United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper chamber. Together they compose the legislature of the United States; the composition of the House is established by Article One of the United States Constitution. The House is composed of Representatives who sit in congressional districts that are allocated to each of the 50 states on a basis of population as measured by the U. S. Census, with each district entitled to one representative. Since its inception in 1789, all Representatives have been directly elected; the total number of voting representatives is fixed by law at 435. As of the 2010 Census, the largest delegation is that of California, with fifty-three representatives. Seven states have only one representative: Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming; the House is charged with the passage of federal legislation, known as bills, after concurrence by the Senate, are sent to the President for consideration.
In addition to this basic power, the House has certain exclusive powers, among them the power to initiate all bills related to revenue. The House meets in the south wing of the United States Capitol; the presiding officer is the Speaker of the House, elected by the members thereof. The Speaker and other floor leaders are chosen by the Democratic Caucus or the Republican Conference, depending on whichever party has more voting members. Under the Articles of Confederation, the Congress of the Confederation was a unicameral body in which each state was represented, in which each state had a veto over most action. After eight years of a more limited confederal government under the Articles, numerous political leaders such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton initiated the Constitutional Convention in 1787, which received the Confederation Congress's sanction to "amend the Articles of Confederation". All states except Rhode Island agreed to send delegates; the issue of how to structure Congress was one of the most divisive among the founders during the Convention.
Edmund Randolph's Virginia Plan called for a bicameral Congress: the lower house would be "of the people", elected directly by the people of the United States and representing public opinion, a more deliberative upper house, elected by the lower house, that would represent the individual states, would be less susceptible to variations of mass sentiment. The House is referred to as the lower house, with the Senate being the upper house, although the United States Constitution does not use that terminology. Both houses' approval is necessary for the passage of legislation; the Virginia Plan drew the support of delegates from large states such as Virginia and Pennsylvania, as it called for representation based on population. The smaller states, favored the New Jersey Plan, which called for a unicameral Congress with equal representation for the states; the Convention reached the Connecticut Compromise or Great Compromise, under which one house of Congress would provide representation proportional to each state's population, whereas the other would provide equal representation amongst the states.
The Constitution was ratified by the requisite number of states in 1788, but its implementation was set for March 4, 1789. The House began work on April 1789, when it achieved a quorum for the first time. During the first half of the 19th century, the House was in conflict with the Senate over regionally divisive issues, including slavery; the North was much more populous than the South, therefore dominated the House of Representatives. However, the North held no such advantage in the Senate, where the equal representation of states prevailed. Regional conflict was most pronounced over the issue of slavery. One example of a provision supported by the House but blocked by the Senate was the Wilmot Proviso, which sought to ban slavery in the land gained during the Mexican–American War. Conflict over slavery and other issues persisted until the Civil War, which began soon after several southern states attempted to secede from the Union; the war culminated in the abolition of slavery. All southern senators except Andrew Johnson resigned their seats at the beginning of the war, therefore the Senate did not hold the balance of power between North and South during the war.
The years of Reconstruction that followed witnessed large majorities for the Republican Party, which many Americans associated with the Union's victory in the Civil War and the ending of slavery. The Reconstruction period ended in about 1877; the Democratic Party and Republican Party each held majorities in the House at various times. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw a dramatic increase in the power of the Speaker of the House; the rise of the Speaker's influence began in the 1890s, during the tenure of Republican Thomas Brackett Reed. "Czar Reed", as he was nicknamed, attempted to put into effect his view that "The best system is to have one party govern and the other party watch." The leadership structure of the House developed during the same period, with the positions of Majority Leader and Minority Leader being created in 1899. While the Minority Leader
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party; the Democrats' dominant worldview was once social conservatism and economic liberalism, while populism was its leading characteristic in the rural South. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt ran as a third-party candidate in the Progressive Party, beginning a switch of political platforms between the Democratic and Republican Party over the coming decades, leading to Woodrow Wilson being elected as the first fiscally progressive Democrat. Since Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal coalition in the 1930s, the Democratic Party has promoted a social liberal platform, supporting social justice. Well into the 20th century, the party had conservative pro-business and Southern conservative-populist anti-business wings.
