CH 12, pp. 320-346
CH 12, pp. 320-346
Congress in Action
• Speaker of the House
• 322 most important position in the
– Presides over the House of Representatives
– Head of the majority party in the House of
• Chosen by the majority party members.
– Third person in succession to replace the
President of the Senate
323 Presides over the Senate
The Vice President of the United States
Not chosen by the majority party
Not a Senator
Has no vote except to break a tie
• 326 the most important Congressional posts
go to those Senators in office longest.
• Traditional role
• Best committees
• Committee chairmanships
• Standing committee
• 329 permanent panel to which all bills could
be sent, researched, and discussed.
• Select committee
• 331 aka special committee
• Set up for a specific purpose
• Limited time
• Joint committee
• 333 composed of members of both houses.
• Consider many of the same issues that similar
committees in each house consider.
– Some believe that the committees in each house should be
replaced by joint committees to speed up research and
• Conference committee
• 333 when each house passes a bill, but with
differing provisions, a committee of members from
both houses temporarily gets together to work out
• 334 A proposed law.
• Presented in the House or the Senate
• Or any legislature
• Often started by the executive branch
Let’s read the XXXBill and see how one is written….
What do you notice by the end of the bill?
There is no mention of Air Traffic Control anywhere…..
335 new rule or procedure for a house
Amendment of an existing rule
Does not require presidential approval
• 335 Joint resolution
• Has the power of a law
• Usually for some specific event
• Concurrent resolution
• Passed in both House and Senate
• Does not have the power of a law
• 335 unrelated matter or law added to a larger
more popular bill.
• Added to the popular bill because it is not
likely to pass on its own.
• 336 used to force a bill that is being stalled in
committee onto the floor for a vote.
• 30 days in committee
• 7 days in the Rules Committee
• 339 A majority of the total membership needed to
– Allow the legislature to do business
– make a vote legal
• 343 an attempt to delay a Senate bill or kill it.
• An individual or group of Senators can talk (control
the floor) as long as they want, about anything they
want, so long as one person remains standing. End
344 Senate rule prohibiting debate
Aka Rule XXII
a petition is signed by at least 16 Senators
Vote taken two days after
Must be passed by 60 Senators.
If passed, no more than 30 hours of floor time
may be spent on the measure.
• 346 Presidential power to refuse a bill passed
by both houses of Congress
• Refuses to sign
• Pocket veto
• 346 a bill passed by Congress within 10 days
of adjournment can be ignored by the
President and dies.
Hwk Concepts, Class Work, to Know
• What are some duties of the party whips?
• Assist the floor leaders
• Serve as liaisons between the party’s
leadership and its members
• What is the purpose of a party caucus?
• Selects the floor leaders and deals with other
matters of party organization
• Why are standing committees called “subjectmatter” committees?
– They deal only with bills that concern a particular
• How do joint committees differ from conference
– Joint committees are either select or standing committees
– Conference committees are temporary and deal only with
resolving differences between the House and Senate
regarding a bill before it passes.
• Why is cloture hard to achieve?
• It requires a three-fifths vote of the full Senate
• Most Senators want to reserve the use of the
filibuster which can be useful and is traditional.
• What is the effect of the President’s veto and how
can Congress respond?
• A bill is returned to the house it originated, does not
• Congress may respond by passing the bill again,
overriding the President’s veto with a two-thirds vote
of the members in each house.
• Why do you think no equivalent for the filibuster
exists in the House of Representatives?
• The filibuster is a tool to stop long debates that can
take place in the Senate.
• The House has debate time limits because it has so
• Filibuster would ruin the House’ time-limit rules,
– The House could not effectively function
Why is there disagreement about the value
of the seniority rule?
• Those in favor of the
• argue that it ensures
• is easy to apply,
• and cuts down on
• Those opposed to the
• argue that it ignores
• discourages younger
• and insulates leadership
from public opinion.
• Images, 321, question
• Because the various officers have already
been chosen by conference beforehand
• Images, 322, question
• That most speeches are scripted and
rehearsed—even down to seemingly
“spontaneous” displays of emotion.
• Images, 323, question
• The Speaker has a more powerful role as
elected presiding officer of the House and
leader of the majority party.
• Images, 324, question
• The party in power always holds the post of
president pro tempore as well as majority
floor leader and majority whip
6 Images, 325, questions
• The Democratic Party
• The Republican Party
6 Images, 326, questions
Images, 330, question
Importance or influence of the committee
Images, 331, question
That such posts are often awarded to older,
experienced members of the majority party
Images, 332, question 12
• The vast majority of committee chairs are
above sixty years old
• Web resource: Research Congress
6 Images, 335, question
• Unlike joint resolutions, concurrent
• do not have the force of law and are not
signed by the President
• are statements of a US position
6 Images, 337, question
• The International Relations committee
• Images, 338, question
• That “debate” consists of politicians
expounding their own opinions without
listening to those of others.
FACE THE ISSUES, 341, questions
• to prevent one branch from gaining too much
– avoid “hasty and ill-considered” governmental
• people may believe that leaders behave more
prudently under divided government, when
opponents are watching them
– that drastic changes are usually avoided
• Images, 343, question
• It prevents a bill from reaching the floor for
• Images, 344, question
• In committee, after being introduced on the
12 Images, 345, question
• In the House, bills are sent to the Rules
Committee after the full committee revises
• In the Senate, bills proceed directly from the
full committee to floor action.
12 Images, 349, question
• legislation that is not likely to be received well
as that represented by the flowers and gift
• the use of riders
• 29 answers will vary, but should reflect
understanding of the lawmaking process.