political science report for tuesday 22 before 4 pm
On January 20, 2018, exactly one year into Donald Trump’s presidency, the federal government shut down. Congress could not pass a bill to fund the government. Democrats insisted that the bill include protection against deportation for Dreamers, undocumented and generally long-time U.S. residents brought to this country as children. Republicans and the president opposed doing so. The president wanted to use protection for Dreamers as leverage for obtaining increased border security in separate legislation. Ultimately, Congress passed a short-term bill, creating the possibility of another funding crisis, which occurred the next month.
What happened in Congress in 2018 was extreme. But even under more ordinary circum-stances, the Madisonian system of the separation of powers and checks and balances compli-cates policymaking. Moreover, power is fragmented within Congress, and representatives and senators tend to be fiercely independent. One Senate leader declared that trying to move the Senate to act is like “trying to push a wet noodle”: when Congress faces the great issues of the day, it often cannot arrive at any decision at all.
The inability to compromise and make important policy decisions—what we commonly refer to as gridlock—does not please the public. Its approval of Congress has been in the single digits, the lowest it has ever been. Nevertheless, most of the members of Congress who ran for reelec-tion in 2018 won. It seems as though individual senators and representatives were doing what their constituents wanted them to do, although Congress as a whole was not.
Congress is both our central policymaking branch and our principal representative branch. As such, it lies at the heart of American democracy. How does Congress combine its roles of rep-resenting constituents and making effective public policy? Some critics argue that Congress is too responsive to constituents and, especially, to organized interest groups and is thus unable to make difficult choices regarding public policy, such as reining in spending. Others argue that Congress is too insulated from ordinary citizens and makes policy to suit the few rather than the many. Yet other critics focus on Congress as the source of government expansion. Does Congress’s responsiveness predispose the legislature to increase the size of government to please those in the public wanting more or larger government programs?
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The Framers of the Constitution conceived of the legislature as the center of policy-making in America. Their plan was for the great disputes over public policy to be resolved in Congress, not in the White House or the Supreme Court. Although the prominence of Congress has ebbed and flowed over the course of American history, as often as not, Congress has been the true center of power in Washington. The tasks of Congress become more difficult each year. On any given day, a repre-sentative or senator can be required to make sensible judgments about missiles, nuclear
Report #4: Representation in the U.S. House
You are to write a brief report on a current member of the U.S. House of Representatives that I will
randomly assign to you. A list of assignments for each student will appear in this week’s block by the
third week of classes.
Before beginning this assignment, make certain that you have read Chapter 11 in your text (“Congress”). The
only source you will need for writing the report is the Project Vote Smart web site. The link is provided
Using the tabs at the top of the website, locate the information needed for answering the questions below.
The report should contain three separate sections that address all the points in each set of questions. Notice
the expected word count for each section (exceeding the word count will not negatively affect your grade, but
please try to stay within the range).
1. Provide basic biographical information about the member. What is their current or past occupation,
education level, party affiliation, past political experiences, leadership positions held, etc.? This
information can be found under the “Bio” tab. (approximately 150-200 words)
2. Characterize the member’s typical roll call voting patterns based on their votes on specific issues and
rating scores compiled by interest groups (found under “Votes” and “Ratings” tabs). Would you
describe the member’s voting as mostly conservative, mostly liberal, or somewhere in between? Cite
examples of votes to justify your characterization. (approximately 150-200 words)
3. Where does the member receive the bulk of their campaign contributions (found under “Funding”
tab)? What industries or professions provide a significant portion of the member’s campaign funds?
Provide examples. (approximately 150-200 words)
Be careful not to plagiarize. If you want to quote directly, do so using quotation marks (giving the page number
if available). But try to do this sparingly and simply use your own words in addressing the questions.
In your writing, use an analytical tone that is free of your personal opinions. In other words, try to answer the
questions in a straightforward and objective manner.
When you are done, save the document as a Word file or as an Adobe PDF file (it cannot be Google docs, etc.)
and upload it through Moodle (these parts are very important!). Papers not uploaded by the deadline will receive
a grade penalty.
WARNING: This is an individual assignment and you are to do your own work. Use of another person’s
words without proper citation or copying from another student’s paper is considered plagiarism. All papers are
checked and retained in a plagiarism software program to identify cheating. Any suspicion of plagiarism or
other violations of the university’s academic conduct policies are turned over to the Dean of Students.
PLEASE NOTE: When using the Project Vote Smart web site, you will be asked to make a financial
contribution to their or
MEMBER OF THE U.S HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE:
U.S. House Texas District 31
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