• Created by: evekav
  • Created on: 04-04-22 12:26
How does the HoR award political representation?
States get representation in proportion to their population -> larger states have more seats.
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How does the Senate award political representation?
2 senators per state regardless of population.
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What is the term length in:
a) the Senate?
b) the House?
a) 6 years
b) 2 years
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What is the number of senators/congresspersons in:
a) the Senate?
b) the House?
a) 100
b) 435
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What is the salary in:
a) the Senate?
b) the House?
a) $174,000
b) $174,000
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Who are the senior figures (115th Congress) in:
a) the Senate?
b) the House?
a) President=Mike Pence, Maj. leader=Mitch McConnell, Min. leader=Chuck Schumer
b) Speaker=Paul Ryan, Maj. leader=Kevin McCarthy, Min. leader=Nancy Pelosi
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When do congressional elections take place?
Every 2 years in November
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Who is up for election in the congressional elections?
All the House and 1/3 of Senators
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When do midterms take place?
Every 4 years, in the middle of each president's term.
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What are concurrent powers?
Powers given to both the House and Senate.
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What are the House's exclusive powers?
*Elect president if no candidate has over 50% electoral college - only happened twice (1800+1824)
*Begin consideration for money bills
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What are the Senate's exclusive powers?
*Try an impeachment case - 2/3 required to remove someone from office
*Elect VP if no candidate has over 50% ECV
*Ratify treaties - 2/3 vote to confirm treaties (eroded by executive agreements)
*Confirm executive appointments - 50%+ needed
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What voting system do congressional elections use?
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When will a primary occur?
When there is more than one candidate who wants to represent their party for that seat.
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How can midterms effect a president?
They can lose control of one or both chambers, making it harder to pass legislation.
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When has the presidential party gained seats in the house?
*Roosevelt - 1934
*Clinton - 1998
*Bush 2002
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What do parties usually do during a midterm?
Run a national campaign based around a common party platform.
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What is the example of Pelosi and Boehner and national mandates?
Pelosi - 100-hour agenda in 2006
Boehner - The Pledge To America in 2010
-> gave a national mandate to the incoming speaker as their party took a House majority.
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What is an incumbent?
The current holder of a political office
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In the 2016 election, what were the incumbency re-election rates?
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Up-to-date incumbency example?
Trump - failed to win the presidential vote for a second term in 2019 -> lost to Joe Biden
Joe Biden unlikely to win the next election if he chooses to stand.
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How can use of office be responsible for high incumbency re-election rates?
Congresspersons and senators can use office to establish popularity and attract major donors.
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What is gerrymandering?
Drawing electoral boundaries to favour a certain social group or party.
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How can safe seats and gerrymandering be responsible for high incumbency re-election rates?
Winner takes all = safe seats
Gerrymandering lets the dominant party draw district boundaries in their favour.
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What is pork barreling?
When a member of Congress proposes an amendment to legislation that brings benefits to a particular group.
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How can pork barrel legislation be responsible for high incumbency re-election rates?
It can benefit the constituency of the member of Congress and impact their re-election rates as they are seen as benefitting those they represent.
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What is a earmark?
An amendment added by a politician to *** expenditure to a bill that benefits their constituency.
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What is the example of pork barrel legislation in 2016?
Congress passed legislation to spend $475 million on a new navy ship (defence secretary and navy didn't want) - supported by Representatives Byrne from Alabama and Ribble from Wisconsin who represent districts with major ship building companies.
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How can financial advantage be responsible for high incumbency re-election rates?
Incumbents can attract more money than their challengers.
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Examples of money raised by incumbent v challenger.
Incumbent - total raised =$627.3
Challenger - total raised = $135.3
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How did states try stop high incumbency?
Creating term limits for their Congresspersons and Senators - this was struck down by the Supreme Court.
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How does public opinion effect how a Congressional politician votes?
Representatives must take into account opinion or risk being voted out of office
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How does the party/party leaders effect how a Congressional politician votes?
Representatives are pressured to vote according to the majority view; team competition promotes higher unity.
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Obama's stimulus budget in 2009 - explain if it was partisanship or public opinion.
