The US Legislature

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What does the US legislative branch of government consist of?
Congress
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What 2 chambers/houses does Congress consist of?
Senate and House of Representatives
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What chamber/house of the Senate and House or Representatives is the upper house?
Senate
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Thus, what is the lower house?
House of Representatives
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Where is Congress geographically situated?
In Washington D.C. on Capitol Hill.
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Where is the House of Representatives situated in the Capitol Building?
Situated in the South Wing of the Capitol Building.
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Where is the Senate situated in the Capitol Building?
Situated in the North Wing of the Capitol Building.
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What are the 3 main functions of Congress?
Legislation, scrutiny and representation.
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What is the US Congress known as seeing as it has 2 chambers/houses?
Bicameral
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How many senators does each state have?
2
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How many senators are there overall?
100
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How did the Founding Fathers decide that senators shall be elected?
Senators would be indirectly elected as they would be appointed by state legislatures.
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When were senators first directly elected by the people?
1914
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How long are the terms that senators serve?
6 years.
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How much of the Senate is up for election every 2 years?
1/3 of the Senate
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What is also elected on the same day as senators?
The elections to the House of Representatives are held on the same day as senators.
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How often are elections to Congress generally?
Every 2 years on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
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Some elections coincide with the Presidential Election but what are the ones that are in between them?
Mid-term elections.
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What is an easier way to remember Congress elections that coincide with the Presidential Election?
They are divisible by 4; 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 etc.
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So in what years are mid-term elections to Congress?
2002, 2006, 2010, 2014 etc.
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How are states represented in the Senate?
Equally: 50 states = 100 senators = 2 senators each
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How are states represented in the House of Representatives?
Proportionally to the population of each state.
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Which plan of the Philadelphia Convention does the Senate uphold; New Jersey Plan or Virginia Plan?
New Jersey Plan
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Why does the Senate uphold the New Jersey Plan?
States represented equally.
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Which plan of the Philadelphia Convention does the House of Representatives uphold; New Jersey Plan or Virginia Plan?
Virginia Plan
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Why does the House of Representatives uphold the Virginia Plan?
States represented proportionally to the population of each state.
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What does each House of Representatives member represent?
Represents a subdivision of the state known as a 'congressional district'.
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How many representatives are their?
435
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How are representatives elected?
Directly elected by the people.
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How long are the terms of representatives?
2 year terms.
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What are the 4 key positions in the Senate?
President, President Pro Tempore, Majority Leader and Minority Leader.
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What are the 3 key positions in the House of Representatives?
House Speaker, Majority Leader and Minority Leader.
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How does the legislative prevent tyranny of the executive?
Checks and balances.
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What are the 4 checks and balances by Congress on the executive?
Checks presidential nominees, overturn presidential vetoes, the power of impeachment and the power of the purse.
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Give an example of a Congress checking presidential nominees.
Robert Bork was nominated to SCOTUS but he was rejected by the Senate in 1987.
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Give an example of a President that was impeached by Congress.
President Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998 due to his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
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Give an example of Congress employing its power of the purse.
The Federal Government shutdow in 2013 over the Affordable Care Act, which was eventually successful in being passed.
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Give an example of a power that Congress possesses in overseeing the executive that it misuses.
The power to declare war.
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Why has Congress misused its power to declare war?
The last time Congress declared war was in 1941 against Japan as a result of the Pearl Harbour attack.
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What are the aims Congress's checks and balances of the executive?
Prevent tyranny and an authoritarian government.
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What 3 things define an effective check and balance by the legislative on the executive?
Good scrutiny, compromise and efficient government functioning to achieve shared powers.
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What is the consequence of an ineffective check and balance by the legislative on the executive?
Tyranny and an authoritatian government.
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What are the negative consequences of ineffective checks and balances by the legislative on the executive?
Too many checks and scrutiny or not enough resulting in corruption or gridlock.
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What 2 factors can affect the achievement of the aims of the checks and balances by the legislative on the executive?
Bipartisanship and partisanship.
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What does bipartisanship lead to regarding the aims of checks and balances by the legislative on the executive?
Effective checks and balances and compromise.
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What does partisanship lead to regarding the aims of checks and balances by the legislative on the executive?
Too many checks and too little compromise.
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What can bipartisanship do to party allegiances regarding checks and balances by the legislative on the executive?
Checks and balances encourage a spirit of bipartisanship and compromise between POTUS and Congress, especially if they are represented by a different party. They work best when they consider what is best for the country and siding with party lines.
