•What are the duties of the job of serving in Congress?
•How are members of Congress compensated, and what privileges do they have?
Senators and representatives are elected to represent people. As legislators, they have four voting options:
•As committee members, senators and representatives screen proposed laws before they are voted on.
•Another vital part of their committee work involves the oversight function.
•Oversight is the the process by which Congress, through its committees, checks to see that the agencies of the executive branch are working effectively.
•Members of the House and the Senate also act as servants of their constituents.
•Requests from voters vary widely, and members of Congress take heed to many of them. Ignoring their constituencies would not bode well in the next election.
•Today, senators and representatives are paid a salary of $174,000 a year. Certain members, such as the Speaker of the House and the Senate’s president pro tem make $223,500, party leaders make $193,400
•The franking privilege allows members of Congress to mail letters and other materials postage-free by substituting their facsimile signature (frank) for the postage.
•The Constitution says that Congress fixes its own “compensation.” Therefore, the only real limits to congressional pay are the President’s veto and fear of voter backlash against a pay increase. Privileges
•Members of Congress are immune from arrest for noncriminal offenses while engaged in congressional business.
•More importantly, the Speech and Debate Clause (Article I, Section 6, Clause 1) protects representatives and senators from suits for libel or slander arising from their official conduct.
Compensation for senators is
a. set by the Constitution. c. set by the President.
b. higher than for representatives. d. the same as for representatives.
Few members of Congress today
a. are minorities. c. are white males.
b. have college degrees. d. are married.
Members of Congress fill all of the following roles EXCEPT that of
a. legislator. c. Cabinet member.
b. committee member. d. servant to constituents.
Answers: D / A / C