The Makeup of Congress

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The Makeup of Congress

When discussing the makeup of Congress, one must first look to the intent of the framers around creating a bicameral legislature. This would take me to the first section of our class regarding the debates the founding fathers had about equal representation of the states in the Congress.

Edmund Randolph of Virginia was the first to offer a suggestion, known as the “Virginia Plan”, that addressed representation. His plan provided for a system of representation based on the population of each state or the proportion of each state’s revenue contribution, or both. This did not fly with the smaller states like New Jersey, Delaware, or Connecticut. The smaller states saw this idea as a bias towards the larger states, with the potential for domination of the legislature in a new government. This was primarily seen as a battle between the smaller merchant states versus the larger, slave owning states. In fact, this issue threatened the entire constitutional process if a reasonable compromise could not be achieved. The “Great Compromise” (also called the Connecticut Compromise), set to establish two chambers of the Congress, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, with the House being apportioned by he number of people in that state, while the Senate would contain equal representation from all states, regardless of the size or number of people from that state. This idea is also referred to as a bicameral legislature, meaning two chambers.

The House and Senate are somewhat different in terms of size, structure and procedure. However, despite their differences, collectively the Congress did make up the “dominant” class of the three branches of government for the 150 years of American government. ...

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...e system and if approved in committee, sub-committee, hearings, and the floor from which it originated, it will go to the other chamber for consideration and vote before ever reaching the president’s desk for signature.

It should be noted that the United States Congress is currently made up of only a two party system, the Republicans and the Democrats, with the Republicans having the majority in both chambers. The present Senate is comprised of evenly split party lines, however, due to the fact that Vice President Cheaney is part of the Republican Party, and can cast tie-breaking votes; the Republicans in the Senate are seen as having the general advantage.

Up to this point, however, the majority party in the Senate has been less than dominant with dissension among party members on many key debates regarding finance campaign reform, the budget, and tax cuts.

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