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House likely to approve homeland security bill that erodes labor protections
July 26, 2002 11:23 AM   Subscribe

House likely to approve homeland security bill that erodes labor protections "But the Senate, which likely takes up the matter next week, so far has pursued a much different course. On Thursday, the Democratic-led Senate Governmental Affairs Committee crafted legislation that would protect all current civil service protections and make it more difficult for the president to move workers out of unions. Bush and other Republicans said the measure would give the president less authority than he has now."

The House seems to be so much more conservative and extremist than the Senate. Heck they're still working on trying to ban selected types of abortion procedures even when there's a strong chance it won't pass constitutional muster and the Senate isn't likely to support them.

Is it your perception that the House is more conservative? If so, why do you think that's true?
posted by Red58 (19 comments total)

 
The House is more conservative. Perhaps it's because Republicans have a majority in the House and Democrats have a majority in the Senate?
posted by lackutrol at 11:43 AM on July 26, 2002


The House is not necessarily more conservative, but they are more likely to respond to stupid hot-button issues because they're up for re-election every two years. Since the current administration is conservative, most of the stupid hot-button issues are on that side of the political spectrum.

The Senate, on the other hand, can usually think things through a little more carefully than their comrades down the hall because the public's memory typically doesn't last six years.

Thus, we get the House passing a lot of worthless crap that will never pass Constitutional muster so they can crow about it in their newsletters to their constituents, and then complain loudly to the news cameras when the Senate stomps all over it like a flaming bag of poo.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:54 AM on July 26, 2002


Can't have those commie unions mucking things up for Cheney Dr. Evil now, can we? It's exceedingly difficult to plot nefarious deeds from your secret lair or traveling to Florida in a submarine with those damable union members all around! Of course, there's nothing at all ideological about this position either, isn't that correct? Naaa..I didn't think so. I mean, unions have been the ruin of good government and most especially security in the good ole' US of A.
posted by nofundy at 12:10 PM on July 26, 2002


I mean, unions have been the ruin of good government and most especially security in the good ole' US of A.

I agree. They have played their part in the general decline.
posted by insomnyuk at 12:28 PM on July 26, 2002


It's not just the shorter terms; it's the non-proportional representation. States with small populations and little say in The House suddenly become just as important as any other State in The Senate.

It's a much more conservative (lowercase c) body when it comes to passing legislation in general.
posted by alan at 12:33 PM on July 26, 2002


The House seems to be so much more conservative and extremist than the Senate.

Another reason for this (besides what mr_crash_davis wrote) is that Senate candidates have to appeal to an entire state, with all its political diversity, while House candidates have to appeal only to a Congressional district. Because of gerrymandering, many of these districts have an overwhelming number of like-minded people.

Therefore, generally, House members can afford to be more conservative or more liberal or whatnot.
posted by Tin Man at 12:37 PM on July 26, 2002


Alan -- the non-proportional representation is in the Senate, though, not in the House... and most of those states with disproportionate Senate power are from the far West, which tend to be more conservative, I think. So maybe we'd expect the Senate to be more conservative. But I think the gerrymandering still makes the House much more extremist.
posted by Tin Man at 12:39 PM on July 26, 2002


It's not just the shorter terms; it's the non-proportional representation.

But wouldn't that suggest that the House should be more liberal? Cities tend to be more liberal and they tend to have the most people. Thus, a much larger percentage of the House is chosen by liberal city people as compared to the Senate. With 2 per state in the Senate, i would think that the Senate would be more likely to be more conservative, as they are by and large representing rural folks. The Bush/Gore map certainly showed that the smaller states tend to go with the Republicans. And those smaller states tend to have the least representatives in the House.
posted by zegooober at 12:40 PM on July 26, 2002


I wasn't talking about left/right, conservative/liberal etc. I was just pointing out that historically less bills get through The Senate, in part because smaller states have a larger say.
posted by alan at 12:57 PM on July 26, 2002


Put as gently as possible: dopes get elected for House; smarter types for Senate.
posted by Postroad at 1:16 PM on July 26, 2002


Thus, we get the House passing a lot of worthless crap that will never pass Constitutional muster so they can crow about it in their newsletters to their constituents

Which makes you wonder why the constituency is such that it is perceived to desire/demand worthless, unconstitutional crap....
posted by rushmc at 1:26 PM on July 26, 2002


Well unfortunately, I think many people are too easily manipulated and don't understand how things work. It is darned confusing unless you pay a great deal of attention and read a lot.
posted by Red58 at 1:34 PM on July 26, 2002


One more reason the House is a little wackier than the Senate: you can be a Congressman at 28, but have to be 35 to be a Senator.
posted by nicwolff at 1:36 PM on July 26, 2002


Put as gently as possible: dopes get elected for House; smarter types for Senate.

<backhanded compliment, but a compliment just the same>

Postroad, that's the most accurate thing you've said around here in months.

</bcbacjts>
posted by jpoulos at 2:01 PM on July 26, 2002


The biggest factor is the difference in House and Senate rules. The majority required to "Call the Question" -- which ends debate and bring the matter before the chamber to a vote. In the House, a simple majority can set debate time limits and end debate, in the Senate, you need 60 votes to do so. You cannot filibuster in the house -- if you have the votes to pass the measure, you have the votes to shut down debate. In the Senate, if you can get 41 people to agree with you, you can stop legislation.

Thus, since all legislation therefore requires a supermajority -- and neither party has held that supermajority, you have to win votes from the other side of the aisle to pass legislation in the Senate. This has made the Senate both more politically moderate and literally conservative in passing legislation.
posted by eriko at 2:37 PM on July 26, 2002


Consider this: If a horseturd and a blank check represented the liberals and the conservatives in congress, and you put them in a blender and Wall Street was pushing the buttons you would come up with something very close to reality: A bunch of bullshiters with a 'pay me' sign on their backs.
posted by Mack Twain at 4:04 PM on July 26, 2002


"Which makes you wonder why the constituency is such that it is perceived to desire/demand worthless, unconstitutional crap...."

Well, rushmc, I live in Utah. No more really needs to be said.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:54 PM on July 26, 2002


Another factor that comes into play in making the House more conservative is that it tends to be more committee-oriented, and the majority party gets a lot of influence over committees. For instance, every House bill must pass through the Rules Committee, which sets up rules for debate and can often kill legislation. This committee is currently made up of nine Republicans and four Democrats.

(Isn't there also another committee that bills have to pass through in the House? Appropriations maybe?)
posted by whir at 8:56 PM on July 26, 2002


zegoober: Think it through. The electorate for the Senate and the electorate for the House are actually the same people; one can't be notably more or less conservative than the other.

Cities may have more people (in the sense that for the last 50 years the majority of the US has been classified as "urban"), but House representation is apportioned equally. Whether you're 650,000 urban dwellers, or 650,000 farmers, you're equally entitled to one congressman (allowing for stochastic variations among the states, which change with every census anyway). Also, you're missing an important distinction, which is that suburban voters are a very different animal from urban voters. Often more conservative, but also more attuned to social services issues (e.g. education). The "soccer mom" vote went for Clinton, after all.

And you don't understand the process at all if you think that senators "represent rural folks", even as you say "most people live in cities".
posted by dhartung at 6:49 AM on July 27, 2002


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