1. Congressional Committees in the United States House of Representatives are like the gears that move the hands of the timepiece. Each committee has a role and function within the legislative system. Indeed, “Committees are the primary graveyard for most bills that die in Congress, yet it is upon the committees to select from the vast number of introduced bills that they feel merit further consideration” (Oleszek, 94). I will now explain how bills become laws in the United States Congress, and I will demonstrate how the Committee on the Budget factors into this process.
                The process of how a bill becomes law can be narrated as a circular process by which “many bills travel full circle, coming first from the White House as part of the presidential agenda, then returning to the president at the end of the process” (Edwards, 371). Committees in both the House and Senate “may amend or rewrite the bill, before deciding whether to send it to the floor, to recommend its approval, or to kill it” (Edwards, 371). If approved, the bill will be reported for floor action and placed on the calendar for debate, amendments and vote. If the bill is passed in different versions of both the House and Senate, then a Conference Committee will “meet to iron out the differences between the bills” (Edwards, 371). After the Conference Committee has struck an accord and drafted a single compromise bill, then it will be sent back to both upper and lower houses of Congress for a vote. From there the Full House and Full Senate vote on the Conference Committee’s version of the bill. If the bill is passed, it will progress to the desk of the President of the United States and His Excellency may authorize it or veto it. “Congress may override Presidential Veto by 2/3 vote in both the House and Senate” (Edwards, 371). This is the system by which legislations are processed in the bicameral legislature of the United States of America.
                The House Committee on the Budget is a Standing Committee. Both chambers of congress have Standing Committees, and each committee handles bills in different policy areas. “In Congress today, the typical representative serves on 2 committees and 4 sub-committees; senators average 3 committees and 7 sub-committees” (Edwards, 363). The Chairman of the House Committee on the Budget is Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan. Committee Chairmen are profoundly influential in Congress and “they play dominant roles in scheduling hearings, hiring staff, appointing sub-committees, and managing committee bills when they are brought before the full house” (Edwards, 366). Besides being Chairman of that committee, Rep. Ryan is also a member of the Committee on Ways and Means and the Sub-Committee on Health. In the C-SPAN video Rep. Ryan can be seen leading the 2012 Budget Resolution Markup, a meeting to consider a Republican federal budget proposal for the fiscal year of 2012 called “The Path to Prosperity”. Markups take place after hearings have concluded, and “at this session committee members decided whether the legislation should be rewritten, either in whole or in part” (Oleszek, 117). The Budget Resolution is a Concurrent Resolution, meaning that it is not law and the President does not need to sign it. Budget Committees are, however, part of both the House and Senate. The Budget Act of 1974 “created a process for coordinating the actions of the appropriations, authorizing, and tax committees by passing a preliminary budget resolution setting nonbinding targets for expenditures and revenues” (Smith, 383). The need for congress to strengthen its own budget-making capabilities arose during the Nixon administration due to “intense battles with the Democratic Congress over spending cuts and taxes” (Smith, 383). This attainment does not mean that the Congressional Budget Committees can disperse funds as they see fit, rather their task is to develop a budget allocation plan. It is up to the Congressional Committees on Appropriations to pass authorization and appropriations bills because they control spending and have ‘power of the purse’.
                Chairman Ryan states that it is the Budget Committee’s “commitment to the American people” to get the country’s fiscal policy back on track. He asserts that President Obama’s dishonesty to civil society and unsustainable policies will lead to “painful austerity” and a debt crisis in the near future if the country remains with the “status quo” (C-SPAN). I believe that only time can narrate the effects of decisions made by political leaders. Chairman Ryan of the United States House Committee on the Budget wants to lead this nation back on “The Path of Prosperity” with his Budget Resolution, however, history will be the judge of that…

    References
    "2012 Budget Resolution Markup, Part 1." House Committee Budget. C-SPAN: Apr. 6, 2011. 
           Television. <http://www.cspanvideo.org/program/2012BudgetResolutionMarkup>.
