OER Librarian
Political Science
Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division, College / Upper Division
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
Bill Sponsor, Cloture, Conference Committee, Filibuster, Gerrymandering, House Rules Committee, Joint Committees, Majority-minority Districts, Pocket Veto, Reapportionment, Redistricting, Select Committees, Standing Committees, Veto
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Congress: Course Map & Recommended Resources



The resources included here are intended to map to the following learning objectives for an American Government Course:

  1. Discuss the theoretical ideas that shaped the structure of Congress.
  2. List the constitutional powers of the legislative branch.
  3. Differentiate between the rules of the Senate and the House and how those rules affect legislative outcomes.
  4. Describe the three major policymaking functions of Congress.
  5. Discuss external and internal actors that influence the policymaking process
  6. Explain the process of a bill becoming a law.
  7. Describe the role of the committee system in the legislative process.
  8. Investigate the tension between the goals of individual members of Congress and the goals of Congressional parties and Congress as a whole.

Discussion and Key Concepts

Discussion Questions

  1. Discuss the differences between the House of Representatives and the Senate and how they’re each organized, including the key leadership positions.

  2. Discuss the difference between the delegate model of representation and the trustee model of representation. Does each model work best in both Houses or is each model better aligned with one House over the other? Explain. What’s the politico model of representation?

  3. Discuss incumbency reelection rates (especially for the House of Republicans) and the various reasons why those rates are so high (> 90%).

  4. Who is the Speaker of the House of Representatives? What are functions of the Speaker? How does one become the Speaker of the House?  How can the Speaker influence the rules of the house?

  5. Distinguish among the law making, representation, and oversight functions of Congress.

  6. Describe the process of how a bill becomes a law. Describe how accurate you think Schoolhouse Rock’s description is.

Key Terms

  1. Reapportionment

  2. Redistricting

  3. Gerrymandering

  4. Majority-minority districts

  5. House Rules Committee

  6. Filibuster

  7. Bill sponsor

  8. Cloture

  9. Conference Committee

  10. Joint committees

  11. Select committees

  12. Standing committees

  13. Pocket veto

  14. Veto

Supreme Court Cases

  1. Baker v. Carr (1961)

  2. Wesberry v. Sanders (1964)

  3. Reynolds v. Sims (1964)