The New Deal Coalition of 1932–1964 attracted strong support from voters of recent European extraction—many of whom were Catholics based in the cities. After Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal of the 1930s, the pro-business wing withered outside the South. After the racial turmoil of the 1960s, most Southern whites and many Northern Catholics moved into the Republican Party at the presidential level; the once-powerful labor union element became less supportive after the 1970s. White Evangelicals and Southerners became Republican at the state and local level since the 1990s. People living in metropolitan areas, women and gender minorities, college graduates, racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, such as Jewish Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Arab Americans and African Americans, tend to support the Democratic Party much more than they support the rival Republican Party; the Democratic Party's philosophy of modern liberalism advocates social and economic equality, along with the welfare state.
It seeks to provide government regulation in the economy. These interventions, such as the introduction of social programs, support for labor unions, affordable college tuitions, moves toward universal health care and equal opportunity, consumer protection and environmental protection form the core of the party's economic policy. Fifteen Democrats have served as President of the United States; the first was President Andrew Jackson, the seventh president and served from 1829 to 1837. The most recent was President Barack Obama, the 44th president and held office from 2009 to 2017. Following the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats held a majority in the House of Representatives, "trifectas" in 14 states, the mayoralty of numerous major American cities, such as Boston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Portland and Washington, D. C. Twenty-three state governors were Democrats, the Party was the minority party in the Senate and in most state legislatures; as of March 2019, four of the nine Justices of the Supreme Court had been appointed by Democratic presidents.
Democratic Party officials trace its origins to the inspiration of the Democratic-Republican Party, founded by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and other influential opponents of the Federalists in 1792. That party inspired the Whigs and modern Republicans. Organizationally, the modern Democratic Party arose in the 1830s with the election of Andrew Jackson. Since the nomination of William Jennings Bryan in 1896, the party has positioned itself to the left of the Republican Party on economic issues, they have been more liberal on civil rights issues since 1948. On foreign policy, both parties have changed position several times; the Democratic Party evolved from the Jeffersonian Republican or Democratic-Republican Party organized by Jefferson and Madison in opposition to the Federalist Party of Alexander Hamilton and John Adams. The party favored republicanism; the Democratic-Republican Party came to power in the election of 1800. After the War of 1812, the Federalists disappeared and the only national political party left was the Democratic-Republicans.
The era of one-party rule in the United States, known as the Era of Good Feelings, lasted from 1816 until the early 1830s, when the Whig Party became a national political group to rival the Democratic-Republicans. However, the Democratic-Republican Party still had its own internal factions, they split over the choice of a successor to President James Monroe and the party faction that supported many of the old Jeffersonian principles, led by Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, became the modern Democratic Party. As Norton explains the transformation in 1828: Jacksonians believed the people's will had prevailed. Through a lavishly financed coalition of state parties, political leaders, newspaper editors, a popular movement had elected the president; the Democrats became the nation's first well-organized national party and tight party organization became the hallmark of nineteenth-century American politics. Opposing factions led by Henry Clay helped form the Whig Party; the Democratic Party had a small yet decisive advantage over the Whigs until the 1850s, when the Whigs fell apart over the issue of slavery.
In 1854, angry with the Kansas–Nebraska Act, anti-slavery Dem
Kevin Patrick Brady is the U. S. Representative for Texas's 8th congressional district, serving since 1997, he is a member of the Republican Party. The district includes a large swath of rural territory north of Houston. Brady was born in one of five children of William F. and Nancy A. Brady, his father, a lawyer, was killed in 1967 in a courtroom shooting in Rapid City when Brady was 12 years old. His mother was left to raise five children by herself. While at Central High School, he was a four-sport athlete, he graduated in 1973. Working his way through college holding a variety of jobs—construction worker, meat packer, manufacturing worker and bartender, Brady earned a degree in mass communications from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he played varsity baseball, served in the student government association and became a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. In 2005, he was named a distinguished alumnus of the university, in 2001, was a recipient of the order of achievement by the national Lambda Chi Alpha organization.
