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Congress 1

1-3 pg 370; 4-9 pg 361-3

QuestionAnswer
1.1 Using the generalist v. specialized notion, explain why policymaking can be so difficult for members of Congress. They are generalists trying to make policy on specialized topics, surrounded by people who know (or claim to know) more than they do.
1.2 a) Define a bicameral legislature. A legislature divided into two houses.
1.2 b) At the federal level, what is this (a bicameral legislature) the result of? The Connecticut Compromise at the Constitutional Convention.
1.2 c) What is each state guaranteed? - provide both Senate and House 2 senators, and the number of representatives a state has is determined by its population.
1.2 d) How does bicameralism create "another check and balance?" - be specific No bill can be passed unless both House and Senate agree on it; each body can thus veto the policies of the other.
1.3 a) Contrast the House and Senate in membership size House - 435, Senate - 100
1.3 b) Contrast the House and Senate in term of office H - 2yrs., S - 6yrs.
1.3 c) Contrast the House and Senate in constituency size H - smaller, S - larger
1.3 d) Contrast the House and Senate in role in policymaking H - more influential on budget (more specialized), S - more influential on foreign affairs (less specialized)
1.3 e) Contrast the House and Senate in procedures H - limited debate; limits on floor amendments allowed, S - unlimited debate
1.4 Summarize the difficulties of being a member of Congress (pg 361) Must be willing to spend time, trouble, and money to obtain a crowded office on Capitol Hill. 14hr days w/meetings, constant travel between Wash. and constituencies, lack of time for reflection/exchange of ideas, constant fundraising.
1.5 What is the primary attraction of being a member of Congress? Power, they make key decisions about important matters of public policy.
1.6 a) Provide the 3 constitutional qualifications to be a House member. Be at least 25yrs. old, an American citizen for 7 yrs., and a resident of the state in which they are elected.
1.6 b) Provide the 3 constitutional qualifications to be a Senator. Be at least 30yrs. old, an American citizen for 9yrs., and a resident of the state in which they are elected.
1.7 What are the two most dominant prior occupations of Congress members? Business and law
1.8 a) How are members of Congress unrepresentative in terms of wealth? The proportion of millionaires and near millionaires is much higher in Congress than in an average crowd of 535 people.
1.8 b) How are members of Congress unrepresentative in terms of race? Some prominent groups are underrepresented. African Americans - 10% of H (13 of pop.), none in S. 25 Hispanics in H and 3 in S (16% of pop.)
1.8 c) How are members of Congress unrepresentative in terms of gender? Females - 18% H, 20 S (+50% pop.)
1.9 a) Contrast descriptive representation with substantive representation. Descriptive - representing constituents by mirroring their personal, politically relevant characteristics. Substantive - representing the interests of groups which they themselves are not members.
1.9 b) Provide arguments for descriptive representation and substantive representation. Members of Congress with a background of wealth and privilege can be champions for the interests of the poor (senator Edward Kennedy). Most have lived in the constituencies for years and share beliefs, even if they don't share demographic characteristics.
Created by: Matti