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2012-10-31 The Congress in Action.docx

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Political Science
Political Science 2244E
P Ferguson

The Congress in Action October 31, 2012 Last week -How a bill becomes a law -most die, system designed to move slowly -slows the whole process down -importance of filibuster and 60 votes -tensions between members and leaders -more power you give to leaders = faster -less power you give to leaders = slower -comparison between House and Senate -Demographic makeup of Congress -higher-class, male, white, wealthier, more educated Current Speaker: John Boehner -former Speaker of House: Nancy Pelosi Play Structure in the House -Speaker of the House -at the top/head of apex -runs everything in the House -has a lot of power -more power over course of history -decides who’s recognized on the floor in debates, assign bills to committees, decides order of votes, appoints members to select committees, a lot of unspoken power -Majority leader and minority leader -selected by majority in the party -Party whips -they go out and count votes -cajole people to vote party line -Committee assignments and legislative schedule -you want to be in committees that interest you or majority of your constituents are related to -e.g. if you are from a district that has a lot of military people, then you would want to be in a committee that is related to military or security Senate Majority Leader: Harry Reid -from Nevada -Mormon Party Structure in the Senate -President pro tempore (Daniel Inouye) -longest serving senator -from Hawaii -they’re in succession line (if President dies) -President of Senate: Vice President of U.S. (Joe Biden) -when there’s a tie in Senate vote, VP would break the tie -Leaders (majority and minority) -majority leader Harry Reid runs a lot of the Senate -rules in Senate are more flexible than the House -a lot easier to get things on calendar if no support from majority leader -party whips -party policy committee -committee assignments The constitution requires that cabinet officers, judges, ambassadors, and other high-ranking executive officials be confirmed by the Senate. Congressional Caucuses -caucus: an association of members of Congress created to advocate an interest -most of the time bi-partisan -Intra-party caucuses (Black; Prayer) -pushAfrican-American issues in House and Senate, as well as both parties -Personal interest caucuses (Human Trafficking) -don’t have subc
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