AP®︎/College US Government and Politics
Course: AP®︎/College US Government and Politics > Unit 2Lesson 2: Structures, powers, and functions of Congress
- How a bill becomes a law
- The House of Representatives in comparison to the Senate
- Senate filibusters, unanimous consent and cloture
- Discretionary and mandatory outlays of the US federal government
- Earmarks, pork barrel projects and logrolling
- Structures, powers, and functions of Congress: lesson overview
- Structures, powers, and functions of Congress: advanced
Structures, powers, and functions of Congress: lesson overview
When the Framers created a bicameral legislature, they created a system of checks and balances within Congress by requiring a bill to be passed in both chambers.
The structures, powers, and functions of the House of Representatives and the Senate are different, and these differences can affect the policymaking process: for example, by accelerating it or slowing it down, and by the extent to which bipartisan collaboration is or is not facilitated.
|cloture||A Senate procedure through which a supermajority of 60 senators can vote to limit the amount of time spent debating a bill and cut off a filibuster.|
|Committee of the Whole||A committee of the House on which all representatives serve in order to consider the details of a proposal.|
|discharge petition||A petition signed by members of the House of Representatives to bring a bill out of committee and onto the floor for a vote.|
|filibuster||A tactic used by senators to block a bill by continuing to hold the floor and speak, adhering to the Senate rule of unlimited debate. The purpose of this tactic is to continue to speak for so long that the bill’s supporters eventually back down.|
|House Rules Committee||The committee responsible for scheduling and managing the flow of legislation on the floor of the House of Representatives in order to make the process more efficient and manageable. The committee can also make it easier or more difficult for a bill to pass depending on the rules they create.|
|logrolling||When two legislators agree to trade votes for each other’s benefit.|
|pork barrel legislation||The use of federal funding to finance localized projects, typically bringing money into a representative’s district in order to please constituents and boost the representative’s chances of winning reelection.|
|President of the Senate||The Vice President of the United States, who presides over the Senate’s daily proceedings.|
|Speaker of the House||The presiding officer of the House of Representatives and de facto leader of the majority party.|
Key documents to know
The Constitution of the United States (1787) — The fundamental laws and principles that govern the United States. The document was a result of several compromises between federalists and anti-federalists at the Constitutional Convention.
How does the structure of Congress affect the policymaking process?
What are three methods that members of Congress can use to stop legislation from being voted on? Do these methods differ between the Senate and the House of Representatives?
What role do committees play in the policymaking process?
What are two methods that members of Congress can use to get a bill to pass?
Want to join the conversation?
- Why are they called “pork barrels”(10 votes)
- Probably it's because of salt pork. Salt pork came in barrels and was often made of the less desirable bits, or the "waste" material.(18 votes)
- What are three methods that members of Congress can use to stop legislation from being voted on? Do these methods differ between the Senate and the House of Representatives?(13 votes)
- why are threr two housea(3 votes)
- The two, or bicameral, house Congress came from the Constitutional Convention. The short answer is that the big states wanted a congress where the number of representatives that they had would be decided by population, giving them an advantage. The smaller states wanted a congress where each state had the same number of votes. The so called "Great Compromise" was to create two houses where one had seats decided by population, the House of Representatives, and the other had two seats per state, the Senate.(9 votes)
- How does the structure of Congress affect the policymaking process?(6 votes)
- what role do committees play in the policy making process(3 votes)
- Its a process that the senate and the house of Representative need to conduct business between the house and to help the focused of public attention on the issues going on.(2 votes)
- What are the electoral vote and the popular vote?(2 votes)
- From the author:Hi there!
The electoral vote is the vote based on the electoral college. Electors are representatives who vote on behalf of citizens in a state. There are 535 total electors and each state is apportioned a number of electors based on population. For example, Wyoming has three electors in comparison to Texas which has 38 electors. This is an example of indirect democracy as the representatives vote on behalf of the state. In most states, electors vote for the candidate who received the majority of votes in a winner-take-all system. For example, if Candidate A received 51% of the votes in California, they would win all of California's 55 electoral votes rather than splitting the electoral votes 51-49.
The popular vote is the total number of votes from all US states. Usually, the outcome of the electoral vote matches the outcome of the popular vote, but there are some notable exceptions like the 2000 and 2016 elections.
If you want to learn more, I suggest watching this video about the electoral college: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/us-government-and-civics/american-civics-parent/american-civics/v/electoral-college(3 votes)
- How does the structure of congress affect the policy making process(3 votes)
- The structures, powers, and functions of the House of Representatives and the Senate are different, and these differences can affect the policymaking process: for example, by accelerating it or slowing it down, and by the extent to which bipartisan collaboration is or is not facilitated.
its at the top of the page:)(2 votes)
- why are all of those steps necessary for the laws to past?(3 votes)
- how rule differences in the House of Representatives and the Senate can affect the policymaking process?(2 votes)
- In the Senate, it's harder to pass a bill because it oftentimes requires a supermajority(>60%) vote, which was intentionally designed by the framers to slow down the legislation process. In the House of representatives, it's easier to pass a bill (>51%), and thus the majority party has a lot more power. In addition, the House has a lot more members, and thus the need to organize the debate is more severe and necessary, which gives the rule committee more power in the policymaking process than the one in the Senate.(3 votes)
- what are the three methods that congress use(2 votes)