Civics Chapter 4 Homework #1

Answer the following questions in your notebook.

1. Look at the map below. It shows the results of the 2010 census in terms of reapportionment or determining how many congressional districts there are in each state to show how many representatives each state gets for the U.S. House of Representatives. As you can see, PA lost a seat since the previous census because PA is losing population. Using the map, answer the following: How many representatives are from PA and which states are the top 5 starting with the state that gets the most representatives?
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2. Our Congress is a bicameral legislature, which means it's a lawmaking body with two chambers. According to the Constitution, the number of representatives each state can elect to the House is based on the state's population. Each state is entitled to at least one representative. Washington D.C. and the American territories get a nonvoting delegate. By the way, the American territories are Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Citizens in the territories are U.S. citizens, but do not get to vote in national elections since they live in territories, not states. Today, there are 435 representatives in the House. Every 10 years, after the census is taken, Congress determines how the seats in the House are to be apportioned, or distributed. If a state's population decreases, the number may be reduced (like PA). States whose populations grow may be entitled to more representatives. Voters elect their representatives according to the congressional district in which they live. Each state's legislature is the one that divides the states into its congressional districts. District boundaries must be drawn to that each district is almost equal in population, but states can't draw boundaries that disadvantage a certain group, something that is called gerrymandering. The Senate is must simpler in that each state gets two U.S. Senators. How are the House and Senate different in how their members are chosen? Why do you think it's like that?

3. Congressmen in the House of Representatives serve two year terms. The minimum age is 25 years old, must be a U.S. citizen for at least 7 years, and have to be a legal resident of the state being represented (most live in the actual district they're representing). Members of the Senate serve six year terms. The minimum age is 30 years old, must be a U.S. citizen for at least 9 years, and have to be a legal resident of the state being elected from. What are the qualifications to be in the House of Representatives and the Senate?

4. The charts below show the leadership in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The first picture is the House (and says so on pictures). The other is the Senate. Look at these charts and then answer the question: What position is in charge of the House of Representatives? What position is president (in charge of) the Senate? What is similar and was is different with the House and Senate?
House-leadership.jpgSenate-leadership.png

5. Powers of Congress: Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution lists all of the powers of Congress. The last power listed is "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper" to execute all the other powers. This is known as the Necessary and Proper Clause and also the Elastic Clause as it gives the Congress the ability to expand its powers beyond what the Founding Fathers saw as relevant at the time. The powers listed in Article 1 Section 8 are: collect taxes, borrow money, coin money, punish counterfeiters, regulate trade, grant copyrights and patents, make immigration law, form the federal court system, punish piracy, declare war, fund and regulate the armed forces, form and arm militias, establish a postal service, and create D.C. The Elastic Clause says Congress can do what is necessary and proper to do those listed powers. Why was the necessary and proper clause put in? Do you think (opinion) this gives Congress too much power? Why or why not?

6. Do you think the interstate highway system, which is a system of national roads, was necessary and proper? If not why not? If so, then which power that is listed in Article 1 Section 8 gives Congress to right to use the necessary and proper clause to set up that system of highways?

7. The Constitution places limits on the powers of Congress. For example, the 10th amendment reserves some powers for the state governments. These reserved powers included the states' authority to regulate and conduct elections, create and administer schools, and establish mortgage laws. The Constitution also forbids Congress from passing ex post facto laws (laws that apply to actions that occurred before the laws were passed), bills of attainder (laws that sentence people to prison without a trial), suspending the writ of habeas corpus (removing the right to a court order, called a writ, requiring that a person be brought to court to determine if there is enough evidence to hold the person for trial), taxing exports, passing laws that violate the Bill of Rights, favoring trade of a state, granting titles of nobility, and withdrawing money without a law. Altogether, the federal government was never intended to have power over areas that the states were competent. Why do you think (opinion) the Constitution limits the powers of Congress?

8. A bill is a proposed law. There are various sources of legislation. Where do these ideas come from? Ideas come from U.S. citizens, interest groups, members of Congress, and the president. What groups or individuals might come up with ideas for bills?

9. The process of how a bill becomes a law is roughly the same going through both chambers. Bill or introduced in either the House or the Senate. Once a bill is introduced it is sent to a committee, which is a smaller group that specializes in the area of the bill. The committee starts the whole process by writing the bill and discussing and debating the issues surrounding the bill. It takes a majority of the committee to move the bill out of the committee. Once the bill goes through the committee, it goes to the floor of the chamber in which it was introduced. The full chamber discusses and debates the bill and then votes with a majority needed to move it along. Once a bill passes one chamber it goes to the other chamber and goes through the same process. If the other chamber makes some changes to the bill then both the House and the Senate have to compromise since both chambers must pass the exact same version of a bill before it moves on. Once a bill passes both chambers, then it goes to the president. The president must sign the bill for it to become a law. The president could reject a bill, which is called a veto. The Congress can override a veto though with a 2/3 vote. Describe the process that a bill goes through in Congress.

10. A conference committee is the committee made up of members of the House and the Senate that is to develop a compromise version of a bill if the bill passes the House and Senate with different aspects. Remember, a bill has to have passed the House and Senate in the exact same language before it goes to the president. Below is a chart that shows the full process. What does a conference committee do?
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11. Why do you think (opinion) it's important for the president to have the final say in the lawmaking process - in other words, why do you think it's good that another branch of government has some control over the legislative branch's most important power - making laws?

12. What is the purpose of the ad below?
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13. Why do you think politicians put out ads such as this?

14. The framers of the Constitution wanted to make sure that both small and large states would be fairly represented. So, they created a bicameral legislature, a lawmaking body of two houses. Membership in the House of Representatives is based on population. In the Senate, each state is represented equally with two from each state. What is the cause of the structure of our legislative body?

15. In one sentence explain the U.S. Congress.


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