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What can partisanship do to party allegiances regarding checks and balances by the legislative on the executive?
Checks and balances are often ineffective when branches work along partisan/party lines rather than considering what is best for the country. Can cause too many checks or too little compromise lacking an efficient government.
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In what check and balance does POTUS and Congress normaly co-operate in a spirit of bipartisanship?
POTUS and Congress normally co-operate in a spirit of bipartisanship to appoint nominations for SCOTUS. Congress rarely rejects POTUS's nomination.
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Give an example of Congress accepting POTUS's nomination to SCOTUS?
In August 2009, Congress (Senate) confirmed President Obama's first nomination to SCOTUS; Sonia Sotomayor.
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Give an example of POTUS and Congress not co-operating and being partisan leading to an ineffective check and balance and and inefficient government.
President Bill Clinton failed to get his healthcare reform passed by Congress in 1993-94 because he adopted a partisan approach ignoring the views of even moderate Republicans.
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What do some people believe about President Bill Clinton's impeachment relating to partisanship?
His impeachment in 1998-99 by a Republican controlled Congress was conducted along partisan lines. This shows a poor advertisement for effective checks and balances.
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Give a consequence of Congress and POTUS not being able to compromise and work together relating to checks and balances.
Some people argue that there are so many checks in the US system that gridlock can occur - where no institution can get anything done.
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Give an example of whether POTUS and Congress are dominated by the same party leading to ineffective checks and balances.
Periods of divided government such as the 40 years between 1969-2009 seeing 22 years of divided government often leading to gridlock.
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What are the 5 ways that Congress is investigating Russia-Trump ties?
Senate Intelligence Committee, House Intelligence Committee, Senate Judiciary Committee, House Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
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What are these 5 ways of investigation called?
Congressional Committees
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What is the Senate Intelligence Committee specifically investigating?
Russia's interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.
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What is the House Intelligence Committee specifically investigating?
Again, Russia's interferecence in the 2016 Presidential Election.
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What is the Senate Judiciary Committee specifically investigating?
The resignation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn over his controversial communication with Russian officials during the transition period before President Trump was sworn into office.
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What is the House Judiciary Committee specifically investigating?
Various fields such as any evidence that classified material has been leaked.
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What is the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee specifically investigating?
Leaks of classified information regarding Flynn and his contact with the Russians.
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Who is Michael Flynn and why has he entered the news?
Trump's former National Security Advisor and there is controversy over his communication with Russian officials during the presidential campaign and transitional period.
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Why would the level of scrutiny by the 5 congressional committees be limited?
Congress is Republican dominated and shall not scrutinise a Republican presidency and those around Trump too much.
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What is different about the members of the UK Parliament and US Congress relating to the executive?
Members of the executive are not part of the legislature.
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Where is the only place where members of the executive can be questioned?
Only in committee rooms can members of the executive be questioned.
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What does the Constitution not explicitly give Congress the power of?
Oversight
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What did the Founding Fathers intend for Congress relating to the executive?
The Founding Fathers intended Congress to scrutinise the Executive Branch.
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How can Congress scrutinise the Executive Branch?
Congress can amend and pass legislation, see how the laws it has passed are working, subpoena documents and testimony, hold individuals in contempt if they fail to provide Congress with information and make it illegal to lie in Congress.
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What can a lack of congressional oversight lead to regarding the executive?
Imperial presidents
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Give some examples of a lack of congressional oversight resulting to imperial presidents.
Nixon (though not near the end) and George W. Bush.
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Why did congressional oversight eventually have an impact on President Nixon?
He was impeached over the Watergate Affair/Scandal in 1974.
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Why was George W. Bush's presidency imperial due to the lack of congressional oversight?
He had great control over domestic and foreign policy actions such as the War in Iraq, the Patriot Act and the War in Afghanistan.
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How many investigatory hearings into Bush's executive actions were there between 2003-4?
37
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How many investigatory hearings took place during Clinton's first two years as President?
135
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What derogatory term describes Congress when it lacks oversight of the executive leading to imperial presidencies?
Executive Lapdog
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When did George W. Bush become heavily scrutinised?
When the Democrats took control of Congress in January 2007.
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Give some examples of Congress scrutinising Bush later in his presidency.
Faced the Democratic Committee Chairs of Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Robert Byrd of West Virginia in the Senate. In the House of Representatives he faced Henry Waxman of California in the committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
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What were the consequences of these committees scrutinising Bush later in his presidency?
