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Confusing Components of Congress


Is this what Congress really looks like?

In class, we just finished a lesson over Congress and its components and its importance in the American government. Following discussion and analysis, I concluded that America’s public is completely oblivious as to what goes on in Congress on a daily basis. After and in-class study of an excerpt from the notorious “Congressional Government: A Study in American Politics” by Woodrow Wilson, I would have to agree that citizens and people of America have little knowledge of the complexity of Congress. The workings of Congress can not be fully understood without deep investigation of all the different components of Congress and that certain aspects of Congress are concealed to the public’s eye.
Even though a majority of Americans believe the Speaker of the House to have most of the power, it is instead spread out among committee leaders. Over forty-five committees compose the House of Representatives and Senate, each having a different job and purpose (1). The committees each have domain over certain bills or ideas presented to Congress. If a bill were to be addressed regarding farming, it would proceed to the Committee of Agriculture to then be changed, denied, or approved to move on to a vote including the other members of the Congress or Senate (depending on which was addressing the proposed bill). The committee heads have immense power because of their ability to pocket veto, or to hold onto a bill and not let appear in the committee meetings (3). If it never sees the committee, it can never become a law. The committee heads all enforce this power when they do not want to deal with a proposed piece of legislature that they dislike.
To the majority of Americans the Congress seems to work vigorously only when it is in session. In reality the sessions are more of a show than anything, and the real work is done in the committees on the other days of the year (4). When the 535 members of both Congress and Senate are present in a room, not much can be accomplished with so many people. The committees break down the agenda and what needs to be completed into manageable pieces.
On top of the complex components of the House of Representatives and Senate, a great deal of knowledge regarding politics and skilled maneuvers are needed to win an election or remain in office (2). To comply with a representative democracy, elections take place every two years for the House and every six years for the Senate (2). Due to a short amount of time in between elections for the House, officials need a mindset that pleases the people to get elected while also keeping what is best for the country in mind and also staying true to their beliefs and knowledge. This is a slippery slope that can seriously damage a reputation of an official if only one mistake is made. The senators have a bit more time to recover from errors and have less of the political drama to worry about because of their longer terms. If a mistake is made it can be recovered in six years time easily and forgotten by the public.

The majority of Americans are oblivious to the committees and their heads, the sessions and daily work, and the politics involved in Congress on a day-to-day basis. People criticize the Congress for their work without fully understanding what is truly going on. Some aspects, like daily work of Congress, are seemingly concealed by the better-known and more publicized sessions of Congress. The various twists and components of committees and their heads can be confusing without in-depth research and education. More citizens need to research what goes on in Congress to fully appreciate and understand their government. I have studied and absorbed a great amount of material from this lesson, and in turn now appreciate the 535 members of Congress and their incredible and difficult work in the U. S. government system.

Acknowledgements:
Source 1- http://www.govtrack.us/congress/committees/

Source 2- http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/congress-america.htm

Source 3- Woodrow Wilson’s “Congressional Government”

Source 4- http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/uscongress/a/congsessions.htm

Picture- http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=picture+of+congress&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

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  1. mmailliard
    May 2, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Awesome job Kellye! I think you should make a couple of small changes, though. First off, in the sentence “After and in-class study of an excerpt from the notorious “Congressional Government: A Study in American Politics” by Woodrow Wilson, I would have to agree that the workings of Congress can not be fully understood without deep investigation and that certain aspects of Congress are concealed to the public’s eye.” The “and” is suppose to be an “an.” Secondly, you need a few more breaks in your large opening paragraph. I would break the paragraph at “Even” and “To the majority” and “On top.” Thirdly, I think if you moved your picture in between two paragraphs somewhere in the middle of the post, it would be much more appealing to the eye. Next, I think your thesis needs a little more development; try to include in your thesis the major points you want to focus on throughout the post because, right now, it is a little vague and seems to be rushed. All in all though, great job!

  2. aescobar2
    May 2, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Best article i’ve read yet! I think the only area you could really improve on, is your intro/thesis. The thesis in your blog is a little unclear to me, making it a little more evident will help the reader grab a better understanding of what you are writing right out of the gate. Great write!!

  3. nizzard1
    May 2, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Good job Kellye! I think that there are some problems with logistics, for example the paragraph structure. The addition of maybe one or two more paragraph breaks could help the reflection over all. Another example of editing that you could do is the introduction of smoother transitions. The transitions between your topics could benefit in some transition words. Finally the descriptions of the complexity of congress has seemed to make the descriptions complex themselves. I would advise revision of the sentence structure and flow of those descriptions. Other than that great work!

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