A chamber of commerce executive at the Rapid City area chamber of commerce, Brady was elected to the Rapid City common council, at age 26. In 1982, he moved to Texas to work for the Beaumont chamber of commerce and the south Montgomery county, The Woodlands chamber of commerce. Brady began his Texas political career in 1990 when he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, representing The Woodlands, parts of Montgomery County, five other counties west and north of Houston. In 2002, Brady voted in favor of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq, authorizing the U. S. invasion of Iraq the following year. In 2005, Brady was a chief supporter of the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement, working with the George W. Bush administration to secure passage of that free-trade agreement. In 2011, Brady voted in favor of free-trade agreements with South Korea Colombia, Panama. However, in 2017, Brady supports President Donald Trump's proposed border adjustment tax, arguing that the tax on imports would place the U.
S. on a level playing field with other countries that have the tax and would raise an estimated $1 trillion for the federal budget. Brady is known as the author of a federal "sunset law" that would require every federal program not written into the Constitution to justify its existence to taxpayers within 12 years or face elimination. Brady is the chairman of the U. S. House–Senate joint economic committee, the third Texan to lead the committee, after Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Rep. Wright Patman. In March 2012, he proposed the Sound Dollar Act, legislation to require the Federal Reserve to monitor gold and the foreign-exchange value of the U. S. dollar. The bill would repeal the Federal Reserve's dual mandate and replace it with a single mandate for U. S. dollar price stability. In November 2015, Brady was elected the 65th chairman of the Committee on Means; as of 2017, Brady serves as chairman of the Committee on Means. In March 2017, Brady introduced an amendment to the American Health Care Act that would allow health insurance providers to deduct all forms of compensation to their most compensated executives without limit, repealing the current law, which capped the deduction at $500,000 per executive.
Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik criticized Brady's amendment as a "secret payoff" to the health insurance industry because of the cryptic language of Brady's amendment. As chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Brady opposed a resolution to request ten years' worth of returns from President Trump and his business entities. Brady said that the resolution was an abuse done for "obvious political purposes". In February 2016, House Speaker Paul Ryan designated Brady as the leader of his Tax Reform Task Force. In November 2017, Brady said that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 would provide "tax relief at every level". Brady's claim that 70% of the tax cuts in the bill would go to households making below $200,000 was found to be "misleading" by FactCheck. Org and "cherry-picked" by PolitiFact. FactCheck.org noted that "57.7 percent of the tax relief goes to those families making less than $200,000 in 2019 — not the 70 percent that Brady cited for 2019. By 2027, 50 percent of tax relief as a result of business and individual income tax changes would go to those making more than $200,000 a year."
1996Incumbent Republican congressman Jack Fields of Texas' 8th congressional district decided to retire. Brady decided to run and ranked second in the Republican primary with 22% of the vote in a six candidate field, but the candidate who ranked first, Dr. Gene Fontenot, received just 36% of the vote, short of the 50% threshold. In the run-off election, Brady defeated him 53%–47%. However, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Bush v. Vera that three congressional districts in Texas were unconstitutional. After holding hearings, the court concluded that there was no longer time to hold primaries and instead forced all candidates be listed together on the November general election ballot in a jungle primary. If no candidate reached 50%, a special runoff would be held on December 10 between the two highest ranking candidates regardless of political party. In the November election, Brady ranked first with 41% of the vote. In the December run-off election, he defeated Fontenot again 59%–41%.
1998–2008During this time period, he never won re-election with less than 67% of th
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland known internationally as the UK Parliament, British Parliament, or Westminster Parliament, domestically as Parliament, is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign, the House of Lords, the House of Commons; the two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London. The House of Lords includes two different types of members: the Lords Spiritual, consisting of the most senior bishops of the Church of England, the Lords Temporal, consisting of life peers, appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister, of 92 hereditary peers, sitting either by virtue of holding a royal office, or by being elected by their fellow hereditary peers.
