According to the American Constitution, the Congress possesses various enumerated and implied powers. Enumerated powers refer to the explicit powers granted by the Constitution, such as levying taxes and declaring war. Implied powers include the elastic clause, which allows the Congress to pass laws in order to fulfill its duties. The fundamental role of the US Senate is delaying the procedure of legislation by means of hearings, inquiry and debate, while simultaneously offering advice and consent. Other major functions of the Senate include sharing responsibilities along with the House of Representatives in the process of making laws within the US, ratifying treaties. The Senate also confirms presidential appointments to various federal offices . The Senate Committee System assigns bills to various committees prior to presenting them in the full chamber. Some of these committees include armed services, homeland security, judiciary, finance, health care, education, veteran’s affairs and many others .
In order to become a law, the bill must pass both the houses; however, the point of origin of the bill is the House. After getting assigned to the concerned committee, the bill undergoes a schedule of hearings and debates to decide as to whether or not to pass the bill. A bill that passes the House then reaches the Senate. The bills that get approved in the House as well as the Senate reach the President for his approval after the signature of the Speaker and the President . Within a time frame of ten days, the President has to either approve or reject the bill, post which, in spite of the signature of the President, the bill transforms into a law. Filibuster refers to the power of the Senate to debate on any topic for an indefinite time . The role of filibuster is preventing actions in the debate, which would pass the Senate with simple majority”. On the other hand, Cloture refers to the process of limiting any debate. In other words, it is a weapon to end the filibuster . The Senate invokes the cloture in situations where three-fifths of the senators vote for it, which takes the magic figure to 60.
The American President serves as the Chief Executive and the Chief of State. Through the executive power, the President accomplishes the responsibility of operating the federal government and implementing several laws authorized by the Congress. The President possesses the veto power through which he might disapprove the bill with a two-thirds majority of each House. Through the appointment power, the President appoints several officers to key positions as well as the cabinet. He is the Commander-in-Chief of the American armed forces. The President is not only the Chief Diplomat but also the Chief Legislator who has the power of selecting the heads of significant agencies, including federal judges . He guards the economy as well as the members of his party. With regards to imperial presidency, it refers to an increased authoritative power of the President, such as growth in the size of the staff, substituting significant agreements for treaties and overtaking the powers of the Congress, which the founding fathers empowered during the framing of the Constitution .
Executive privilege refers to the privilege, which enables the President and the executive branch to maintain a confidential data as disclosing certain important communications might disrupt the process of decision making or the functions of the executive branch . However, executive privilege is not applicable to the information, which is relevant to criminal investigation. The rational model of public policy involves various steps taken by the policy makers, such as the recognition and definition of problems pertaining to the public, selection of goals as to what is essential to accomplish, determining alternatives and selecting the right choice that best accomplishes the selected goals. Some of the examples of rational model include the crisis decisions of the Cuban Missile and the Kosovo intervention. According to the 2nd section of Article II in the American Constitution, the Cabinet plays the role of advising the President on matters related to the duties of each office . The US Cabinet consists of the Vice President who reports to the President and the head officials of executive departments. These departments include the Secretaries of Commerce, Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Homeland Security, Interior, State, Labor, Transportation Veterans Affairs, Treasury and Attorney General .
Located in Washington D.C., the Office of the President consists of his closest advisors, including the Council of Economic Advisers, Environmental Quality, National Security Staff, Office of Vice President, Administration and Trade Representative . The other offices of the President include Cabinet Affairs, Media Affairs, Communications, Legislative Affairs, Urban Affairs and many others. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 demands the President to inform the Congress prior to 48 hours of sending the military forces to action and prevents the military from continuing in the war for over 60 days, followed by a withdrawal period of 30 days in the absence of the sanction of using military force or declaring the war . Political socialization refers to the process that enables people to form ideas about politics. Although political socialization begins in the childhood, it is a lifelong process. The factors that influence the process of political socialization are the role of the family, socioeconomic status, education, interaction with peers, mass media and many others . Adult political socialization takes place radically as people take on new responsibilities as they grow, such as workers, parents, spouse and many others. The process transforms the political perspectives of people.
The Congress performs six basic functions. Law making is the prime function of the Congress as no other institution in the US possesses the power to pass the legislature . The second function of Congress is representation through which, it speaks for the constituents, who include the people and representatives of Congress. The Congress acts as a trustee and makes judgments in the best interest of the constituents. It fulfills the desires of constituents and ensures that they have positive information about the happenings in the country. The next function is oversight, which expands the powers of the Executive branch during Congressional hearings, implementation of laws without discrepancies and ensures that there is no misuse of information for partisan purposes . Another important function of the Congress is public education through which it sets political agendas related to the use of media. The last role is conflict resolution, which deals with the compromises involved while integrating the competing interests of the pluralist views of the democracy.
The process of redistricting determines who represents the people by adjusting the boundaries of districts into geographical territories. A group of districts make up a city or a state, which decides the number of representatives. The state legislatures possess the primary power of the redistricting process for districts that belong to the state legislature as well as congressional districts . While some states appoint certain advisory commissions, some others make use of back up commissions and politician commissions. Gerrymandering is the process of dividing the states and counties into electoral districts so that one political party achieves majority in several districts, thereby concentrating the strength of the voters of the remaining parties into as less districts as possible . On the other hand, malapportionment refers to the inappropriate and unjust dispersion of representatives to legislative bodies .
The Congressional members possess various perceptions of their roles, which include delegates, trustees, partisans and politicos. Since delegates vote depending upon the opinion of the public in the home districts and states of the Congressional members, their primary task is representing the views of the constituents . Such an option is a characteristic of the House rather than the Senate. With regards to trustees, they vote on the basis of their personal beliefs rather than the public opinion. The trustees primarily assume that the voters have sent them to Congress with the trust that they make apt decisions on behalf of the public . Such an option is a feature of the Senate rather than the House. The third category of partisans, vote on the basis of the wishes made by the party leaders rather than individual or public wishes . A majority of the votes in Congress have become extremely partisan in the recent years. Finally, the last category of politicos, maintain a balance among the three types mentioned above. They cast their votes depending on the merits and demerits of each proposal. Politicos consider the interests of the constituents, party leaders, personal opinion, and special interest groups .
Various factors that influence the behavior of a congressperson are campaign contributions, informal groups that belong to various ethnic origins, genders, religions and races, special interest groups, ideological orientation, congressional staff’s influence and many others . Campaign contribution is a major factor affecting voting behavior as congressperson tends to favor those who offer the maximum amount. Congressperson belonging to a particular informal group shows more concern to the interests of the specific group rather than other groups. Special interest groups, also known as pressure groups refer to the institutions or individuals who make various attempts of influencing the public policies through the process of lobbying. Ideological orientation refers to the opinions, values and beliefs, which characterize a specific culture. Congressional staff plays a major role in influencing the voting behavior of congressperson as they feel to put their interests superior over others.
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