AP US Government : Political Role of Congress

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP US Government

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Political Role Of Congress

Which of the following is not a power of Congress?

Possible Answers:

The power to approve presidential appointments

The power to declare war

The power to approve treaties

The power to veto laws

The power to make laws

Correct answer:

The power to veto laws

Explanation:

Veto power lies solely with the president, not Congress. All of the other choices represent powers that only Congress can use.

Example Question #2 : Political Role Of Congress

Senator Joseph McCarthy is most closely associated with __________.

Possible Answers:

Prohibition

The Watergate Scandal

The Civil Rights Movement

the creation of the League of Nations

communism and "The Red Scare."

Correct answer:

communism and "The Red Scare."

Explanation:

"The Red Scare" occurred in the late 1940s and early 1950s and is also nicknamed "McCarthyism," named after Senator Joseph McCarthy. McCarthyism was focused on preventing the spread of Communism in the United States and was related to the growing tensions between the US and the Soviet Union at the beginning of what would come to be calledcThe Cold War.

Example Question #3 : Political Role Of Congress

Gerrymandering is __________.

Possible Answers:

the process of redrawing electoral districts to offer an advantage to one party

the act of withholding campaign funding from a party that has breached campaign regulations

the process of establishing a new lower court for the prescribed purpose of mediating a specific issue

the act of removing a politician from office, without an election, after he or she has been found guilty of corruption

the act of appropriating Federal funds for a broad use within a state

Correct answer:

the process of redrawing electoral districts to offer an advantage to one party

Explanation:

Gerrymandering is the process of establishing or redesigning electoral districts in order to offer some electoral advantage to the group or party that is doing the restructuring. It has at times also been used to hinder specific social or ethnic groups from attaining equal representation in Congress.

Example Question #1 : Political Role Of Congress

The primary responsibility of a Party Whip is to __________.

Possible Answers:

analyze voting patterns around the country to determine which seats are most likely to be competitive in the next House or Senate elections

assist the President directly as a representative of the political party

regulate the personal behavior of party members and try and prevent controversy

raise campaign funds during federal elections for their political party

ensure that party members in the legislature vote according to the party’s political policy

Correct answer:

ensure that party members in the legislature vote according to the party’s political policy

Explanation:

A Party Whip is tasked with assisting the party leader and identifying the voting patterns of the members of the political party in the legislature. The primary goal is to ensure that party members vote in accordance with the official party policy and do not go rogue.

Example Question #5 : Political Role Of Congress

The voting patterns of Members of Congress are most likely to be affected by __________.

Possible Answers:

their economic background

their level of education

their business interests

their religious background

the political party with which they are affiliated.

Correct answer:

the political party with which they are affiliated.

Explanation:

Members of Congress are most likely to vote in line with their political parties. Very rarely does a Member of Congress not vote in line with the political party with which he or she is affiliated, so much so that when it does happen it usually cause for a major news story.

Example Question #6 : Political Role Of Congress

The Commerce Power of Congress states that __________.

Possible Answers:

Congress is tasked with ensuring the prohibition of monopolies and cartels

Congress has the power to regulate foreign and interstate trade

Congress has the sole power to levy taxes on corporations

Congress can make no laws concerning trade within a state

Congress cannot intervene in the regulation of interstate trade

Correct answer:

Congress has the power to regulate foreign and interstate trade

Explanation:

The Commerce Power, or Commerce Clause, is an enumerated power given to Congress in the United States Constitution. It states that Congress has the power to regulate foreign and interstate trade.

Example Question #2 : Political Role Of Congress

Within the U.S system of checks and balances, which body holds the “power of the purse”?

Possible Answers:

The bureaucracy

The people 

The courts

The President

The legislature

Correct answer:

The legislature

Explanation:

The “power of the purse” refers to the influence of allocating funds on the process of law making and implementation. The legislature has the power to create the budget of the national government. None of the other choices have this power, which is given to the legislature in Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution.

Example Question #3 : Political Role Of Congress

Which of the following is the most accurate description of “pork-barrel” legislation?

Possible Answers:

Legislation directed toward increasing the safety of pork barrels for consumers

None of the answers are correct

Broad legislation intended to help all American equally

Narrowly-targeted programs or tax breaks designed to harm constituents without regard to the impact on the overall spending system

Narrowly-targeted programs or tax breaks, designed to benefit constituents without regard to the impact on the overall spending system

Correct answer:

Narrowly-targeted programs or tax breaks, designed to benefit constituents without regard to the impact on the overall spending system

Explanation:

Pork barrel legislation (often just “pork”) is a by-product of the legislative process, and it makes political sense, although it is economically indefensible. Pork is when members of Congress vote to appropriate funds or tax breaks (or really anything) that will economically (or otherwise) benefit their constituency. The problem with pork, however, is that everyone pays for it, but only a few benefit.

Take, for example, a brand new . . . YMCA . . . or something substantially similar that your Congressman secured for you, his constituent. You and everyone else in your hometown of Okay, OK (that’s actually a place) get to benefit from: the increase in jobs this YMCA brings—both in construction and the maintenance and upkeep once it’s built, the exercise benefits of YMA, etc. The best part for you, however, is that you get to share the cost with everyone else all over the US! You can imagine how this could become a problem when every Congressman brings home some pork for his district. 

Example Question #9 : Political Role Of Congress

Imagine that you are a Democrat. Which of the following is the most accurate representation of your constituency?

Possible Answers:

Those voters in your district who voted to place your opponent in office

All Democrats in your district

All Republicans in your district

Those voters in your district who voted to place you in office on election day

None of the answers are correct

Correct answer:

None of the answers are correct

Explanation:

This is a rather tricky question. The correct answer is that your constituency is everyone in your district—you are the representative of that district (or, if you’re a Senator, of that state). Although you might have been tempted to select the answers that had to do with your party, or those who voted for you, that’s only half of the correct answer.

Example Question #10 : Political Role Of Congress

What is a “logroll”?

Possible Answers:

A sine qua non of legislative politics, whereby members shut down a filibuster

A parliamentary procedure involving wood-based objections

A quid pro quo of legislative politics, whereby members swap support for dissimilar policies

The same thing as pork barrel legislation

None of the answers are correct

Correct answer:

A quid pro quo of legislative politics, whereby members swap support for dissimilar policies

Explanation:

Straightforward vocab question here. The correct answer is, a logroll is when members of a legislative body swap support for dissimilar policies so that both policy objectives are achieved. While this may sound similar to pork (and it is—pork is an example of logrolling) it’s not the same thing.

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