112TH Congress

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Essay on the ins and outs of the 112th Congress

Submitted: October 20, 2012

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Submitted: October 20, 2012




112th United States Congress

The Congress of the United States is the "highest lawmaking body that can be attained in the United States, not to mention one of the oldest systems of governing in the world. The Congress was established in 1789, under the terms listed within the U.S. Constitution. Members of the Congress, which include the House of Representatives and the Senate, have created and recreated the federal laws that governed the United States. Rather than allowing the government in power to research and draft bills, the Congress is one of the few remaining national assemblies that continue to hold this power. Closely following the Constitution as empowerment, the United States Congress and other parts of the government follow a tight ruling system that allows them to rely of the Constitution for guidance in procedures involved in the laws that are established; basically the Congress is ran and operated based on what the Constitution states.

There are five main functions that the Congress is responsible for administering: lawmaking, performing oversight, helping constituents, representing the people, and continuously educating the public.

Lawmaking -

Rules or laws are designed for society within the United States that the citizens must obey. Congress appoints laws that vary from federal budgeting to television regulations; just to name a few. Bills are formed with the executive branch of the government, but only the members of Congress have the authority to consider them and create these laws. Influential members that aid in Congresses decision on voting are parties, constituents, and interest groups. Although Congress has the power to vote of bills for purposes of creating laws, negotiation to alter these bills is often a procedure that is done to come to an agreement.


Performing oversight –

Oversight is a process that is used, by Congress, to ensure that laws are properly in effect. It is the duty of Congress to oversee the bureaucracy. There are regular hearings and investigations that are held to make certain that there is no abuse or waste of laws that are in place.

Helping Constituents -

The members of Congress aid in the concerns of their constituents, after all they are elected by citizens of their state, so the idea is to do what is best for the Country based on their states' needs and some desires. Staff members of the Congress help individuals with a wide range of issues, these problems are, in turn, sometimes included in a bill for approval. The method is often used to gain the support of other Congress member and to win votes back home when re-election time comes. Aiding constituents with funding for new businesses and other local projects are ways that the Congress provided help to their constituents. Pork is a term that is used when referencing money that is used for someone else's district. Pork for one district can often be of use to other districts, as well.

Representing the People –

The main idea behind the Congress is their representation of the people within the United States. The constituents in whom they serve are the people of the district that they are representing; the state of which they are elected, by the people. There are three points of representation that is provided for the people: trustee representation, agency representation, and sociological representation.

·Trustee representation - This theory suggests that members of the Congress are chosen by the people based on the experience and judgment that are trusted by the people. A person that elected their official based on this type of representation is likely not to keep up with the political aspects that involve a Congressman or Congresswoman's position.

·Agency representation -

This second theory suggests that the people are more actively involved with the politics that affect their living. The constituents want their voice to be heard and they want to see results. Agency representation, also referred to as instructed-delegate representation, is when the constituents are more prone to fire their member if they thoughts, ideas, and input, as citizens are not upheld by their representative.

·Sociological representation

Ethnic, race, religion, social status, and educational background are the factors that tie a constituent into selecting their member based on sociological reasons. Resemblance between the Congress member and their constituents allow the citizens to allow their rep to choose what should be addressed based on their supposed ability to think on the same terms.

The President and Vice-President

Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. is the current president of the United States; he is a part of the Democratic Party affiliation. Obama is serving as the 44th President of the United States, having being elected to serve his first term in 2008. Elections are currently nearing for the 2013 election and he is debating again with the intentions of serving another term under Democratic affiliation. 

The President of the Senate, which is the Vice President to the President, is Joe Biden, Jr. He is responsible for being prepared to succeed to the presidency. If the President was to elect to resign, or upon his death (the President), the Vice President would assume the role of President.  Aside of presiding over the Senate, the Vice President is used to break a tie within the Senate for voting purposes, otherwise this individual does not vote. The aforementioned are the only duties to the constitution that the President of Senate is responsible for.

Our current President of Senate, Joe Biden, born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, is a Senator from the state of Delaware. Upon graduating from the University of Delaware in 1965, he then furthered his education while attending the Syracuse University College of Law in 1968. At the young age of 29, Joseph Biden was of the youngest people elected to the United States Senate. After serving 36 years as a Senator in Delaware, Biden is now in office as the 47th Vice President elected to serve 2009 – 2013 terms.

Pro Tempore

Daniel Inouye is the pro tempore of the Senate, residing as Senator of Hawaii. Inouye is affiliated with the Democratic Party. He is responsible for taking the place of the Vice President in the event the vice president is absent. In addition to standing in as acting Vice President, the pro tempore also has the duty of appointing other Senators to take his position; this is the highest honor that can be placed upon a Senator.

Majority and Minority Leaders

Serving as Spokesman for their parties’ position, the Majority and Minority Leaders are elected by Congress members of their same party. The current Majority Leader of the Senate is Harry Reid. Reid is affiliated with the Democratic Party. The Minority Leader that is currently in office is Addison (Mitch) McConnell; republican affiliate. Both Leaders of the Senate work closely together to eliminate any surprises from the other. Reid is responsible for scheduling business on the floor; this includes calling bills from the calendar and keeping his members updated on the daily legislative programs that are in place. He and the Minority Leader, at times, are the ones who unanimously consent to agreements that could not be covered within the time limits of the debate between the two parties; Democrat and Republican. Both party floor members are elected at the beginning of Congress by their party conferences.



Elected by both parties in the Senate, the “Whips” are the assistants to the Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate. Currently, Democratic “Whip”, Richard Durbin falls under the reign of Reid. Richard Durbin represents the state of Illinois. Republican “Whip”, John Kyl represents Arizona. The main purpose that the Whips are to uphold is to gather the party members for votes and quorum calls, and count heads during these times. Aside of standing in for the Minority and Majority Leader, in the event of their absence, this is the main role of the Party “Whips”.

Speaker of the House of Representatives

John Boehner is the current Speaker of the House of Representatives. Boehner is the Speaker that is the leader of the House. He is the administrative head of the House as well as the leader of the majority House. This individual is high-ranking, as he is the second in line to succeed the President, coming after the Vice President.


Durbin, who is also the Assistant Majority Leader (Whip) is a part of the Democratic party. His position within the Congress is more of a party floor member, rather than an actual Leader of the Senate. On the other hand, Republican Senator, Mark Kirk, is the U.S. Senator of Illinois.

The rules that we are expected to follow and the constant changes that are society experiences under the law, is created by our United States Congress. These powerful individuals hold high power and authority over our Country. We the people have a voice that can be heard; we elect those that represent our beliefs, who often share some of the same beliefs. Voting has increased over the last election and should continue to become a necessity for all eligible to participate in. It may be a long process, and laws go through a long list of officials, but our concerns are heard and addressed. It is safe to say that the President of the United States is not the only face of the laws that are or are not passed. We are ultimately responsible for being heard by making it our business to choose who we feel like represent us the most. We have the power to make changes to those that are in the power and hold the position to represent our changes. Make it count when you make your mark by voting otherwise you are here living under others opinions and rules, citizen.



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