Congress I


Political Theory of Representation

-        delegate v. trustee model

-        public interest v. state, district, partisan voter, faction interests


Spending on Congressional Races

-        see chart via WebCT


Powers of Congress


Constitutional Roles

-        Make Laws

-        Power of the Purse

o     FY2006 appropriations status

-        Power over Appointments (Senate)

-        Shared Treaty Power (Senate)

-        Oversight Power (to oversee government)



Power in Practice

-        Legislate Policy

-        Condition Appropriations

-        Hold Hearings

o     e.g., Katrina response

-        Question Nominees

-        Mandate Reports

o     e.g., search for “report” in the 2005 Energy Policy Act


“Structural” Power

-        Delegate authority to executive

-        Create or eliminate agencies

-        Obstruct president's agenda

-        Shape executive perceptions and expectations


Structural Limits to Congress's Power

-        Congress is not a corporate body

-        Small staffs limit monitoring capabilities

-        Limited support agencies: CBO, GAO, LoC/CRS

o     e.g., FTE employees 2004: 228 at CBO v. 497 at OMB)[1]


Political Limits on Congress' Power

-        Increased partisanship limits cooperation

-        Ideological divergence limits cooperation

-        See WebCT tables