Prior to the opening of the Supreme Court in October 2009, the House of Lords performed a judicial role through the Law Lords. The House of Commons is an elected chamber with elections to 650 single member constituencies held at least every five years under the first-past-the-post system; the two Houses meet in separate chambers in the Palace of Westminster in London. By constitutional convention, all government ministers, including the Prime Minister, are members of the House of Commons or, less the House of Lords and are thereby accountable to the respective branches of the legislature. Most cabinet ministers are from the Commons, whilst junior ministers can be from either House. However, the Leader of the House of Lords must be a peer; the Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Treaty of Union by Acts of Union passed by the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland, both Acts of Union stating, "That the United Kingdom of Great Britain be represented by one and the same Parliament to be styled The Parliament of Great Britain".
At the start of the 19th century, Parliament was further enlarged by Acts of Union ratified by the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland that abolished the latter and added 100 Irish MPs and 32 Lords to the former to create the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 formally amended the name to the "Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", five years after the secession of the Irish Free State in 1922. With the global expansion of the British Empire, the UK Parliament has shaped the political systems of many countries as ex-colonies and so it has been called the "Mother of Parliaments". However, John Bright – who coined the epithet – used it in reference to the political culture of "England" rather than just the parliamentary system. In theory, the UK's supreme legislative power is vested in the Crown-in-Parliament. However, the Crown acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and the powers of the House of Lords are limited to only delaying legislation.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created on 1 January 1801, by the merger of the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland under the Acts of Union 1800. The principle of ministerial responsibility to the lower House did not develop until the 19th century—the House of Lords was superior to the House of Commons both in theory and in practice. Members of the House of Commons were elected in an antiquated electoral system, under which constituencies of vastly different sizes existed. Thus, the borough of Old Sarum, with seven voters, could elect two members, as could the borough of Dunwich, which had completely disappeared into the sea due to land erosion. Many small constituencies, known as pocket or rotten boroughs, were controlled by members of the House of Lords, who could ensure the election of their relatives or supporters. During the reforms of the 19th century, beginning with the Reform Act 1832, the electoral system for the House of Commons was progressively regularised.
No longer dependent on the Lords for their seats, MPs grew more assertive. The supremacy of the British House of Commons was reaffirmed in the early 20th century. In 1909, the Commons passed the so-called "People's Budget", which made numerous changes to the taxation system which were detrimental to wealthy landowners; the House of Lords, which consisted of powerful landowners, rejected the Budget. On the basis of the Budget's popularity and the Lords' consequent unpopularity, the Liberal Party narrowly won two general elections in 1910. Using the result as a mandate, the Liberal Prime Minister, Herbert Henry Asquith, introduced the Parliament Bill, which sought to restrict the powers of the House of Lords; when the Lords refused to pass the bill, Asquith countered with a promise extracted from the King in secret before the second general election of 1910 and requested the creation of several hundred Liberal peers, so as to erase the Conservative majority in the House of Lords. In the face of such a threat, the House of Lords narrowly passed the bill.
The Parliament Act 1911, as it became, prevented the Lords from blocking a money bill, allowed them to delay any other bill for a maximum of three sessions, after which it could become law over their objections. However, regardless of the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949, t
Richard Edmund Neal is an American politician serving as the U. S. Representative for Massachusetts's 1st congressional district, he is a member of the Democratic Party and a former city councilor and mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts. He is the dean of the Massachusetts delegation to the House of Representatives. Neal was president of the Springfield City Council from 1979 to 1983, serving as mayor of Springfield from 1983 to 1989, he was nearly unopposed when he ran for the House of Representatives in 1988. As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and former chairman of the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures, Neal is an influential figure in House economic policy, he has dedicated much of his career to US–Ireland relations and maintaining American involvement in the Northern Ireland peace process, for which he has won several acclamations. He has a liberal voting record, but is considered a moderate on such issues as abortion and trade. Richard Edmund Neal was born February 14, 1949, in Worcester, the oldest of three children of Mary H. and Edmund John Neal.
