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Powers of Congress:  Law-making, Budgetary, and Oversight

Powers of Congress: Law-making, Budgetary, and Oversight

Author: Kishanna Brown

Students will identify and explore the most significant powers of Congress and assess how political factors shape how members of both the House and the Senate influence decisions.

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Complete all components for Part One.


Tomorrow, you will participate in a simulation of how a bill becomes a law.  In doing so, chose a topic of interest to you.  For example, it could be something on the 2012 Maryland Ballot like the extended gaming bill or it can be the introduction of a new classroom rule or even a broader topic that impacts the country like an immigration bill.  

Once you've decided on a topic, begin drafting your bill to submit to our Mock Congress.  Your bill must include each of the parts listed below to be accepted by the Speaker of the House and assigned to a Committee for review.

  • Title 
    • Introduces the bill and catches the attention of other E-Legislators
  • Sponsors' Names 
    • Identifies the authors of the legislation
  • Purpose 
    • Explains the goals of your bill
  • Eligibility 
    • Identifies who will receive the services outlined in your bill
  • Terms and Benefits 
    • Explains the extent and duration of services provided by the bill
  • Fiscal Impact 
    • Provides information on the costs of the legislation

Once your bill is completely written, review the chart below for how a bill becomes a law.


How A Bill Becomes A Law


Pork and Earmarks

Explore the differences between an earmark and pork (pork barrel) spending: 




And then,closely read and take notes on the “Budgetary Functions” and Oversight Function” on pages 247 through 252.  

Part Two

Complete all the components for Part Two.

Congressional Oversight

As you listen to the video, take notes on congressional oversight.

Source: Citizen U

Divided Government

As you watch this video, take notes on divided government.

Source: Citizen U

Oversight Function

 Students will review “Oversight Function” starting on page 250 and closely read and take notes on the “How Members Make Decisions” starting on page 252.