    Edwards, First, First Wattenberg, and First Lineberry. Government in America. 11th Ed. Harlow, 
           England: Pearson Longman, 2010. Print.
    Oleszek, Walter. Congressional Procedures and the Policy Process. 8th ed. Washington, D.C.: CQ 
           Press, 2011. Print.
    Smith, Steven. The American Congress. 7th ed. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2011. 
           Print.
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  2.             Today the United States Congress consists of 435 members in the House of Representatives and 100 members in the Senate, but it was not always that way. In fact, the idea of distributing political representation by population instead of geography almost fragmented the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia during the year of 1787. Apportioning representation became a very controversial issue among the 13 colonies. Consequently, the debate grew to be more controversial than slavery as “the debate over how people would be represented in the upper and lower house of this new congress became the major issue that nearly stopped the convention and sent all the delegates home” (Zagarri). Mason University professor Dr. Rosemarie Zagarri illustrates that during the Colonial period “there was no sense that more people should have more representatives. It was all done on the basis of geographic units or territorial units” (Zagarri). Smaller states like Rohde Island feared that they would lose precedence in the legislative structure and that larger states like Virginia would become more influential. It was not until the “Great Compromise, sometimes called the Connecticut Compromise, that produced the system that we have today” (Zagarri).
                Moreover, this new system of legislative representation brought about a divergence from the old British system and revolutionized the way citizens would be represented in their government. Population-weighted representation is acknowledged to be one of many distinguishable achievements envisioned by the visionary “Father of the Constitution” James Madison, whom materialized the innovative idea in the Virginia Plan that was accepted by the Constitutional Convention after much debate. James Madison’s proposal is responsible for the creation of the United States Census, which is conducted every 10 years in interest of “counting people in regions and that would be the basis for determining how many representatives a region would send” to the House of Representatives (Zagarri).  Reapportionment is “one of the consequences of this Great Compromise, because the states that were electing representatives to the House of Representatives would have to decide how their representatives would be elected” (Zagarri).
                In the past “some of the states had general ticket elections…a few other states though, the larger states actually, started immediately experimenting with what we use today, the single district method” (Zagarri). The single-member district scheme entailed that states be “carved up into districts, geographic districts, and that people in those districts elect one representative who is sent to congress” (Zagarri). This way of electing representatives is controversial for numerous reasons. It was fundamentally controversial because it relied on geographically dividing states and because representatives may be “more loyal to the constituents who elected them than to the entire state” (Zagarri). In addition to this, single-member districts escalated the level of competition in regional elections. The increased competition entices incumbents to abuse their power and gerrymander districts, which entails the manipulation of geographic boundaries by state legislatures to provide advantages to a particular party. Gerrymandering has been prevalent since the very 1st Congress. As a matter of fact, “when James Madison was running for a seat in the House of Representatives the Virginia legislature was hostile to him and tried to gerrymander him out of a seat by creating a district that was very oddly shaped and full of people that were hostile to him” (Zagarri).  Despite their efforts, James Madison “prevailed by about 300 votes” (Zagarri). After the 1st Congress the number of single-member districts increased and so did the number of seats in the House. It was not until the year 1850 that Congress decided to limit the number of representatives to a fixed figure because they were “sick of fighting every 10 years” or every time a census was conducted (Zagarri). Since that time there have only been a few additions to the House as new states have been annexed into the republic over the country’s extensive history, but all else has remained the same. America’s founding fathers have directly impacted the lives of every citizen in the United States of America to this day. Their struggle for independence and freedom is profoundly illustrated in the words of the U.S. Constitution, which has provided all Americans with equal apportioned representation in government since it’s ratification on June 21, 1788. 

    References
    Oleszek, Walter. Congressional Procedures and the Policy Process. 8th ed. Washington, D.C.: CQ 
           Press, 2011. Print.
    Smith, Steven. The American Congress. 7th ed. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2011. 
           Print.
