Lesson 22: How Does Congress Perform Its Functions in the American Constitutional System?


What types of committees are there in Congress and what are their functions?   (Video)

Types of Congressional committees and their roles and functions; permanent or standing committees and subcommittees; Article I, Section 5 and Congressional rules; control of the Congressional agenda; minority influence; regular order; power of the Speaker of the House; public hearings.

Student Questions: Unit 4, Lesson 22, Sections 1-5 (pdf download)

What is the significance of the filibuster, Hastert rule, and regular order?   (Video)

Role of the filibuster in the Senate; cloture; arguments for and against the filibuster; impact of Hastert Rule in the House; power of majority versus minority; importance of regular order.

What are some of the major issues regarding the current operation of Congress?   (Video)

Major issues regarding current operations of Congress; contrast with parliamentary systems; comparison of the roles of Speaker of the House and Majority Leader of the Senate; differences between how the House and Senate function; role of majority rule and compromise; advantages of regular order; exclusion of minority party; veto points in legislative process; veto and majority rule.

How have the three branches of the national government protected and furthered individual rights?   (Video)

Congress compared with the Supreme Court in the protection of individual rights; Bill of Rights; Brown v. Board of Education; internment of Japanese Americans; civil rights acts; Congress and criminal law; constituent influences on Congress regarding individual rights; Civil Rights Act of 1964; Voting Rights Act of 1965; role of the Executive Branch in promoting individual rights; Lyndon Johnson; formal and informal power of the president; executive orders.

What are some current issues regarding representative democracy in the United States?   (Video)

Citizens' and interest groups' influences on the legislative process; role of money in the legislative process; average citizen's impact on the legislative process; public financing of campaigns; regulations governing super PACs; positive and negative effects of the use of the investigative powers of Congress; separation of powers, checks and balances, and the majority rule; causes and remedies for dysfunction in the system.

Key Congressional Leader   (Video)
A video about the key congressional leader.

The Importance of Congressional Committees   (Video)
Discussion about the importance of congressional committees.

The Legislative Process   (Video)
A video on the legislative process by Congress.gov.

Interest Groups and Lobbying   (Video)
An explanation of lobbying from Khan Academy.

Organization of Congress   (Video)
A video describing how Congress in organized in the US.

Interest Groups: Cram for the Exam   (Video)
Two teachers explain interest groups and their role in forming American public policy.

Impeachment Hearings July 1974   (Video)
The Impeachment Hearings for President Richard Nixon in 1974.

Interest Groups: Crash Course Government and Politics   (Video)
How interest groups and lobbying works.

Legislatures: Laying Down the Law   (Video)
A video about the works of legislators by Annenberg Media.

Overview of the Legislative Process   (Video)
A series of nine videos from the Library of Congress about how federal legislation is created. (1) Overview of the Legislative Process; (2)Introduction and Referral of Bills; (3) Committee Consideration; (4) Calendars and Scheduling; (5) House Floor; (6) Senate Floor; (7) Executive Business in the Senate; (8) Resolving Differences; (9) Presidential Actions.

Public Opinion: Voice of the People   (Video)
A video about public opinion and the role it has on government policy. From Annenberg Media's Learner.org website.

60-Second Civics, Episode 34: Questions and Closing Statements During Congressi   (Audio)
The conclusion of a discussion of congressional hearings by examining the questioning of witnesses and closing statements.

60-Second Civics, Episode 33: Witness Procedures During Congressional Hearings   (Audio)
Witness procedures and strategies during congressional hearings.

60-Second Civics, Episode 32: Opening Statements in Congressional Hearings   (Audio)
The role of opening statements in congressional hearings.

60-Second Civics, Episode 31: Witness Testimony in Congressional Hearings   (Audio)
Written and spoken testimony by witnesses in congressional hearings.

60-Second Civics, Episode 30: Congressional Hearing Witnesses   (Audio)
The role of witnesses in a congressional hearing.

60-Second Civics, Episode 29: An Overview of Congressional Hearings   (Audio)
The six steps of a congressional hearing.

60-Second Civics, Episode 28: Congressional Hearings, Part 1   (Audio)
A discussion of congressional hearings, an essential part of the process of appointing a Supreme Court nominee.