He and his two younger sisters were raised in Springfield by their mother, a housewife, their father, a custodian at MassMutual. Neal's maternal grandparents were from Northern Ireland and his paternal grandparents were from Ireland and Cornwall. Neal's mother died of a heart attack when he was 13, he was attending Springfield Technical High School when his father, an alcoholic, died. Neal and his two younger sisters moved in with their grandmother and their aunt, forced to rely on Social Security checks as they grew up. After graduating from high school, Neal attended Holyoke Community College in Holyoke and American International College in Springfield, with the assistance of survivor's benefits, he graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. He attended the University of Hartford's Barney School of Business and Public Administration, graduating in 1976 with a Master of Arts in public administration. Early in his career Neal taught history at Cathedral High School. Neal began his political career as co-chairman of Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern's 1972 election campaign in Western Massachusetts.
In 1973 he became an assistant to Springfield Mayor William C. Sullivan. Neal was elected to the Springfield City Council in 1978 and was named President of the City Council in 1979; the following year he was named as a delegate for presidential candidate Edward M. Kennedy at the 1980 Democratic National Convention. While a city councilor, Neal taught history at Cathedral High School, gave lectures at Springfield College, American International College, Springfield Technical Community College and Western New England College. In 1983 Neal made plans to challenge Theodore Dimauro, the Democratic incumbent mayor of Springfield; the pressure led Dimauro to retire and Neal was elected mayor. Neal was reelected in 1985 and 1987; as mayor, Neal oversaw a period of significant economic growth, with over $400 million of development and investment in the city, a surplus in the city budget. He worked to strengthen Springfield's appearance, pushing to revive and preserve the city's historic homes and initiating an influential Clean City Campaign to reduce litter.
Neal ran for the United States House of Representatives in Massachusetts's 2nd congressional district in 1988 after 18-term Democratic incumbent Edward Boland retired. Boland had alerted Neal of his impending retirement. Neal raised $200,000 in campaign contributions and collected signatures across the district before the retirement was formally announced, he was unopposed in the Democratic primary, his only general election opponent was Communist Party candidate Louis R. Godena, whom he defeated with over 80 percent of the vote. Neal has won reelection every two years since. Former Springfield mayor Theodore Dimauro, reflecting sentiments that Neal had an unfair advantage in the previous election, ran as a challenger in the 1990 Democratic primary. Dimauro's campaign was sullied by a false rumor he spread about the Bank of New England's financial situation, Neal won the primary easily, he was unopposed in the general election. In 1992 his popularity was threatened by the House banking scandal, in which he had made dozens of unpenalized overdrafts at the House Bank.
After narrowly defeating two Democratic opponents, he was challenged by Republican Anthony W. Ravosa, Jr. and Independent Thomas R. Sheehan. Neal won with 53 percent of the vote. In a Springfield Union-News poll taken in mid-October 1994, Neal was ahead of John Briare by only 6 percentage points. Neal went on to spend nearly $500,000 in the last two weeks of the campaign to defeat Briare; the 1994 general election featured a third-party candidate, Kate Ross, who received 6% of the vote. With blanks, Neal received only 51% of the vote in 1994. Since 1994 Neal has had little electoral opposition, he was challenged by Mark Steele in 1996 and dispatched him with 71 percent of the vote and ran unopposed in 1998. In 2000 he won the Democratic primary against Joseph R. Fountain, who challenged Neal's positions as "anti-choice" and "anti-gun". Neal had been unopposed in the general election since 1996, but faced Republican opponent Tom Wesley in the 2010 United States Congressional elections, which Neal won by a margin of 57% to 43%.
