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BulgariaWhenever Bulgaria is mentioned in the media, coverage is generally skewed towards poverty and corruption, depicting it as one of the EU’s most troubled members. However, a closer look at the facts and figures of life in Bulgaria proves that how the media misrepresents Bulgaria does not entirely reflect reality.

Bulgaria and the EU

Bulgaria is the poorest member of the EU. This fact has not escaped the notice of the rest of Europe, and Bulgaria’s media representation has suffered for it. A 1984 study performed by Weaver and shows that the poorer a country is, the less coverage it is likely to gain in any given news outlet, and the more negative that coverage is liable to be. In contrast, richer countries such as the U.S. are much more likely to receive positive media attention, overshadowing poorer nations like Bulgaria.

Bulgaria in the Media

When the media mentions Bulgaria, it paints it as a corrupt Eastern European country that the rest of the EU wants nothing to do with. Media biases against Bulgaria frequently stem from the fact that Bulgaria was once part of the Soviet Bloc. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Bulgarians struggled to adjust to the fact that their country was no longer Communist, and it was not uncommon for Bulgarians to migrate west to try for a fresh start. However, they were often met with fear from their new neighbors, mostly due to their status as ex-Communists whose government was still somewhat corrupt and were subsequently dehumanized by many Western European nations. For example, Bulgaria has repeatedly been denied admission to the Schengen Zone, which would permit Bulgarians to work and travel freely in fellow Schengen countries within the EU. This, combined with the country’s comparatively low GDP, has led to media depictions in which they are given the same derogatory treatment that migrants are typically given by news outlets.

Bulgaria and the Rest of the World

How the media misrepresents Bulgaria becomes apparent when examining the economic and political conditions in Bulgaria. For starters, Bulgaria’s GDP is currently $18,900, having risen from $8.400 in 1991. Although this is, in fact, fairly low by EU standards, it is not low when thought of in the context of the rest of the world. The world is split into four income groups, ranging from Group One (extreme poverty) to Group Four (the U.S. standard). Bulgaria falls into Group Three (upper middle income); most of its people can afford decent beds, bikes, and maybe cheap cars, but not annual vacations or spacious houses. The average person is getting about 6570 kilowatt-hours of electricity, 48 percent of them have Internet access, and 99.4 percent have access to clean drinking water. In fact, as of 2014, no one in Bulgaria is living in extreme poverty. Meanwhile, the rest of the EU’s citizens are scattered throughout Groups 3 and 4.

Corruption in Bulgaria is also not as abundant as the media portrays it. For example, the Inequality Index (Gini) rated Bulgaria around 40, which is in the middle of the scale. Their first elections took place in 1990, and their current democracy score is 9 out of 10.

Overall, things are looking much better in Bulgaria than the media lets on. While the media would let its consumers believe that Bulgaria is a hopeless case of corruption and poverty, it is actually a free nation with a thriving economy. If one looks hard enough, one will find that how the media misrepresents Bulgaria is a true misrepresentation and nothing more.

– Cassie Parvaz
Photo: Flickr

How the Media Misrepresents KazakhstanKazakhstan, located in Central Asia, has long been viewed by the world as a post-communist, backward state — politically oppressive, economically regressive and socially intolerant. This image is an example of how the media misrepresents Kazakhstan, displaying it as a totally different world from that of developed Euro-American countries.

How the Media Misrepresents Kazakhstan

A close examination of the lives of people in Kazakhstan and of its actual political and economic situation, including the perspectives of diverse sources, reveals how the media misrepresents Kazakhstan, fueled by the after-effects of the Cold War. Many people, especially in the U.S., received misrepresentative information about Kazakhstan from the American comedy film “Borat,” a parody of Kazakhstan’s culture rather than an accurate portrayal.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s long-advocated approach of “economy first, political reforms later” is described by British human rights advocate Hugh Williamson as a visage of “economy first, political reforms never” instead. Williamson claims that Kazakhstan is moving politically backward with “no free elections, little permitted open speech and the government significantly represses human rights.”

Current Developments in Kazakhstan

However, slow but apparent democratic progress in Kazakhstan has been recorded. It has been previously hindered because of the state of total economic collapse after the breakdown of the Soviet Union in 1991. Since then, however, its economy has flourished and Kazakhstan is now an upper-middle-income country, according to the World Bank.

Democratic development in Kazakhstan includes the Secular Constitution established in 1995, which outlines a separation of powers of the executive, legislative and judicial branches. Elections were also delivered in a multiparty parliament in 2012.

Further Progress in the Nation

In early 2016, Kazakhstan launched the Fostering Productive Innovations Project in cooperation with the World Bank. This is where ongoing science commercialization projects based on international standards of scientific excellence and high commercialization potential were developed.

