3 Representatives and Senators Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself. (Mark Twain) Once the November elections are over, the newly elected Representatives and Senators gather the following January for the start of the new Congress. Out of the thousands of hopefuls who started the arduous process of campaigning in the primary and general elections, only 535 people sit as members of Congress for the next two years; 435 in the House and 100 in the Senate. For most of those members, this will not be a new

in The United States Congress

The role of the Congress is essential to any study of American government and politics. It would be impossible to gain a complete understanding of the American system of government without an appreciation of the nature and workings of this essential body. This text looks at the workings of the United States Congress, and uses the Republican period of ascendancy, which lasted from 1994 until 2000, as an example of how the Congress works in practice. The book illustrates the basic principles of Congress using contemporary and recent examples, while also drawing attention to the changes that took place in the 1990s. The period of Republican control is absent from many of the standard texts and is of considerable academic interest for a number of reasons, not least the 1994 election, the budget deadlock in 1995 and the Clinton impeachment scandal of 1999. The book traces the origin and development of the United States Congress, before looking in depth at the role of representatives and senators, the committee system, parties in Congress, and the relationship between Congress and the President, the media and interest groups.

disrupted by a single member. One such disruption is the filibuster. On occasions, a Senator opposed to a proposal (but aware that it is likely to be approved) will hold up proceedings by rising to speak on the Senate floor and once recognised 110 The United States Congress by the presiding officer continuing to talk and talk and talk and talk. Once a Senator has the floor, he cannot be stopped from speaking unless he himself yields to another Senator. The idea behind the filibuster is to disrupt proceedings to such an extent that supporters of the proposal will

in The United States Congress
Open Access (free)

Congress cannot rely on their party label alone to assure their election and instead must develop their own platform and reputation. However, it is a fact that since 1945 only a handful of candidates for Congress have successfully gained election without the official endorsement of one of the two major parties. Consequently, parties are still of vital importance in Congress and deserve fuller understanding. Organisation by party On 24 May 2001, Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont, in a statement he called his ‘declaration of independence’, 88 The United States Congress

in The United States Congress

or Congressional staffers. Worried about conflicts of interests, there is a legal ‘cooling off period’ which prevents Representatives and Senators from moving immediately from elected office to a lobbying firm. Small interest groups lobbying on their own can often find problems in gaining access to members, especially on major issues where there are many groups competing for their time. Groups can start to overcome this problem by establishing offices in Washington DC and building relationships over a period of time. One of the biggest advantages interest groups

in The United States Congress

United States. There was a danger that such regular elections may lead to the House pursuing shortterm policies. Secondly, there was a fear that with the number of Representatives from each state determined by population, a few larger states could ride roughshod over the wishes of the rest of the House. To meet these concerns the Senate was designed to be the chamber which represented the states. Each state was given equal representation, returning two Senators, each representing the whole state, regardless of size of population. While the House, with its regular

in The United States Congress
Open Access (free)
‘Eigen volk eerst!’

Nationalistische Studentenvereniging (Nationalist Students’ Association, NSV), and Were Di leader Bert Van Boghout – joined forces in the Vlaams Nationaal Directorium (Flemish National Directorate). Despite exerting great pressure, this group did not manage to unite all the anti-Egmont forces under its banner. Two former prominent members of the VU wished to found their own political party: former senator Lode Claes, and former leader of the Antwerp Volksunie Jongeren (People’s Union Youth), Karel Dillen. Although the two held several sets of talks, they could not reach

in The ideology of the extreme right
Open Access (free)

House and approximately one-third of the Senate each time. House members are elected from constituencies within states containing, on average, around 500,000 voters; Senators represent their entire state. The newly elected members take their seats at the start of the new Congress in January of the following year. In this way while the elections are always held in even-numbered years, each Congress begins and ends in the odd-numbered years. What made the Contract with America in 1994 such a notable event in the history of Congressional elections is that conventional

in The United States Congress
Open Access (free)

100 Senators were sworn in as the jury. It lasted until 12 February 1999, when the Senate voted to acquit the President of both charges. The Constitution requires a two-thirds majority to reach a guilty verdict, the charge of perjury was rejected with 45 Senators voting guilty, 55 voting to acquit; the charge of obstructing of President and Congress 125 justice saw the Senate tied 50–50, short of the 66 members needed to convict. The Constitution states that the President may be removed from office through the process of impeachment by the House and conviction by

in The United States Congress
Open Access (free)
‘Australia for the White Man’

neighbours into a country they now imagined as rightfully White; Aborigines, however, would remain the charge of the states. Including White women, excluding Aborigines In 1902, Richard O’Connor, a Senator from NSW, introduced a government Bill proposing a uniform franchise for the newly federated Australian nation, as the Canadian prime minister had attempted for the Confederation in

in Equal subjects, unequal rights