For his first 12 terms in Congress, Neal represented a district centered on Springfield and stretching as far east as the southern and western suburbs of Worcester. When Massachusetts lost a congressional district after the 2010 census, the bulk of Neal's territory, including his home in Springfield, was merged with the 1st District, held by fellow D
Unemployment benefits are payments made by back authorized bodies to unemployed people. In the United States, benefits are funded by a compulsory governmental insurance system, not taxes on individual citizens. Depending on the jurisdiction and the status of the person, those sums may be small, covering only basic needs, or may compensate the lost time proportionally to the previous earned salary. Unemployment benefits are given only to those registering as unemployed, on conditions ensuring that they seek work and do not have a job, are validated as being laid off and not fired for cause in most states; the first modern unemployment benefit scheme was introduced in the United Kingdom with the National Insurance Act 1911 under the Liberal Party government of H. H. Asquith; the popular measures were to combat the increasing influence of the Labour Party among the country's working-class population. The Act gave the British working classes a contributory system of insurance against illness and unemployment.
It only applied to wage earners and their families and the unwaged had to rely on other sources of support, if any. Key figures in the implementation of the Act included Robert Laurie Morant, William Braithwaite. By the time of its implementation, the benefit was criticized by communists, who thought such insurance would prevent workers from starting a revolution, while employers and tories saw it as a "necessary evil"; the scheme was based on actuarial principles and it was funded by a fixed amount each from workers and taxpayers. It was restricted to particular industries more volatile ones like shipbuilding, did not make provision for any dependants. After one week of unemployment, the worker was eligible for receiving 7 shillings/week for up to 15 weeks in a year. By 1913, 2.3 million were insured under the scheme for unemployment benefit. The Unemployment Insurance Act 1920 created the dole system of payments for unemployed workers; the dole system provided 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to over 11 million workers—practically the entire civilian working population except domestic service, farm workers, railroad men, civil servants.
Unemployment benefits were introduced in Germany in 1927, in most European countries in the period after the Second World War with the expansion of the welfare state. Unemployment insurance in the United States originated in Wisconsin in 1932. Through the Social Security Act of 1935, the federal government of the United States encouraged the individual states to adopt unemployment insurance plans. In Argentina, successive administrations have used a variety of passive and active labour market interventions to protect workers against the consequences of economic shocks; the government's key institutional response to combat the increase in poverty and unemployment created by the crisis was the launch of an active unemployment assistance programme called Plan Jefas y Jefes de Hogar Desocupados. In Australia, social security benefits, including unemployment benefits, are funded through the taxation system. There is no compulsory national unemployment insurance fund. Rather, benefits are funded in the annual Federal Budget by the National Treasury and are administrated and distributed throughout the nation by the government agency, Centrelink.
Benefit rates are indexed to the Consumer Price Index and are adjusted twice a year according to inflation or deflation. There are two types of payment available to those experiencing unemployment; the first, called Youth Allowance, is paid to young people aged 16–20. Youth Allowance is paid to full-time students aged 16–24, to full-time Australian Apprenticeship workers aged 16–24. People aged below 18 who have not completed their High School education, are required to be in full-time education, undertaking an apprenticeship or doing training to be eligible for Youth Allowance. For single people under 18 years of age living with a parent or parents the basic rate is A$91.60 per week. For over-18- to 20-year-olds living at home this increases to A$110.15 per week. For those aged 18–20 not living at home the rate is A$167.35 per week. There are special rates for those with partners and/or children; the second kind of payment is called Newstart Allowance and is paid to unemployed people over the age of 21 and under the pension eligibility age.