In three weeks, four high profile executive branch officials were forced out by committees such as Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for firing eight US Attorneys for political and not professional reasons.
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What is notable about all modern examples of the Senate rejecting presidential appoitments and treaties?
They have all been under a divided government.
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Give some examples of these rejected presidential appointments and treaties.
Democratic Senate rejected Republican Reagan's nomination for the Supreme Cout in 1987, Democratic Senate rejected George H.W. Bush's John Trower for Secretary of Defense in 1989 and Republican Senate rejected Bill Clinton's Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
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What did the Senate and House Armed Services Committee investigate in 2007?
The War on Terror including the War in Iraq, the War in Afghanistan and the use of torture in Guantanemo Bay.
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What is the informal term used to describe Congress when it somewhat scrutinises the executive?
Executive Watchdog.
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What might happen if Congress is of the opposing party to the President/executive regarding scrutiny?
Congress that is of an opposing party to the President may simply scrutinise to embarrass the President and the Administration.
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How did the Republican Congress of 1998-9 act in this way?
Tried to make Democrat President Bill Clinton look like a cheating, unethical lyer over his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
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How did Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina describe the Democrat's oversight of George W. Bush?
"Political posturing and demagoguing which hasn't really changed anything."
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What is the informal term used to describe Congress that overly scrutinises the executive for little reason?
Executive Bulldog
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Thus, what are the three terms to describe Congress regarding its different intensities of scrutiny?
Executive Lapdog, Executive Watchdog and Executive Bulldog.
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What term shows the least scrutiny of the executive by Congress?
Executive Lapdog
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Which term shows the most scrutiny of the executive by Congress?
Executive Bulldog
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What appointment of President Trump's did Congress confirm regarding the Secretary of Defense in 2017?
James Mattis
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What was the vote count confirming Mattis?
26/1
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What is Mattis's nickname?
'Mad Dog' Mattis
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What were the key points of scrutiny on Mattis by Congress regarding his appointed position?
Iran, Syria, torture, F-35 and China.
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What were the key points from the confirmation hearing of Mattis?
LGBT in the military, Putin and Russia and NATO.
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What appointment of President Trump's did Congress confirm regarding the Secretary of State in 2017?
Rex Tillerson
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What was Tillerson's main previous position?
Former ExxonMobil CEO
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What did Congress (Senate) want to investigate in Tillerson's confirmation hearing?
Days before his confirmation hearing, reports arose that a subsidiary of ExxonMobil did business with Iran, Syria and Sudan while under US sanctions for terrorism.
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Why was Tillerson a surprise pick for Secretary of State?
He had no previous government experience.
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For how long did he work for ExxonMobil?
For more than 41 years and spent the last 10 years as chairman and chief executive officer.
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What is the Secretary of State's effective role?
The US's top diplomat.
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What did Russia award Tillerson in 2013 for his business with Igor Sechin; one of Vladimir Putin's top lieutenants?
Russia's Medal of Friendship.
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How did the Senate vote on Tillerson?
56 yes, 43 no, 1 senator didn't vote. Confirmed appointment.
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Who did President Trump appoint as Education Secretary?
Betsy DeVos
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What is DeVos's background?
She grew up in a wealthy family of Christian faith.
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Why did the established education system not approve of DeVos?
She previously supported education vouchers.
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What else did the established education system dislike about DeVos?
She has previously held anti-public school positions and she lacks experience or qualifications.
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What did the New Jersey affiliate of the National Education Association (NJEA) provide its members with regarding DeVos?
Gave its members the phone numbers to call for Democratic Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez.
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How has DeVos been previously involved in the Republican Party?
She chaired the Michigan Republican Party two different times and sat on the Republican National Committee.
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What does FORBES estimate DeVos's family's fortune to be?
$5.1 billion
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How did the Senate vote on DeVos's appointment?
50-50 split
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Who decides a split decision in the Senate?
The Vice-President who is also the President of the Senate.
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Who is the current Vice-President and President of the Senate?
Mike Pence
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How did Mike Pence vote breaking the Senate's split vote?
In favour of DeVos's appointment confirming her as Education Secretary 51-50.
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Did any Democrats vote in favour of DeVos?
No
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Who was confirmed as Trump's appointment as CIA Director?
Mike Pompeo
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Who was confirmed as Trump's appointment as Homeland Security Secretary?
Retired General John Kelly
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Who was confirmed as Trump's appointment as Transportation Secretary?
Elaine Chao
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Who was confirmed as Trump's appointment as UN Ambassador?
Nikki Haley
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What house/chamber is the 2nd in the US; Senate or House of Representatives?
