PO 111: CONGRESS LECTURE
First branch of government, not just a legislature but also most powerful
legislature in the world. The range of congressional action – legislation,
appropriations, appointments and treaties.
Why a separate election? No need for party discipline to keep government in
power. Belief among members they can and must control their own political
destiny independent of the party’s fortunes.
I. Most people hate congress and look down on it.
Congress is supposed to be closest to the people and people dislike it
People rate the unelected Supreme Court judges higher than they
congressman they elect.
Congress is VERY complicated
Congressmen, however, are usually always re-elected.
II. Congress was the first branch of government,
Congress is a legislature- however it reaches into the executive branch.
Congress sets all budgets
Congress is very powerful
As a whole has the power to pass laws
Holds hearings to discuss issues
Appointments approaching leadership positions
Treaties—Approval from senate
III. Congress as a whole
Abill becomes a law (simplified order)
o Introduced and sent to committee
o Hearing is held to markup
o Rules committee decides where and when to debate on floor.
o Continuation and markup
o Get votes/ signatures
o Possible veto or override
o Power on what can and can not be adopted
o Will bill go on?
o How long?
The senate is more informal in comparison to house.
o Committee > can veto legislation that may have a lot of
support. PO 111: CONGRESS LECTURE
o Rules committee (can stop bill dead in its tracks)
o Filibuster threats/actions in senate
• 60 votes to stop a filibuster
Departures from the regular order:
(When congress isn’t working the way it is supposed to)
o The increased use of the filibuster threat
o Policymaking b self induced crisis
E.g: What we have just seen in the shut down crisis
(instead of proposing a bill to c