POL326Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: United States House Committee On Rules, New Deal Coalition, Fasttrack

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14 Dec 2016
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Currently: Division of power between Congress and Obama re: Foreign Policy
US trade under firm control of Congress; however, over the last few decades things have changed
somewhat; Congress extremely inefficient in addition to being a system that represents various
constituents and interests; allows a small minority to block anything; if this arrangement is dominant in
determining trade policy, how can the US engage in free trade? Keeping in mind that free trade has
winners and losers; Also, Congress has for the most part been protectionist; in the last couple of
decades US engaged in a couple free trade agreements (NAFTA for instance); how? Congress delegated
authority to executive branch known as giving the president fast-track authority; what that means that
Congress recognized its inability of making free-tade aageets; hile US poli geeal ope doo
policy, on specifics not so much; Nixon: came up with fast-track authority allowing president to
negotiate with foreign powers and submit them to Congress, simply vote it up or down without having
the authority to amend it;
Under such arrangement, a number of free-trade agreements signed; since 2003 that arrangement has
expired; unlikely that Trans-Pacific Partnership to pass without fast-track authority; certain countries
ioled like Idoesia ad Vieta hae eteel lo ages, ad goes agaist etai Aeias
interests;
Canada part of the talks; Harper in favour of it; in Canada, it will likely pass;
Seymour Hirsch: Execution of Osama bin Laden;
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Discussion of US Constitution: continued…
- In order to understanding the nature of US FP, need to understanding the Constitution doc;
- Connecticut Compromise the current Constitution;
- Other means, to leave the doc relatively ambiguous;
- As such, the reader reads it based on their own interpretations;
- Constitution: three Articles;
- Article 1: powers of Congress as the Legislative Brach; framers pointed out, it is the most
dangerous branch (James Madison); if the government becomes tyrannical it is through the law
making branch; to avoid such, this branch to be designed to avoid the tyranny of majority; the
rectification of economic inequality to infringe on minority rights; consequently this branch to
be divided into two institutions: House of Reps based on Congress districts roughly equal in size
in terms of population but relatively small and each of them elect one member for a total of 435
for two year terms to make them as accountable as possible to the electorate; as such, the most
democratic branch of Congress; US SENATE: originally appointed; today also elected on the basis
of two Senators per state regardless of population; parcel of it also that the US system of
government based on regional representative; to represent the interests of its constituents not
the ideology of political parties; it is important as framers did not anticipate political parties; US
government designed to prevent rise of powerful parties; why parties rise? As a process of the
ratification of the Constitution; those opposed becoming anti-Federalist and those in favour the
Federalists; however, parties inherently stayed weak; one reason, each elections for each
houses are separate elections; the local party organizations determine who runs; parties are
extremely decentralized; true for both houses and presidential elections; as such 50 separate
party organizations; not controlled in any direct way by any official in Washington;
IMPLICATIONS: Democratic Party; has existed since Civil War; did not reach a stage of real
power in American politics; their base of support Southern segregationists (as Lincoln was
Republican) and northern progressive and unions; that New Deal Coalition lasted until 1960s;
change of allegiances by LBG; ‘epulias sa the oppotuit ad Nios southern strategy to
chisel away the support of racists to Republicans; now Bible belt centre of Republican party and
those Democrats that remain in south are due to their independence from party line; in Canada
and most of Europe (except West German model) based on parliamentary system and party line;
West Germany and now Germany is a hybrid movement;
- What is true of House of Rep is less true of Senate only in the sense that Senate seen as more
elite (large constituents and 6 year terms); idea as an upper-chamber and a place where greater
amount of debate could take place; Senators because insulated from public pressure for a long
time are better positioned to vote their conscience; but basic idea of containing majority power
embedded in Senate in particular (contrary to House of Reps); debate restricted in the House of
Reps; in the Senate no House Rules Committee; reason is that it empowers small minorities that
are strongly opposed to certain bills by preventing them to come to vote; Filibuster? Intention is
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