Senate
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What house/chamber is the 1st in the US; Senate or House of Representatives?
House of Representatives
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What house/chamber is the 2nd in the UK; House of Lords or House of Commons?
House of Lords
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What house/chamber is the 1st in the UK; House of Lords or House of Commons?
House of Commons
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What power has the Senate exercised over international affairs?
Power to declare war; last time was on Japan in 1941 after Pearl Harbour. Power to ratify (sign) treaties such as the Iran Deal (2015).
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What power has the House of Lords exercised over international affairs?
Lacks the power to declare war due to the Prime Minister's Royal Prerogative as part of the House of Commons.
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State 2 countries in which both chambers have equal powers over all legislation.
Italy and Switzerland.
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Does the US have an evolutionary or revolutionary constitution?
Revolutionary
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Does the UK have an evolutionary or revolutionary constitution?
Evolutionary
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Why are the US and UK's respective Senate and House of Lords similar and different regarding their power over international affairs?
In the US the Senate's powers are outlined by a codified constitution whereas the UK has an uncodified constitution meaning it is evolutionary and could change.
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What power does the Senate have and has the Senate exercised regarding representation?
100 senators leading to greater representation for smaller states upholding the New Jersey Plan.
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In what area of representation might the Senate be criticised for?
Representation of the US's population's demographics; e.g. lack of ethnic minorities and women represented.
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What power does the Senate have and has the House of Lords exercised regarding representation?
92 hereditary peers in the House of Lords. Moreover, the Lords doesn't have constituencies to represent.
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Why is the Senate different from the House of Lords regarding their exercised power of representation?
The states are represented equally whereas constituencies are not represented at all in the UK in the Lords.
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How might the Lords also be criticised regarding represention except constituencies?
It also mis-represents the UK's population's demographics.
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What power does the Senate have and has exercised regarding checks against executive power?
Senate checks nominations from the executive e.g. Robert Bork's nomination for SCOTUS was rejected in 1987.
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What power does the Lords have and has exercised regarding checks against executive power?
The Parliament Act (1911, 1948) enables the Commons to overrule the Lords e.g. the Fox Hunting Act (2005).
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Why is the Senate and Lords different regarding checks against executive power?
The move towards modernisation and greater democracy has reduced the Lords's power in the UK. Conventions on money bills and the Salisbury convention, have given greater power to the Commons.
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What power does the Senate have and has exercised regarding membership?
100 elected senators.
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What power does the Lords have and has exercised regarding membership?
800 unelected members.
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Why is the Senate and Lords different regarding their power of membership?
Second chamber in the UK is unelected limiting their role. The Senate is elected since the 17th Amendment. Senators are given more power than Lords in the UK.
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Give some reasons for the Senate being more powerful than the House of Representatives.
Senate has exclusive powers: ratify treaties, confirming nominations and elected the Vice-President if the Electoral College is deadlocked. Senators represent an entire state. Representatives seek election to the Senate. 4 years longer in office. Etc
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Give some reasons for the House of Representatives being more powerful than the Senate.
Initiates money bills, power of impeachment and the House of Representatives elects the President if the Electoral College is deadlocked.
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Give some reasons for the Senate and House of Representatives being equally powerful.
Members recieve the same salaries: $174,000. Co-equal in passing legislation, both houses vote to overturn POTUS's veto, co-equal in initiating constitutional amendments, both declare war and both confirm appointed Vice-President.
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What is the only other country in the world in which the second chamber has greater powers than the lower/first chamber?
Bosnia and Herzegovina
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How many countries in the world have chambers with equal powers?
15
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How many countries in the world have second chambers with lesser powers than the lower/first chamber?
41
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In how many countries can legislation be introduced in either chamber?
13, e.g. in the UK
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What is the system for introducing legislation in Germany?
Legislation can only be introduced in the upper house before passing to the lower house (Bundestag).
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In some countries there is a limit on the amount of time that can be spent on considering legislation; give an example.
In Poland and the Czech Republic the upper house is limited to 30 days consideration, and 8 weeks in Austria.
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State a country in which the second chamber has more limited powers over financial legislation.
The UK (second chamber = Lords).
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What are the exclusive powers of the House of Representatives?
Elected representatives should have the first say in public spending, power of impeachment and elects President if the Electoral College is deadlocked.
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What are the exclusive powers of the Senate?
Confirm POTUS's appointments by a simple majority, ratify treaties made by POTUS by a 2/3 majority, try cases of impeachment and elect Vice-President if Electoral College is deadlocked.
