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Gridlock in Washington -CQ Researcher April 2010
Historic health-care legislation was enacted this spring, but the slow crawl of the law through the Senate suggests to many observers that Washington is in a state of gridlock — nearly unable to make new policy. Some political scientists blame the increasingly fierce competition for power between the ideologically rigid Democratic and Republican parties, which has risen to levels not seen since the Civil War.
Congress of the United States
The legislative branch of the federal government, instituted (1789) by Article 1 of the Constitution of the United States, which prescribes its membership and defines its powers. Congress is composed of two houses—the Senate and the House of Representatives.
House of Representatives
The House of Representatives, created as the “popular” branch of government, was intended to counterbalance the more elitist Senate and presidency.
The Framers of the Constitution created the U.S. Senate as a safeguard for the rights of states and minority opinion in a powerful national government.
Term limitation is an institutional option in representative democracy that, if taken, sets some maximum amount of time that an individual can serve in some public office. In contemporary America, for example, the president, most state governors, nearly half the states' legislators, and some 3,000 officials at the local level are term limited.
Baker v. Carr
This case made it possible for unrepresented voters to have their districts redrawn by federal courts, initiating a decade of lawsuits that would eventually result in a redrawing of the nation’s political map. In many states it reduced the disproportionate power of rural voters and their legislative representation and increased that of urban and suburban voters and their representation.
Wesberry v. Sanders
Wesberry was the first real test of the “reapportionment revolution” set in motion by Baker v. Carr (1962), in which the Supreme Court held that federal courts could rule on reapportionment questions.
Legislative Branch Websites
Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress
Search for biographical information on members of congress from 1774 to the present.
Congress.gov is the official website for U.S. federal legislative information. The site provides access to accurate, timely, and complete legislative information for Members of Congress, legislative agencies, and the public.
GovTrack.us is a tool by Civic Impulse, LLC to help the public research and track the activities in the U.S. Congress, promoting and innovating government transparency and civic education through novel uses of technology.
How Federal Laws are Made
Outline of the legislative process compiled by the Library of Congress.
The Legislative Branch
The White House webpage outlining the role of the Legislative Branch in the federal goverment
Legislative Branch (usa.gov)
The federal government's webpage devoted to the legislative branch.
Library of Congress: Congressional Information
Provides access to Congressional information available on the Library of Congress Web site.
The official congressional newspaper
The U.S. House of Representatives
The homepage of the United States House of Representatives.
The U.S. Senate
The homepage of the United States Senate