American Government Homework Three Answers

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1. In one sentence explain why Congress is called “bicameral”.

Because there are two houses or legislative bodies in Congress:

  • House of Representatives
  • Senate

2. In two sentences explain what you think is Congress’s greatest power, and why.


3. Explain briefly how a bill is typically passed into federal law.


4. Members of the House of Representatives get nervous every ten years. Why? Explain details.


5. Incumbents typically win reelection. But the reelection rate for congressmen is higher than for senators, which in turn is higher than for presidents. How do you explain this?


6. President Bush complains that the Democratic Senators have blocked his judicial nominees through use of a filibuster. Explain what that means, and what Republicans need to do to confirm those judges.


7. List the major powers given to Congress by the Constitution.


8. The “Great Compromise” gave each state two senators, regardless of population. This made the addition of new states very controversial prior to the Civil War, because the Senate was evenly balanced between free and slave states. Now, Republicans benefit from this system because of all the rural, thinly-populated states. Overall, do you think this Senate structure is desirable?


9. As discussed in class, the hate crimes bill did pass the U.S. Senate by a vote of 60-39. Describe the significance of the fact that 60 senators support the bill. Hint: mention cloture and presidential veto.

The 60 votes was the minimum needed for cloture to cut off debate and allow a vote on the bill. Because the bare minimum was obtained, that suggests there was some "arm-twisting" or perks given out to get enough senators to reach the magic number of 60. But that is not even votes to override an expected presidential veto. Overriding a veto requires 2/3rds, or 67 votes in the Senate.

10. After a string of murders committed by traveling salesmen visiting homes in a small town, it passed an ordinance requiring anyone going door-to-door to register with the town hall first. Constitutional? Explain.

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