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Intentions of the founding fathers
Wanted federal govt characterised by `limited govt'
and `checks and balances'
Didn't seek a model similar to the British Parliament where the
govt pushes its policy through almost at its own will.
Built in negative bias.
Can appear to not get work done, apparent gridlock.…read more

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Philadelphia convention
Some FF wanted equal representation (Upper House
­ Senate).
Others wanted proportional representation (Lower
House ­ Representatives).
House = Directly elected
Senate = Indirectly elected ­ appointment by state
legislature (First direct elections held in 1914).…read more

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Composition of Congress
Women = c0nsistently under-represented (17% of
1992 ­ Democrat `Year of the Woman' = Doubled no.
of women in Congress.
Women also under-represented in the state
legislatures (Congress pool of recruitment).
Race ­ Majority-minority districts ­ Aim to increase
the ethnic minority make up of Congress.…read more

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Powers of Congress
Article one section eight of the constitution.
Exclusive powers:
· Initiate Money Bills (Direct electors should have 1st say on $).
· Impeachment
· Elect president if electoral college is in deadlock.
Senate (seen as more prestigious):
· Confirm appointments by President (Executive/judges).
· Ratify treaties negotiated by the president (Has to be kept
· Hear the impeachment trail.…read more

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Powers of Congress
Concurrent powers:
Co-equal in the passage of legislation (Neither house can override
the wishes of the other).
Both houses must vote by two thirds majority to override the
presidents veto. (Bush 2007 ­ Water Resources Development Bill).
Co-equal in initiating constitutional amendments.
Concurrence in a declaration of war.
25th Amendment = both houses have the power to confirm new
Vice-President (Occurred 1973 and 1974).…read more

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I liked this, but would have liked to see the oversight on the President done in more detail, and the effectiveness of the checks and balances mentioned,

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