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What are the powers shared by the Senate and House of Representatives?
Co-equal in passing legislation, vote by a 2/3 majority to override POTUS's veto, declare war and confirm a newly appointed Vice-President.
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What is the legislative process in the US?
First Reading, Committee Stage, Timetabling+Senate Traffic Cop, Second Reading+House Traffic Cop, Filibustering Senators+House Traffic Cop, Third Reading+Filibustering Senators,Conference Committee+Third Reading,Final Bill Version,Bill sent to POTUS.
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What 3 things happen in the Committee Stage?
Hearing a bill, mark-up session and reporting.
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What happens in timetabling?
Sorting out the legislative traffic jam.
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What is Senate Traffic Cop?
Unanimous consent agreements.
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What happens in the Second Reading?
The first time the whole house has detailed the bill.
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What is House Traffic Cop?
House Rules Committee
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What is the leadership decides the final version of the bill more commonly known as?
Pingponging
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How many paths can a bill take when its sent to POTUS?
3
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What is the one way?
1. Congress can put right the amendments suggested by POTUS. 2. Congress can override the veto. 3. Bill is lost.
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What is another way?
1. President signs bill into law. 2. President leaves bill on desk. 3. Bill becomes law.
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What is the last but not least way?
1. President can veto the bill. 2. President can use pocket veto. 3. Bill becomes law.
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How does the legislative process work in the US in a 'nutshell'?
POTUS proposes legislation in the form of bills to Congress. The bill runs concurrently through both houses/chambers. Needs to be passed by both houses/chambers. A bill has 2 years for it to be passed or it fails.
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How does the legislative process work in the UK in a 'nutshell'?
Green papers, white papers, (bills can start in either house/chamber) first reading, second reading, third reading, royal assent.
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What can seriously delay or stop a bill from being passed?
Filibustering
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What is filibustering?
Senators/representatives talking down a bill for extended periods of time.
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How many Congresses have there been?
114
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What is the current makeup of the Senate (Republicans and Democrats)?
54 Republicans and 44 Democrats.
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What is the current makeup of the House of Representatives (Republicans and Democrats)?
246 Republicans and 188 Democrats and 1 vacant.
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Who is the current House Speaker of the House of Representatives?
Republican Paul Ryan
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Who is the current Majority Leader of the House of Representatives?
Republican Kevin McCarthy
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Who is the current Minority Leader of the House of Representatives?
Democrat Nancy Pelosi
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Who is the President of the Senate/Vice-President?
Republican Mike Pence
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Who is the current President Pro Tempore of the Senate?
Republican Orrin Hatch
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Who is the current Majority Leader of the Senate?
Republican Mitch McConnel
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Who is the curreent Minority Leader of the Senate?
Democrat Chuck Schumer
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How has the 114th Congress changed since the 113th in terms of key figures' political parties?
House Speaker now a Republican from a Democrat, Majority Leader in both houses/chambers now a Republican from a Democrat, Minority Leader in both houses/chamber now a Democrat from a Republican and Vice-President now a Republican from a Democrat.
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Who did President Obama nominate to SCOTUS in March 2016 whom failed to be confirmed by the Republican controlled Congress?
Judge Merrick Garland
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What are the reasons for partisanship in Congress?
Democrats fielding liberal candidates in conservative areas turn to Republicans, Reagan attracted conservative Democrats to the Republicans, conservative Democrats retired replaced by Republicans (John Breaux) and reporting of politics by the media.
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What are 'blue-dog' Democrats?
Socially liberal but financially conservative and likely to 'cross the isle' with the Republicans.
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What does 'cross the isle' mean?
Vote with the other/opposite party.
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How did the Iran Nuclear Deal squeeze through the Senate?
Took Obama 8 weeks of phone calls, letters, meetings, a social event and one narrow procedural vote to secure implementation of his nuclear accord with Iran in the Senate.
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What was the final vote on the Iran Deal?
58-42 in favour
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Is partisanship high or low at the moment?
High
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Give some statistics on current levels of partisanship.
Republicans currently view the Democrats 58% very unfavourably and 91% unfavourably. The Democrats view the Republicans 55% very unfavourably and 86% unfavourably (2016).
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Give the correct definition of bipartisanship.
Close co-operations between 2 major parties. In the US its possible to have a POTUS from one party and a Congress controlled by another.
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Give the correct definition of partisanship.
Working strictly within party lines and refusing to compromise.
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Give the correct definition of gridlock.
