House and senate members are called upon to cast a large number of votes each year. In 2007 representatives voted 1,186 times. There are many factors which influence how members of congress vote. One factor that influences voting in congress is parties. The whip system in congress is relatively weak, unlike in the UK party whips have no effective way of persuading congress members to vote in line with their party. Deselection is not possible as the party’s candidate is chosen by the public through the system of primaries .
Joseph Lieberman a former Democrat senator was deselected by the Democrat party from standing as the Democrat candidate in the state of Connecticut . He later stood as a independent candidate and won the votes of republican supporters thereby defeating the Democrat candidate who replaced him. In addition there are big party differences within the parties. Southern Democrats would have a more conservative approach in some areas of politics, well Democrats from the east coast can we seen to be more liberal.
As a result both sides of the party are likely to have some disagreement on issues such as the economy and moral issues such as abortion. Thus showing that parties are not ideologically and geographically cohesive. A second factor which effects voting in congress is constituents. This can be considered to have a huge influence in the House as they face re-election more frequently (every 2 years ) than the senate who enjoy six year terms . House members also need to vote in a way that meets the wishes of their district ,as they have to make sure their constituents elect them in the primaries.
A third factor that influences voting in congress is personal views. Social and moral issues are voted on with out the use of party whips. For example issues such as euthanasia and abortion . These issues were very important in the 2004 presidential election however, surprisingly these issues weren’t as important in the 2008 presidential election. One can come to the conclusion that social and moral issues are important in times of economic prosperity ,then in times of economic depression.
Many critics have argued that this is one of the reasons why Obama won the 2008 presidential election. A fourth factor that effects voting in congress is pressure groups. The most influential tool for pressure groups is money. PAC’s can fund congress members election campaigns in return for them to vote on legislation in a way that favours them. However this doesn’t always happen for example congress member Mike DeWine voted against one of the top legislative priorities of the NRA and as a result was defeated in the 2006 congressional election.
Pressure groups with huge memberships tend to have the most influence on congressional voting . The biggest pressure group in America is the American association of retired persons ,their vote is considered to be very significant as they are the most likely group to vote. The sixth and final reason that effects how congress members vote is staff and peers. Congress members tend to have very busy schedules ,and are able to examine pieces of legislation thoroughly before making a decision on how to vote.
This leads to congress members having to rely on staff who read the legislation on their behalf ,to present them with a balanced argument before they can make an informed decision . congress members can also ask more experienced and trusted peers to help them to make a decision on how they should vote . Overall there are several factors that effect how congress members vote. By explaining these factors in detail I have come to the judgement that pressures groups and constituents have far more influence on congressional voting . As they can ultimately decide to end or strengthen a congress member’s political career.
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Evaluate the Significance of the Factors That Influence Voting in Congress?. (2017, Mar 25). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/evaluate-the-significance-of-the-factors-that-influence-voting-in-congress/