To receive a Newstart payment, recipients must be unemployed, be prepared to enter into an Employment Pathway Plan by which they agree to undertake certain activities to increase their opportunities for employment, be Australian Residents and satisfy the income test and the assets test. The rate of Newstart allowance as at 12 January 2010 for single people without children is A$228 per week, paid fortnightly. Different rates apply to people with partners and/or children. People have had to survive on $39 a day from Newstart since 1994, there have been calls to raise this by politicians and NGO groups; the system in Australia is designed to support recipients no matter how long they have been unemployed. In recent years the former Coalition government under John Howard has increa
United States congressional committee
A congressional committee is a legislative sub-organization in the United States Congress that handles a specific duty. Committee membership enables members to develop specialized knowledge of the matters under their jurisdiction; as "little legislatures", the committees monitor on-going governmental operations, identify issues suitable for legislative review and evaluate information, recommend courses of action to their parent body. Woodrow Wilson once wrote, "it is not far from the truth to say that Congress in session is Congress on public exhibition, whilst Congress in its committee rooms is Congress at work." It is neither expected nor possible that a member of Congress be an expert on all matters and subject areas that come before Congress. Congressional committees provide valuable informational services to Congress by investigating and reporting about specialized subjects. Congress divides its legislative and internal administrative tasks among 200 committees and subcommittees. Within assigned areas, these functional subunits gather information.
While this investigatory function is important, procedures such as the House discharge petition process are so difficult to implement that committee jurisdiction over particular subject matter of bills has expanded into semi-autonomous power. Of the 73 discharge petitions submitted to the full House from 1995 through 2007, only one was successful in securing a definitive yea-or-nay vote for a bill; the growing autonomy of committees has fragmented the power of each congressional chamber as a unit. This dispersion of power has weakened the legislative branch relative to the other two branches of the federal government, the executive branch and the judiciary branch. In his cited article History of the House of Representatives, written in 1961, American scholar George B. Galloway wrote: "In practice, Congress functions not as a unified institution, but as a collection of semi-autonomous committees that act in unison." Galloway went on to cite committee autonomy as a factor interfering with the adoption of a coherent legislative program.
Such autonomy remains a characteristic feature of the committee system in Congress today. In 1932, a reform movement temporarily reduced the number of signatures required on discharge petitions in the U. S. House of Representatives from a constitutional majority of 218 down to 145, i.e. from one-half to one-third of the House membership. This reform was abolished in a 1935 counterattack led by the intra-House oligarchy, thus the era of the Great Depression marks the last across-the-board change, albeit a short-lived one, in the autonomy of House standing committees. The modern committee structure stems from the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, the first and most ambitious restructuring of the standing committee system since the committee system was first developed; the 1946 act reduced the number of House committees from 48 to 19 and the number of Senate committees from 33 to 15. Jurisdictions of all committees were codified by rule in their respective chambers, which helped consolidate or eliminate many existing committees and minimize jurisdictional conflicts.
The Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress, a temporary committee established in 1993 to conduct a policy and historical analysis of the committee system, determined that while the 1946 Act was instrumental in streamlining the committee system, it did fail to limit the number of subcommittees allowed on any one committee. Today, Rules in the U. S. House of Representatives limit each full committee to five subcommittees, with the exception of Appropriations, Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Transportation and Infrastructure. There are no limits on the number of subcommittees in the U. S. Senate. Congress has convened several other temporary review committees to analyze and make recommendations on ways to reform and improve the committee system. For example, the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 led to further reforms to open Congress to further public visibility, strengthen its decision-making capacities, augment minority rights; the 1970 Act provided for recorded teller votes in the House's Committee of the Whole.
Between 1994 to 2014, overall committee staffing was reduced by 35 percent. The number of hearings held in the House declined from 6,000 hearings per year in the 1970s, to about 4,000 hearings in 1994, to just over 2,000 hearings in 2014. Commentators from both parties have expressed concern regarding the loss of committee capacity to research and develop legislative initiatives; the first Senate committee was established April 1789, to draw up Senate rules of procedure. In those early days, the Senate operated with temporary select committees, which were responsive to the entire Senate, with the full Senate selecting their jurisdiction and membership; this system provided a great deal of flexibility, as if one committee proved unresponsive, another could be established in its place. The Senate could forgo committee referral for actions on legislation or presidential nominations; these early c