Neither the executive or the legislature can agree on an issue.
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Give the correct definition of divided/undivided government.
Divided government refers to a situation where one party controls the presidency and another Congress.
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Why do checks and balances exist?
To ensure that no one institution becomes more powerful than the other preventing authoritariansm and tyranny. Also ensure effective governance by working together to acheive their shared powers.
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What POTUS had the highest partisan support in Congress since 1953?
President Obama
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What was Obama's agreement percentages with the 2 houses/chambers of Congress?
96.7% in the Senate and 94.4 in the House of Representatives.
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What was the longest period of time in which the House of Representatives was dominated by a party?
40 continuous years by the Democrats from 1957-97.
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What was the longest period of time in which the Senate was dominated by a party?
26 continuous years by the Democrats from 1955-81.
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What are some congressional committees?
Standing committees, the House Rules Committee, conference committees and select committees.
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What is the committee system?
A system made up of many different types of committee, which perform legislative and investagatory functions. Members of the executive can only directly questioned in committee rooms giving the system an added importance.
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What is the most important type of committee?
Standing committees which are policy specialists.
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How is the House Speaker of the House of Representatives elected?
Elected by the entire House membership at the start of each Congress every 2 years. The nominee will likely be a member of the largest party in the House.
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What does the Constitution not require about the House Speaker?
The House Speaker doesn't constitutionally have to be a serving member of the House; although all Speakers have been.
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What are the 5 powers of the House Speaker?
Act as presiding officer of the House,interpret+enforce the rules of the House+decide on points in order,refer bills to standing committees,appoint select committees+conference committee chairs,appoint majority party members in House Rules Committee.
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What is the House Speaker's position in the government according to the Constitution?
Third in line to the presidency after the Vice-President/President of the Senate.
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Why did the 25th Amendment make this constitutional rule less significant?
The Vice-Presidency must be filled if a vacancy occurs ensuring the House Speaker is always third 'in-line' to the presidency.
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How could the Vice-Presidency become vacant?
E.g. the President might die, be assasinated or not be able to conduct his duty meaning the Vice-President becomes the President and their position becomes a vancancy.
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What can the House Speaker do on partisan lines in a divided government?
If the House is controlled by the opposite party to the executive then the House Speaker may be of that party and oppose the executive e.g. Democrat Nancy Pelosi during the last 2 years of Republican George W. Bush's presidency.
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How are the Majority and Minority leaders elected?
Their respective parties in each house/chamber elect them every 2 years, at the start of each Congress.
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What are the 3 main roles of Majority and Minority leaders?
Act as day-to-day 'directors of operations' on the floor of their respective houses/chambers, hold press briefings to talk about thier party's policy agenda and act as liaison between the House/Senate and the White House.
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True or false? Majority and Minority leaders are in both the Senate and House of Representatives.
True
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What is the key role of the Senate Majority Leader?
Bringing bills for debate to the Senate floor.
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What is the key role of the House Majority Leader?
Plays a 'number two' role to the Speaker.
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What is the importance of the Majority and Minority leader roles regarding the presidency?
They can act as 'launching pads' for presidential candidates. E.g. President Johnson (1963-9) was Senate Majority Leader from 1955-61.
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How is the role of President Pro Tempore filled in the Senate?
Filled by the member of the majority party with the longest continuous service in the chamber.
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Where is the President Pro Tempore 'in line' to the presidency?
Third in line after the Vice-President and House Speaker in that order.
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Give some reasons for why the Senate might be more prestigious than the House of Representatives.
Senators represent the entire state, have 4 year longer terms (6 years), 1 of only 100, more likely to chair a committee of sub-committee or hold a leadership position, greater name recognition, recruiting pool for POTUS and VPOTUS, exclusive powers.
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Give some reasons for why the Senate might not be more prestigious than the House of Representatives.
Both houses have equal power in passing legislation, both houses approve the initiation of constitutional amendments and both houses recieve equal salaries ($174,000).
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What is a filibuster?
A device by which an individual senator, or group of senators, can attempt to talk a bill to death by using delaying tactics. This can occur because senators have a right to unlimited debate and a vote cannot take place until all debate is over.
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What was the longest filibuster?
Strom Thurmond spoke for 24 hours against a civil rights bill in 1957.
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How can a filibuster be stopped?
A filibuster can be stopped by a procedure known as a closure. A closure petition must be signed by 16 Senators and then voted for by at leat 3/5 of the entire Senate (60 senators).
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Why is a closure hard to obtain?