No republicans voted for it - argued due to partisanship.
11 southern Democrats voted against - argued due to public opinion.
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How does caucuses effect how a Congressional politician votes?
Congressional caucuses - faction within Congress - some based on ideology, others on social characteristics or economic interests.
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How does interest groups/professional lobbyists effect how a Congressional politician votes?
These groups can influence voting through means including donations.
AFL-CIO and AARP=large memberships->can mobilise to create a threat of removal of members from Congress
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Example of Newtown shootings and National Rifle Association stopping legislation.
Obama unsuccessful in passing legislation to limit guns - NRA carried more weight than public opinion.
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What are the 4 key features of the legislative process?
*Weak parties and party leaders
*Obstacles to success
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Explain initiation in the legislative process.
Leaders in the House or Senate regularly initiate policy - more active if president has lost control of Congress in midterms.
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Explain Compromise in the legislative process.
House and Senate must compromise to pass legislation - a proposal may pass through the House and Senate at the same time meaning they have to reconcile - through a conference committee.
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Explain Weak parties and party leaders in the legislative process.
Party leaders have limited control over their own parties - many Congress members are more interested in prioritising concerns of their own state/district over the national agenda.
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What is gridlock?
Where the president and Congress are equally powerful and constantly prevent the other from acting = difficulty in passing legislation.
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Explain Obstacles to success in the legislative process.
*Senate and House = similar powers+have equal law making powers, chambers may have different priorities= conflict.
*Legislation has to pass through many congressional committees - likely to be stopped/changed
*Overriding presidential veto=2/3 majority.
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What is a Rules Committee in the HoR; who controls it?
Decides how long and under what rules the bill will be debated.
Speaker of the House controls it.
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What is a closed rule?
Where a bill can be discussed but no amendments can be offered.
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What is unanimous consent in the Senate?
All Senators involved agree on a decision being made.
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Why is unanimous consent used?
To agree rules for debate on legislation eg time spent or waive certain points of order.
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What is filibuster in the Senate?
Allows individual Senators insist on continuing to debate to prevent a vote taking place.
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What was the longest filibuster?
Strom Thurmond against the Civil Rights Act of 1957 - spoke for 24 hours 18 minutes.
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How many votes are needed in the Senate to pass legislation?
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What are the strengths of the legislative process?
*Checks and balances prevent tyranny, forces compromise.
*Quality policy comes from detailed consideration of bills and filters remove undesirable aspects.
*Individual and states' rights are protected.
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What are the weaknesses of the legislative process?
*Inefficiency/low output results from excessive need to compromise.
*High levels of partisanship mean parties are unwilling to compromise, leading to more gridlock.
*Poor quality legislation can come from quick compromise.
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What causes conflict between federal and state governments?
Acts of Congress can restrict states' ability to control their own affairs.
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Who tend to object federal laws and why?
conservatives - as they undermine federalism.
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How many bills did Congress introduce in the 114th Congress, of these how many were sent to Obama?
10,078 introduced
329 sent to Obama (3%)
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Examples of major legislation passed since 2008.
*American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009 - $787 bn injection into economy
*Patient protection and Affordable Care Act 2010 - requires all Americans to have health insurance
*The Freedom Act 2015 - revealed how the Patriot Act was being used to monitor
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Examples of major legislation failed passed since 2008.
*DREAM Act - aimed to allow all illegal immigrants who arrived in the US before 18th bday to have a right to remain.
*Gun regulations - VP Biden after Sandy Hooks shooting, would have banned assault rifles, limited magazines ad increased background checks
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What are the factors that limit the impact of Congress?
*President-can veto legislation passed by Congress
*Divisions-makes it hard to pass laws
*Supreme Court-can overturn acts of Congress using judicial review
*Partisanship-decreased will of parties to make compromise
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Example of presidential veto.
Obama veto of Affordable Care Act Repeal 2013
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Example of divisions in Congress limiting laws being passed.
2013 Senate passed immigration reform which was not taken up by the House.
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Example of SC judicial review.
Shelby County v Holder 2013 overturned key sections of VRA
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Example of partisanship decreasing compromise.
