Chapter 11: Congress
11.1|The Institutional Design of Congress
1. What is the history as to why Congress is a bicameral legislature?
2. In what article of the Constitution is Congress granted its power?
3. Which branch of government - executive, legislature or judiciary - did the founding fathers want to be the strongest? Why?
4. In order for a bill to go to POTUS for signature, it has to be identical (the same language in the House and Senate version of the bill). The Framers intended this to be a difficult process. Why did they set up the process this way?
5. How long is the term in the House?
6. How long is the term in the Senate?
7. How many Senators does each state have?
8. How many total members of the House are there?
9. What is the minimum age for the House?
10. What is the minimum age for the Senate?
11. How are the number of members of the House for each state determined? How often does redistricting take place? What is redistricting?
12. True or false. As the total population of the U.S. increases, there are additional seats added to the House
13. How many people does the average member of the House represent?
14. What is gerrymandering?
15. What are three types of Congressional powers?
16. List the nine (9) examples of enumerated powers from Article I, Section 8
17. The author argues which enumerated power is the most powerful that Congress has?
18. Which enumerated powers are "checks" on the other branches of government?
19. Explain what the "necessary and proper clause is" and what impact it has on how Congress functions on day-to-day basis
20. What are "inherent powers"?
21. What are the reasons why the power struggle began between the president and Congress? Which branch is stronger now, Congress or president?
22. How have the structural and other differences between the House and Senate impacted how the two chambers function?
23. What was cost in 2014 of a successful House and Senate campaign?
24. What was the impact of Citizens United case on campaign spending?
25. What's the difference between a PAC and a Super PAC including limits on campaign donations?
26. Are there limits on how much individuals can contribute?
27. What percentage of incumbents in the House are re-elected?
28. There are at least three (3) advantages incumbents have (incumbency effect) v. challengers, what are they?
11.3 Congressional Representation
29. Explain the difference between delegate model of representation, trustee model of representation and politico model of representation.
30. Explain which model you want your congressional delegation (House member and Senators) to follow
31. Describe the demographics of Congress. How representative is it compared to the overall population?
32. What is "pork barrel politics"?
33. What explanations does the author provide for why overall approval for the job Congress does is so low (<20% approval) but re-election for incumbents is so high?
11.4 House and Senate Organizations
34. What is the role of the Speaker of the House? Why is the position so powerful? Is there an equivalent position in the Senate?
35. What is the role of the majority leader, minority leader and whips in the House?
36. What are the two most powerful positions in the Senate?
37. Where does most of the work happen in Congress? Where do most bills die?
38. How many standing committees in House and Senate?
39. What are the reasons why members would want to serve on certain committees?
40. Why are committee chairs so powerful?
11.5|The Legislative Process
41. Explain the classical legislative process. What are all the steps for a bill to get to the president for signature?
42. What's a filibuster? What's cloture? How do they impact the work of Congress and getting a bill passed?
43. What's an omnibus bill?
44. What's the difference between the modern filibuster and the traditional filibuster?