Hi All,Please choose one of the following questions and react to it briefly in the discussion boards.When you submit answer, please begin by pasting the question you are responding to in the text field. Then write your answer below.please choose one of the following questions and react to it briefly in the discussion boards.post should be 75-150 words and two replies for classmate’s post.When you submit answer, please begin by pasting the question you are responding to in the text field. Then write your answer below.Discussion question options:In recent years people have proposed term limits for Congressional representatives— limiting Senators to two 6 year terms and members of the House of Representatives to 4 2 year terms. Do you think this is a good idea? Why or why not?The 17th Amendment was ratified in 1913, making the Senate directly elected by the people of each state. Consider how this changed the incentives of Senators — do you think this change had positive or negative implications for the Senate? Why?The filibuster makes it (usually) necessary to obtain a 60-vote supermajority to get legislation passed in the Senate. Should the filibuster be done away with? If so, why? If you argue we should keep it, why?0.9
PS21A – SPRING 2020
Distance between party means

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1880 1888 1896 1904 1912 1920 1928 1936 1944 1952 1960 1968 1976 1984 1992 2000 2008 2016
Year
SO HOW DOES CONGRESS
A C T U A L LY D O T H I N G S ?
T H E H O U S E & S E N AT E H A V E 3 K E Y
O R G A N I Z AT I O N A L S T R U C T U R E S
• These help organize the 541 members (435 voting + 6 non-voting in
House + 100 in Senate)
• MoC Staffs: Both in DC and in the district
• Committee System: helps with informational challenges and
coordination
• Political Parties: Help organize / whip / logroll MCs, help with reelection
campaigns
T H E PA R T I E S ( PA R T Y- I N – G O V E R N M E N T )
• Party members share policy goals:
• So they coordinate strategy on legislation
• Solve collective action problem in passing party agenda
• Party members also want to be reelected:
• Build party reputation
• Fundraising / campaign support for each other
• Parties determine committee assignments and more…
PA R T I S A N D I V I S I O N S H A V E G O T T E N S TA R K E R :
H O W H A V E P O L A R I Z I N G PA R T I E S
SHAPED MODERN CONGRESSES?
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N. DEM
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188018881896190419121920192819361944195219601968197619841992200020082016
Year
0.9







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1880 1888 1896 1904 1912 1920 1928 1936 1944 1952 1960 1968 1976 1984 1992 2000 2008 2016
Year
HOW AND WHY DID WE GET HERE?
• Redistricting?
• Largely just making sitting members safer. Also, then why Senate polarization?
• Southern realignment?
• conservative Dems now Republican seats, so parties better sorted on ideology. Both change and
replacement at work.
• Rules changes around parties?
• Cause or effect? Probably a feedback loop
• Mass polarization?
• We’re less polarized than Congress
• Increased primary competition?
• Possibly, but why not with party bosses pre-reform?
• $$$ and inequality?
• There is not one singular answer…
… A N D W H AT A R E T H E O U T C O M E S ?
• Gridlock and inaction more likely
• Starker choices for voters
• Increased affective polarization
• Strategic, symbolic legislation (to make the other party look bad)
• Is this good? Hard to say so.
• Polarization may not be the problem. Partisan warfare is.
(2006)
(2012)
(2016)
The partisan conflict is not diminishing…
W E ’ L L R E V I S I T P O L A R I Z AT I O N
W H E N W E TA L K A B O U T U S .
( T H AT I S , V O T E R S A N D E L E C T I O N S )
PS21A – SPRING 2020
HOW A
BILL BECOMES
A LAW
“Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings…”
–ARTICLE I, SECTION 5, CLAUSE 2
SOMETHING I CAN’T EMPHASIZE ENOUGH:
T H E R U L E S M AT T E R U N T I L T H E Y D O N ’ T.
A MAJORITY IN A CHAMBER CAN
“ S U S P E N D T H E R U L E S ” AT A N Y T I M E .
T H E T U M U LT U O U S J O U R N E Y O F B I L L
( PA R T O N E )
• A bill is written. Who wrote it?
• Staffs, affiliated interest groups, the White House,
members of Congress
• It has to be introduced.
• Sponsors & cosponsors matter
• Bills that raise revenue must begin in the House
(Article I, Section 7)
T H E T U M U LT U O U S J O U R N E Y O F B I L L
( PA R T T W O )
• It is referred to committee. Which one?
• Whichever the majority party leadership wants (or
multiple places) with advice of parliamentarian
• Committee chair decides what to do (always of the
majority party, typically most senior)
• Hearing at full committee level
• Hearing at subcommittee level
• No hearing (bill dies)
T H E T U M U LT U O U S J O U R N E Y O F B I L L
( PA R T T H R E E )
• Hearings occur. Experts testify.
• Markup occurs:
• Legislation is amended
• Legislation is tabled (killed)
• Legislation is finalized and sent to the floor
T H E T U M U LT U O U S J O U R N E Y O F B I L L
( PA R T F O U R )
• Before floor vote, in House:
• Appropriations committee (to get $$$)
• Rules committee (open v. restricted v. closed)
• Before floor vote, in Senate:
• Unanimous consent agreements
• Filibuster? Cloture?
T H E T U M U LT U O U S J O U R N E Y O F B I L L
( PA R T F I V E )
• Floor vote: yay or nay?
• If passed, to other chamber. Restart.
• If passed by both chambers in identical form, to the
president’s desk.
• If not, then to conference committee to iron out
differences.
• Then back to both chambers to get passed in final
version.
T H E T U M U LT U O U S J O U R N E Y O F B I L L
( PA R T S I X )
• Finally on the president’s desk. Only two options:
• Sign it (law)
• Add a signing statement?
• Return it, unsigned (within 10 days not including
Sundays)
• If 2/3 in both House and Senate vote for it, veto
is overriden
• If Congress adjourns before the 10 days are up,
it is a pocket veto

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