Democrats and Republicans could not agree on a budget in 2013 despite budget shutdown.
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How can Congress vote on presidential proposals?
*Vote against laws initiated or supported by the president
*Amend laws initiated or supported by president
*Determine funding for presidential projects
*Proposing legislation.
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How can Congress overturn a presidential veto?
2/3 vote in Congress can stop the president overriding its legislative goals - eg Obama's veto against the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act easily overturned by Congress.
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How does Congress limit the president's ability to initiate military action?
Declare war is a Congressional power - most presidents seek permission of Congress before initiating military action.
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How does Congress check the president's appointments?
Senate votes on nominations and accepts/rejects - eg Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court in 2016 was rejected.
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How does Congress check the presidential agreements with other countries?
Senate has to vote on treaties with other countries, needing 2/3 to ratify.
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How does Congress check the president with impeachment?
House impeaches -> Senate holds the trial
Unlikely to have an official removed.
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How do committees check the executive?
*Investigate departments and hold hearings for executive members
*House Committee on Oversight and Reform-sole role of scrutinising the executive
*Temporary committees can be created if an event of concern arises.
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What is imperial presidency?
A dominant presidency with ineffective check and balances from other branches.
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How can a president override Congress in terms of legislation?
Executive Orders
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Why might oversight be limited on the president?
*Majority in both chambers
*Skills of president
*Strong mandate
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What is the main power of Congress over the SC?
Amendment can be used to reverse or amend a Court ruling - eg 26th amendment (lowered voting age) overturned Oregon v Mitchell 1970.
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What are the other powers of Congress over the SC?
*Impeachment of justices (last attempt was in 1804)
*Determine number of justices on the Court
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What was the average unity in the 113th Congress?
92% for Democrats
90% for Republicans
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What has disappeared with the increase in partisanship?
The political middle - decline in moderate conservatives and Blue Dog Democrats.
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What is bipartisanship?
Two parties working together to fulfil congressional functions.
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Example of bipartisan agreement.
*Democrat and Republican senators worked together after 2012 election in the 'Gang of 8' to pass immigration reform.
*Compromises to allow budgets to be passed
*Agreed on removal of Senate filibusters for judicial nominations.
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How many substantive laws did the 112th and 113th Congress pass and what did this make them?
112th - 208
113th - 212
=making them the two least productive in its history.
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Explain the case study: gridlock and the Zika virus 2016.
Dem+Rep unable to agree on federal funding to tackle Zika in US -> Obama requested $1.9 billion but Congress cut to $1.1 billion + Senate Dems stopping bill as insufficient. No agreement reached.
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What is the implications of partisanship under a divided government?
President might fail to provide significant leadership, Congress could obstruct policy initiatives. EG Obama and Republican Congress (2011-16), Bush and Democrat Congress (2007-08)
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What is the implications of partisanship under a united government?
Major increase in presidential power, Congressional politicians may overlook oversight and fail to implement checks on executive. EG Bush and Republican majority (2003-08)
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What 3 changes have led to a change in congressional power?
*Rise in importance of foreign/military policy - undermined congress:international affairs controlled by pres+has more power over military.
*Nationalisation of midterms-centralised power into House Speaker, rival to pres in divided gov.
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What are the 2 different types of representation?
Delegate - responds to the people's wishes
Trustee - uses their own views to make judgements on behalf of the people
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Arguments that Congress is representative.
*Separate elections for president and Congress - maximises voter choice
*Two elected chambers -voters have 2 choices rather than one
*Frequent elections and short House terms - changes in public attitude can be reflected quickly
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Arguments that Congress is NOT representative.
*FPTP and gerrymandering - led to a distortion in public opinion
*Social representation - does not reflect the make-up of society, members cannot fully understand wishes of other racial groups
*Pressure groups - distorts wishes of public.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


How does the Senate award political representation?


2 senators per state regardless of population.

Card 3


What is the term length in:
a) the Senate?
b) the House?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What is the number of senators/congresspersons in:
a) the Senate?
b) the House?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What is the salary in:
a) the Senate?
b) the House?


Preview of the front of card 5
View more cards


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