Senators can act in a partisan way supporting the filibuster.
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What is the record for the most closure petitions failed?
Senator Robert Byrd (Democrat West Virginia) brought a record of 8 closure votes to try to stop a Republican filibuster of a campaign finance reform bill. All 8 failed.
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What is a presidential veto?
POTUS refusal to accept Congresses approval or rejection in passing a bill.
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How can a presidential veto be overturned?
By a 2/3 vote in both the Senate and House of Representatives.
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What are the 2 types of presidential veto?
Regular veto and pocket veto.
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What is a regular veto?
POTUS returns a bill to the house in which it originated with information for his reasoning.
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What is a pocket veto?
When Congress adjourns within the 10-day period in which POTUS can review the legislation ensuring the bill doesn't become law.
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How many times did presidents use their regular vetoes between 1789-2009?
1,495
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How many times were their vetoes overturned in the period?
110
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What was the success rate of regular vetoes of presidents in the period?
93%
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How is a regular veto more likely to be overriden?
If Congress is controlled by the opposite party to the president.
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How many regular vetoes did President Kennedy use and how many were overriden and what was his success rate?
12, 0, 100%
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How many regular vetoes did President Johnson use and how many were overriden and what was his success rate?
16, 0, 100%
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How many regular vetoes did President Nixon use and how many were overriden and what was his success rate?
26, 7, 73%
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How many regular vetoes did President Ford use and how many were overriden and what was his success rate?
48, 12, 75%
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How many regular vetoes did President Carter use and how many were overriden and what was his success rate?
13, 2, 85%
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How many regular vetoes did President Reagan use and how many were overriden and what was his success rate?
39, 9, 77%
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How many regular vetoes did President George H.W. Bush use and how many were overriden and what was his success rate?
29, 1, 97%
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How many regular vetoes did President Clinton use and how many were overriden and what was his success rate?
36, 2, 94%
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How many regular vetoes did President George W. Bush use and how many were overriden and what was his success rate?
11, 4, 64%
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How many regular vetoes did President Obama use and how many were overriden and what was his success rate?
12, 1, 92.7%
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What makes it easy for House of Representatives members to represent people in their state/constituency?
High re-election rate at an average of 95%, if they are men and over and congressional districts are small making them easy to represent.
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What makes it hard for House of Representatives members to represent people in their state/constituency?
House members spend a lot of their time in Washington and less time with constituents, if they are women and many representatives don't live in the congressional district they represent as many states don't have a 'locality rule'.
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What makes it easy for senators to represent their state?
High re-election rate at an average of 85%, senators represent their constituents and they are important and influential
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What makes it hard for senators to represent their state?
The people in their state are so diverse, states are huge and have a large population, surrugote representation, senators spend a lot of time travelling to Washington and less time with their constituents and too many constituents to reply to.
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What are the 3 voting models of congressmen?
Delegate Model, Mandate Model and Trustee Model.
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What is the Delegate Model?
The Senator/Representative acts according to what their constituents actually want without their own conscience.
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What is the Mandate Model?
The Senator/Representative acts according to what they believe their constituents would want.
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What is the Trustee Model?
The Senator/Representative has had the trust of their constituents vested in them to act according to their own conscience. This could be in the national interest as opposed to that of constituents.
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What type of model is most likely to be influenced by the 'locality rule'?
Delegate Model
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What type of model of representation does it sound like this congressman would be following: I am a Senator and I feel like I have less accountability to my constituents as I only get re-elected every 6 years.
Mandate Model
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How about this congressman: I am ex Republican House member Wayne Gilchrist from Maryland. I should have followed the delegate model. In 2008 I was defeated in the congressional primaries because my constituents felt I was too liberal.
Delegate Model
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What different factors can be used to measure how far Congress/a congresman is representative and accountable of constituents?
Geography, model of representation, 'crossing the isle', race, age, gender and religion.
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How did the representation of females in Congress change from the 114th to the 115th Congress?
The number of women in both chambers remained unchanged at 104, the number of governors has dropped from 6 to 5. There will be 21 women in the Senate and 83 in the House compared to 20 in the Senate and 84 in the House previously.
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What percentage do women make up of Congress overall?
19%
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How does the US compare to other countries regarding the representation of women?
97th out of 193 countries according to research by the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
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What country in the world ranks first regarding the representation of women?
Rwanda
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How about second and third?
Bolivia and Cuba respectively.
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What is Rwanda's stats for its lower and upper houses?
64% and 39% respectively.
