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Congress - Essay Example

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3. Four guiding principles influence the factors considered when a congressperson votes on a bill proposed by one of their colleagues. Each factor varies in its level of importance, particularly between different individuals in Congress. The first factor at play is a congressperson’s constituency…
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Download file to see previous pages The second factor at play is a congressman’s political party. Particularly in an age of polarized politics, party lines are becoming far more rigid than in previous decades. So-called “party-line votes” are common, especially with issues that tend to divide Democrats and Republicans such as budgets (Hook & Bendavid, 2011). Accordingly, a congressperson’s vote is more likely to correspond to the wants and desires of the party. The third factor to be considered is a congressman’s relationship to other members of Congress, beyond party affiliations. Knowing that Congress is a large community, it is conceivable that cooperative back-scratching and returning of favors might lead some legislators to favor some bills over others if there is something to be gained from it in terms of support from other congressmen. The fourth and final factor at play is the likely position of the president. Since the passage of a bill depends on the president’s support, the votes of legislators may change if the general perception is that the president may approve. This may not be the case, of course, in cases of “symbolic votes”: votes taken with the expectation that the president will veto (Lightman, Douglas, & Clark, 2011). 4. ...
ocracy that has existed since Ancient Greece is that it amounts to a “tyranny of the majority” or “mob rule.” The Founding Fathers of the United States were notoriously critical of true democracy. For instance, Benjamin Franklin once defined the term by saying, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch” (Moyers, 2009, p. 314). For that reason, the framers of the Constitution put in numerous safeguards to protect the rights of the minority from the abuse of a mob rule. One important concept of protecting minorities is the separation of powers as given in the Constitution, which decentralizes power through a system of checks and balances. A President, for example, is in command of the nation’s armed forces, but he cannot officially declare war on behalf of the United States. The Congress protects the rights of the minority by serving as a voice for those opponents and by officially deciding whether to declare war or not. In addition, with the actual structure of the Congress, two senators are elected from each state, no matter its size. Rather than having a small majority of legislators from any given state, the power of the large state majority is tempered by the representatives from smaller states. However, the Congress does still promote majority rule by operating on the principle that what is moral is the greatest good for the greatest number. Accordingly, decisions are made when a majority of those in favor or opposed is established. But even a minority has the chance to speak and make its voice heard in Congress, which is its right. References Hook, J., & Bendavid, N. (2011, April 16). GOP passes budget cut. Retrieved November 1, 2011, from The Wall Street Journal: ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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