Explain the different functions that the U.S. Congress performs as discussed in the film.
There are many functions performed by the United States Congress. One of the most important functions is their lawmaking abilities. According to the video, “The Constitution makes Congress the first branch and reserves to it the national Law-Making power.” (Cook, 2007) The laws that govern U.S. Citizens can be one of the biggest factors in determining their quality of life. They have to walk that fine line when passing laws between whether they are necessary and whether they might be too intrusive and wind up being considered un-constitutional. Congress is made up of elected officials that serve terms of 2 years and if a law has not been passed by the members over their 2 year term, the law is dead and they must start over after a change of hands. There are also many other committees and groups created by Congress that oversee certain agencies or real-world issues that end up reporting back to Congress and then they decide from those reports on if they need to regulate or create laws off of those findings.
Explain why some aspects of the U.S. Congress are democratic and some aspects are not democratic.
There is still a democratic aspect to Congress in that the people that are elected to serve as representatives are elected by their citizens they are serving. The actual functionality of Congress however, is not as democratic. There are strong views from both sides of the political parties on almost every issue so it is hard for the representatives to get a passing vote much of the time. This creates the need for certain members to have more power which takes away some of the democracy. By giving the party leaders more power to shape policy, Congress is taking away some of the processes of deliberation that were put into place to make sure that all points of views and all sides were given their due.
Van Belle, D. A. (2016). A novel approach to politics. Thousand Oaks, CA: CQ Press.
Cook, R. (Producer). (2007). Congress: How it works (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
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[Video file]. Retrieved from https://secure.films.com/OnDemandEmbed.aspx?token=49121&aid=18596&plt=FOD&loid=0&w=400&h=340