Constitution: United States Congress and Members Essay example

Submitted By Neemachoden
Words: 1690
Pages: 7

Member of Congress also serve their constituents through casework- direct assistance to individuals and groups within a district or state. The staff that works for congress will help constituents locate missing Social Security checks, direct constituents to federal agencies, and provide procedural support for dealing with these agencies, among other things. To enhance their reelection prospects, members of congress also direct federal benefits to their home districts and states.

Delegate model of representation Successful members of Congress share the same interests as the voters and promise to act upon them. If a majority of constituents supports affirmative action then so will the Congress member and if a majority of constituents opposes the same policy, that member will switch his/ her position. Delegates must vote according to the expressed interests of their constituents even when their conscience or personal preferences dictate otherwise.

Trustee model of representation Members of Congress are chosen for their judgement, experience, and skill. Rather than simply mirroring their constituents opinions trustees reflect deeply on the arguments for and against different policies before taking a position. Representatives are elected to do what they think is best for their constituents.
Roughly speaking members of the House tend to act more like delegates and members of Senate behave more like trustees. They do so because of the electoral incentives they face. Because they face more homogeneous constituents at more regular intervals, members of the house have stronger incentives to act on behalf of their public's current preferences. But senators, because they face more heterogeneous constituents over longer periods of time, can reflect on the deeper interests of a citizenry.

Members of the Congress also have strong incentives to listen to their core supporters and those who can be persuaded to vote on their behalf. By contrast members have less incentives to work on behalf of those individuals who would not, under any circumstances vote for them.

The 111th Congress has a record 17 women in the Senate and 74 in the House of Representatives.
Senators from the same states never come up for reelection in the same year. Because they all follow the same electoral calendar. House members therefore find it easier to coordinate their activities with one another. Senate by contrast must deal with the fact that every year one-third of the Senate's members are distracted by an election while the other two-third can afford on the obligations of governance.

Collecting information:
To enact legislation members must convince one another about the benefits of their preferred policies. They must bargain and negotiate with one another. To do this effectively members need to learn about each other's preferences which we now can differ dramatically. Members need to anticipate what others will accept, what they will reject and what they are willing to compromise over.

Collective action problem:
A problem that arises when individuals incentives lead them to avoid taking actions that are best for the group as a whole and that they themselves would like to see accomplished.

A phenomenon that occurs when multiple decision makers must decide among multiple options and cannot agree on a single course of action.

Types of committees:

1) Standing committees: have well defined policy jurisdictions,which do not change markedly from Congress to Congress. Standing committee also are real workhorses of Congress, developing, writing and updating the most important legislation. In the 111th Congress there were 16 standing committee in the senate and 20 in the house.

2) Select Committee: by contrast are designed to address specific issues over shorter periods of time. Typically they cease to exist once their members have completed their assigned task.

3) Joint Committee: joint committees draw…