    Zagarri, Rosemarie, dir. "The Politics of Size." BOOK TV. C-SPAN2: Sep 16, 2011. Television. 
           <http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/301877-4>.


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  3.             In the United States of America, tobacco products are attributed to the deaths of more than 400,000 Americans annually, thus “making smoking the single most preventable cause of premature mortality” (Slovic 2001, vii). An international study conducted in the year 2000 held that tobacco was responsible for the deaths of approximately 4.8 million men and women worldwide. Provided that smoking trends continue, statistics foreshadow annual, international mortality rates to reach 10 million deaths by the year 2020. This epidemic has prompted nations to respond by instituting public health legislations that aim at curtailing the number of cigarette smokers. Consequently, public health bills are met with heavy resistance from multi-national tobacco corporations that use interest groups to lobby congress so they do not pass bills regulating tobacco advertisement and sales.
                Since the ratification of the Constitution in the year 1788, the United States of America has had a government that is divided into 3 institutions: the Executive branch; the bicameral Legislative branch; and the Judicial branch. This Separation of Powers was designed to check and balance the powers of each branch of government. The United States is organized into a federation of 50 states, so that federal and state levels of government have formal, shared authority over the same land and people. The federalist system is, at the same time, responsible for the expansion and decentralization of the government. It has resulted in increased civic political participation, as “there are more points of access in government and more opportunities for government to satisfy the demands of interests for public policies” (Edwards, 69). This increase in political participation has led to the development of an oversized bureaucracy, ever-growing number of interests groups and the domination of domestic and international policy by iron triangles. Tobacco companies are not the only organizations lobbying Congress, as the number of interest groups has grown substantially over the past 20 years. Interest groups are “organizations of people with shared policy goals entering the policy process at several points to try to achieve those goals” (Edwards, 319). Today lobbyists with productive agendas must spend time and money to combat the efforts of lobbyists with hidden agendas. Pluralist political theory holds that the increased political participation in society is indeed a beneficial characteristic of a free liberalized democracy, which allows for open dialogue and competition between contending public interests. However, this “gives interest groups and lobbyists an uneasy place in congressional politics” (Smith, 349). In fact, “a 2010 CBS/New York Times survey found that 80% of Americans agreed that most members of Congress are more interested in serving special interest groups than the people they represent” (Smith, 349). Americans are losing the freedom to representation in legislature, while incumbents are gaining financial support for re-election campaigns by ignoring their constituents. Corruption in Congress is exemplified by wasteful spending and earmarks, “the practice of awarding no-bid contracts to private companies whose executives turn around and make contributions to those members who secured the earmarks” (Oleszek, 56). Congressional lobbying by tobacco corporations since the 1960s has only diminished the promotion of public health in the United States. Dave Levinhal explains that money plays a significant role in politics, and that “ we should try to connect the dots between a members personal wealth to lobbying efforts that some corporations will put forth in Washington”. He goes further by exposing “which entities and special interests are lobbying Congress on specific bills” on his organization’s website (C-SPAN).
                In conclusion, the primary objective of American tobacco policy was to reduce the numbers of cigarette smokers, and in turn reduce the annual mortality rate associated with tobacco. The American government implemented smoking restrictions immediately following the Surgeon General’s warning and advocacy of public health reform. The sentiments of the American people were not taken into consideration by their government. This lack of communication between representatives and constituents in the United States has led to the disregard and suppression of American public opinion.


    References
    Edwards, First, First Wattenberg, and First Lineberry. Government in America. 11th Ed. Harlow, 
           England: Pearson Longman, 2010. Print.
    Levinthal, Daniel, dir. "Money and Investments in Politics." C-SPAN: Dec. 4, 2010. Television. 
           <http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/296902-7&start=2046>.
    Oleszek, Walter. Congressional Procedures and the Policy Process. 8th ed. Washington, D.C.: CQ 
           Press, 2011. Print.
    Smith, Steven. The American Congress. 7th ed. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2011. 
           Print.
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