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UNIT 4C: GOVERNING THE USA

SECTION 5: THE CONSTITUTION

Nature of the constitution:
Built on compromises:

1. The form of government:
From 1781 ruled under confederal, where virtually all powers rests
with the states.
COMPROMISE: Federal government, power rests nationally, but equally
as important powers rest at state level
2.…

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Principles of the constitution:
Separation of powers `shared powers'
Cannot be a member of more than one branch (Obama resigned from
senate to be President)




Legislature: Congress, makes the laws
Executive: Headed by the president, carries out laws
Judiciary: Supreme courts, enforces the laws
Aim of this:
Be independent yet…

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Federal division of power
Federalism is not actually in the constitution
Articles 1,2 & 3 lay out the power of the national government
Amendment X, all remaining powers are reserved to the states
Exclusive powers to the national government
Coin money
Negotiate treaties
Tax imports and exports
States rights
Equal…

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Wall street and the banking collapse of 2008:
September 2008 President Bush authorised using federal money to bail out
two mortgage companies who had suffered huge losses with the collapse of
the US housing market. The two companies involved were the federal National
mortgage association (Fannie May) and the Federal…

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SECTION 6: CONGRESS
Bicameral system

House of representatives
435 members, proportional to states
2012
Over 81 women, increase from previous years
47 African Americans
30 Hispanics
Senate
20 women
0 African Americans
2 Hispanics
Powers of congress
Exclusive powers:
HoR:
Consider all money bills
Impeach (accuse) any member of government…

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career than their House counterparts,
· Senators often enjoy much greater name recognition, not only in their
state but often across the nation as a whole.
· House members frequently seek election to the senate; the reverse is
almost unknown. In 2009 there were 48 former House members in the…

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17 in house (budget, financial services, veterans affairs, armed services)
Policy specialists
Most have subcommittees (house science & technology-energy &
environment-space)
Party balance in committee is in proportion to chamber
Chairman drawn from chambers majority party (usually though
seniority rule)
Functions:
Conduct committee stage of legislative process
Conduct investigations within…

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· Decide when they will meet
· Control budget
· Serve as a spokesmen on policy area to white house and media

The Legislative process
The legislative process in the US congress is best thought of in seven stages.

· First reading
· Committee stage
· Timetabling
· Second reading…

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second reading
· Committees have full power of amendment
· Because of huge numbers of bills being referred to each committee,
many bills are merely put to one side and never considered.
· For a bill that is to be considered, a hearing is held with witnesses
appearing before the…

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· In both houses, further amendments can usually be made
· Votes will be taken on amendments - simple majorities required to pass
· At the end of the debate, a vote will be taken on the bill
· The vote will either be a voice vote (for non-controversial bills)…

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