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What are the reasons for why it is harder for women to be represented and be representative in Congress in the US?
They face a double standard, voter pushback by voters who aren't ready to elect women to leadership roles and they lack the connections and party support of men.
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In what regard did the representation of women somewhat improve in Congress?
3 Democratic Senate candidates that were successful in their races are of minority backgrounds giving the chamber its highest number of women of colour on record.
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Who are these 3 Democrat female Senators?
Tammy Duckworth of Illinois is the first Thai American in the Senate, Kamala Harris of California is a Democrat of Jamaican and Indian parents and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada.
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What is the current total number of minority women in the Senate?
4
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What is the percentage of women in the US showing the mis-representation of them in Congress?
321 million people in the US and 51% of them are female.
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Who represents North Carolina's 12th Congressional District in Congress?
African-American Alma Adams
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What is significant about congressional district boundaries regarding representation?
Their boundaries are drawn so that they are likely to field an ethnic minority candidate.
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Obviously not all congressional districts' boundaries are drawn to ensure an ethnic minority candidate is fielded but what are these districts called that are designed as such?
'Majority-minority' districts.
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How is Congress representative of the racial demographics of America?
1/2 of minority groups are nearly represented proportionally to the population.
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How is Congress representative of the age demographics of America?
Elderly are a small proportion of the population but have lots of representation. Everyone 40 and under is not very well represented.
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How is Congress representative of the educational demographics of America?
Not representative but academia is arguably more important than being uneducated and representative.
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How is Congress representative of the religious demographics of America?
Most Americans are Christian and this is represented with only 39 non-Christians in Congress, 30 of which are Jewish.
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How is Congress representative of the geographical demographics of America?
Large population states are not as powerful despite the Virginia Plan being supposedely upheld by the House of Representatives. This is due to the Senate championing the New Jersey Plan.
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How is the LGBT community represented in Congress?
6 in the House of Representatives and 1 in the Senate.
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How many women were in Congress from 1979-80?
16
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How about from 2013-14?
98
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Who was the first female House Speaker in Congress?
Nancy Pelosi (2007-2010)
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How many women have served in the Senate to date?
39
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What political party more greatly represents women in Congress?
Democratic Party
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What factors influence the way congressmen/women vote?
Advice from colleagues and staff, conversing with fellow chamber and party members, House members from the same state, committee members, senior staff members, topic of vote, model of representation and pressure groups' influence.
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What is the Presidential Pardon?
Granted to POTUS under Article II, Section 2 of the US Constitution which states: POTUS "shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment."
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Who did President Obama famously use his presidential pardon on?
Transgender US Army private, Chelsea (born Bradley) Manning who was freed in May 2017 rather than her 2045 release.
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What crime did Manning commit?
She leaked diplomatic cables to the anti-secrecy group Wikileaks in 2010.
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Why was Manning's release controversial?
Some viewed her as a whistleblower who leaked secret documents to the public but to others she put the lives of US military personnel in danger.
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What is the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (2010) more commonly known as?
Obamacare
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Who vowed to repeal President Obama's healthcare reform (ACA)?
President Donald Trump
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What does the Affordable Care Act provide?
Health insurance subsidies for millions, stops insurers 'wriggling' out of coverage for contraception and prior conditions and limits the amount of individuals who can be charged for healthcare.
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Did Trump successfully repeal Obamacare in Congress?
No
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Why did Trump's repeal of the ACA fail?
Republican representatives in the House revolted as they weren't satisfied with his proposed replacement of the ACA.
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How much does the US currently spend on healthcare as a percentage of its GDP?
17% of GDP
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How many Americans gained health insurance under the ACA?
Over 20 million Americans.
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What is Planned Parenthood?
A healthcare non-profit organisation with 59 affiliates and 700 clinics in the US, some of which provide abortion services.
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What organisation is the largest single provider of abortions in the US?
Planned Parenthood
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What did some pro-life Republicans think that Planned Parenthood was doing?
Selling foetal parts for profit.
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What did Republicans in Congress vow to do if all Federal cash to the organisation was not stopped?
Vowed to force a Federal Government shutdown on 30th September.
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What would the result of Trump cutting funding to Planned Parenthood be?
Roughly 400,000 women would lose access to healthcare, especially for abortions.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

What 2 chambers/houses does Congress consist of?

Back

Senate and House of Representatives

Card 3

Front

What chamber/house of the Senate and House or Representatives is the upper house?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Thus, what is the lower house?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Where is Congress geographically situated?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
View more cards

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