policy areas.4 . 13.

 Subcommittees  Typically established within standing committees..  Manage the bulk of legislative work (e.4  Standing Committees  Well-defined policy areas. policy deliberation.Types of Committees 13. policy formulation and policy evaluation.  Serve information gathering function.  Handle subtopics being considered by standing committee.g. .

4  Select Committees  Address more time-sensitive.  Joint Committees  Permanent committees that focus on specialized issue areas. embassy in Benghazi. are disbanded after policy issue has been resolved. . House select committee to investigate attack on U. specialized policy issues. Libya.  Typically.  Typically involved in collecting information on issues.Types of Committees 13.  Example.S.  Include members from both chambers of Congress.

13.  Committee chairs  Chairs set the committee agenda.  Typically.  Relevant of committee issue are to congressional district.Committee Membership  There are two reasons that members of Congress choose to serve on certain committees.  Power of the committee.4 . the most senior committee member of the majority party.

Party Leadership in House  Speaker of the House  Selected by majority party  Determines party agenda  Majority Leader  Assists Speaker with party agenda  Second in command  Minority leader  Selected by party with fewer seats  Mobilizes party around congressional agenda  Whip (majority and minority)  Communicates message from party leadership  Rallies party around party agenda  Delivers votes to support party stance on issues 13.4 .

4 .Party Leadership in Senate  Majority leader  Same role as Speaker of House  Determines party agenda  President of the Senate  Vice President of the United States  Casts tie-breaking votes  Minority leader  Same role as minority leader in House  Mobilizes party around congressional agenda  Whip (majority and minority)  Same function as in the House 13.

4  Rise in political partisanship over past 30 years  Little evidence to suggest the public has become more liberal or conservative  Polarization and income inequality  “Back and forth” causality .Party Polarization Is Increasing 13.

4 .Party Discipline  Parties help overcome collective action problems by instilling discipline  Party caucus/Party conference Gathering of party members Often used to communicate party agenda  Minority leader Selected by party with fewer seats Mobilizes party around congressional agenda  Whip (majority and minority) Counts votes Persuades members to vote certain ways  Limit opportunities for leadership Deny key committee chair positions Limit access to party campaign funding 13.

S.Party Polarization 13. . History  Members of both parties vote in step with their party over 90 percent of the time.4  Evidence suggests party discipline is effective  Highest level of party polarization in U.

Party Voting (1969 to 1970) 13.4 .

4 .Party Voting (2001 to 2002) 13.

4 .Party Voting (2011 to 2012) 13.

5 .I’m Just a Bill 13.

5 .  Determined by Speaker in House  Typically. the president pro tempore in Senate  Later.Lawmaking Is Complicated  Bill needs sponsor to introduce to chamber  Routed to the relevant standing committee. assigned to subcommittees  Where most of work on bill is done  Amend bill 13.

Lawmaking Process  Goes back to full committee  Most bills die by this stage  “Table” bills by not acting on them  In Senate. goes directly to floor.  Determined by Speaker in House  Typically. goes to Rules committee  Determine terms of amendment process  Sponsor prefer as few amendments to be made as possible.5 . the president pro tempore in Senate  In House. 13.

amend bill to President’s liking.5 . 13. or override veto. Congress can drop bill. bill must go to conference committee.  Joint conference of members from both chambers  Compromise on conflicting portions of the bill.Final Stages  Frequently.  Revised bills go back to each respective floor for final vote  Goes to President to be signed  If vetoed.

5 .4: How a bill becomes a law (or not) 13.FIGURE 13.

5: Success rates for bills introduced in Congress 13.5 .FIGURE 13.

Questions  What are your general feelings towards Congress?  Why do you personally think they pass so few bills?  What role does party polarization play?  What could be done to reduce such polarization? 13.4 .