In addition, Kazakhstan launched its first ever five-year program for Digital Kazakhstan 2020 which aims at creating the “Digital Silk Road.” This will provide support for the development of digital infrastructure and invest in human capital.

How the media misrepresents Kazakhstan extends to the nation’s political, economic, social and technological development. It is easy to dispel these cultural myths about Kazakhstan after looking into this exotic land through the lens of objective historical and social analysis.

– Heulwen Leung
Photo: Google

Effects Education Has on Society
Education affects society in many important ways. The Borgen Project is trying to improve education in improvised areas because of the many benefits that educations offers to the people in live in impoverished nations. Here is a list of the top ten effects education has on society.

The Top 10 Effects Education Has on Society

  1. Education is important in the creation of any democratic society. As Franklin D. Roosevelt says, “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” People need a good education if they want a good democracy.
  2. Education is needed to make a society geopolitically stable. Without a proper educational system available to everyone, terrorists could use free education as a way to radicalize people. In other words, geopolitical stability is one of education’s most powerful effects on society.
  3. Education leads to economic prosperity in the global marketplace. One of the most important effects education has on society is giving the people who live in a society the skills they need to compete in the global marketplace, and the skills they need to produce technological goods that can be sold on the open market. Socrates best expressed this idea when he stated: “Prefer knowledge to wealth, for the one is transitory, the other perpetual.”
  4. Education gives people the knowledge they need to elect capable leaders. Plato stated, “In politics we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. When we are ill… we do not ask for the handsomest physician, or the most eloquent one.” Education helps the members of society see through the manipulations used by politicians to get votes so that the members of the society can vote for the leader who is best able to run the society.
  5. Education helps promote tolerance in a society and helps reduce common conflicts between diverse populations in an urban setting. Helen Keller said that “The highest result of education is tolerance.” Educating members of society about other people who either live in the society or its neighboring states have the power to reduce many conflicts.
  6. Education has the power to help societies, and the world in general, change for the better. According to Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Malcolm X says that: “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Education is a powerful tool that can be used to make the world a better place to live in.
  7. Education is important because it helps members in a society learn from the mistakes of the past. Plato has stated that geopolitical stability cannot be created by forming a democratic government; if the government is established by force or because of overthrowing an old regime, the new government could transform from a government that encourages peace and democracy into a new government that uses force to maintain power. Having an education is important because good education allows members of a society to learn from past mistakes and prevent the same mistakes from happening in the future.
  8. Education is the first step a society needs before giving rights to women and other minority groups. Education is a powerful tool that enables women and other minority groups to gain fundamental civil rights. It is important to treat women and other minorities with respect in the classroom. Abraham Lincoln stressed the importance that education has in helping people who live in a society to more fundamental civil rights when he said, “The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation is the philosophy of government in the next.”
  9. Education reduces violence and crime in societies. Teaching people to read has been shown to prevent people from engaging in crime. In fact, the Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment is a charity group uses education to combat violence and crime.
  10. Education creates hope for the future. Giving people hope that they can improve their lot in life is one of the more powerful effects education has on a society. John F. Kennedy best expressed the power of a good education when he said: “Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”  JFK’s words about America apply to every society on Earth.

The READ Act

The Borgen Project works to help bring the positive effects education has on society to all through the READ Act. Education is valuable, and everybody needs to ensure education is widely available. A proper educational system can ensure people in any impoverished nation have access to both upward mobility and geopolitical stability.

– Michael Israel

Photo: Flickr

Kurdish-Turkish WarThe Kurdish-Turkish war is known to be the largest civil war in the middle east, taking away the lives of more than 40,000 people, a majority of them being Kurds. After lasting almost three decades, it finally ended in 2013 when both the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, also known as the PKK, announced a “bilateral cease-fire” to bring necessary peace within the region.

Here are nine facts that will give you a better understanding of the historic conflict:

  1. Tensions leading to the conflict between the Kurds and the Turks began after a nationalist Turkish force, led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, established the Republic of Turkey in 1934 with the aim of “Turkifying” the entire state. This decision forced millions of Kurds to live in a state that only approved of Turks, and denied the existence of the Kurdish ethnicity. It led to extreme censorship for the Kurds, as their language was banned from the media, forcing Kurdish children to learn only Turkish in school. That is how a strong Kurdish resistance, the PKK, was born, with the main goal of creating a Kurdish state.
  2. The Kurdistan Worker’s Party was founded in 1978 by Abdullah Öcalan, with an ideology focused on Marxism. The PKK sought to create an independent Kurdish state in order to regain their autonomy from the Turkish government. The party had between 5,000 and 10,000 armed fighters who initiated violent attacks toward Turkish government officials.
  3. After several attacks, the Turkish government attempted to ease tensions with the Kurds by giving them “cultural concessions” in 1991 and limited autonomy in 1993. But, the resistance intensified as the interdiction of creating Kurdish political parties was maintained and, more importantly, direct military control was imposed in Kurdish areas under martial law. This led to a civil war involving approximately 200,000 security forces, in which an estimated 15,000 people were killed and dozens of villages were destroyed between 1982 and 1995.
  4. In response to Turkey’s militarization of the Kurdish region, the PKK launched an armed struggle within the Turkish territory which resulted in a counter military attack and, later on, a major crackdown from the Turkish government. In fact, Ankara established a state of emergency in 1987 and the Anti-Terror Law in 1991, which led to the killing of thousands of Kurdish civilians and the arrest of anyone who seemed to be associated with the PKK, or any other leftist groups.
  5. Following the implementation of these anti-terror laws, the Kurds strengthened their resistance towards the Turkish state, who, in response, resorted to even more violence and repression. This was the start of a “vicious cycle” for the Kurdish-Turkish war, as the Turkish government’s sole mission to end this struggle was to capture Öcalan and sentence him to death.
  6. After Öcalan was captured in 1999 with the help of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency, the Turkish government began to reform its democracy, which led to significant changes for the Kurds. Those changes included the right for Kurds to learn their language in private courses and broadcast in their own language. Other reforms were the abolition of the death penalty and the elimination of the state of emergency.
  7. In the 2000s, while Turkey was experiencing a major democratic crisis, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) implemented a Kurdish peace process, which ultimately failed due to lack of cohesion between the different parties in Turkey.
  8. As democracy began slowly deteriorating, many Kurdish groups requested a peace deal with the Turkish President Erdogan, instead of consolidating democracy. However, in the mid-2000s, the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), a new Kurdish political party, surfaced and demanded democratic reform, which ended this peace process. The HDP is now represented in the Parliament, having won 10 percent of the vote in June 2015.
  9. As of today, President Erdogan’s power has grown stronger, facing much weaker opposition. Many reforms have changed the Kurds’ lives in a significant way after the Kurdish-Turkish war, such as the right to illustrate the Kurdish identity in the media and the right to establish Kurdish political parties.

One might ask if this means the Kurdish-Turkish war has been resolved. But, despite the evolution of the Turkish state and the representation of the leftist ideologies in the assembly, many critics argue that the situation could lead to potential uprisings in the future if the Turkish government keeps denying all the human rights abuses committed toward the Kurds. Acknowledgment of the Kurdish struggle for freedom is necessary in order to move forward with a more democratic nation.

Sarah Soutoul

Photo: Flickr

Parliamentary Democracy Government
There are several types of democracies, and here we will explain what a parliamentary democracy is by comparing it to a presidential democracy, which we have in the United States.

In short, a parliamentary democracy is a system of government in which citizens elect representatives to a legislative parliament to make the necessary laws and decisions for the country. This parliament directly represents the people.

In a presidential democracy, the leader is called a President, and he or she is elected by citizens to lead a branch of government separate from the legislative branch. If you remember back to government class, you will remember that the United States has three branches of the government: the executive, the judicial, and the legislative. The President leads the executive branch of government.

 

Role of Parliamentary Democracy

 

In a parliamentary democracy, you have a Prime Minister, who is first elected as a member of parliament, then elected Prime Minister by the other members of the parliamentary legislature. However, the Prime Minister remains a part of the legislature. The legislative branch makes the laws, and thus the Prime Minister has a hand in law-making decisions. The Prime Minister works directly with other people in the legislature to write and pass these laws.

In our presidential democracy, we still have a legislature, but we also have a president. He is separate from the legislature, so although he works with them, it is not as direct as if he were a Prime Minister. The laws that the legislature wants to pass must first go through the president; he can sign them into being or he can veto them. The President can go to the legislative branch and suggest laws, but they ultimately write them for his approval.

Furthermore, in parliamentary systems, the legislature has the right to dismiss a Prime Minister at any time if they feel that he or she is not doing the job as well as expected. This is called a “motion of no confidence,” and is not as much of a drawn out process. In the US, impeachment is an extensive, formal process in which an official is accused of doing something illegal.

Some countries with a parliamentary system are constitutional monarchies, which still have a king and queen. A few examples of these are the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Japan.

It is important to remember that both of these systems of government are democracies. Ultimately, the citizens who vote have the voice.

– Alycia Rock

Sources: Wise Geek, Scholastic, How Stuff Works
Photo: Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants

 

parliamentary democracy government

Democratic NationsIn nations such as the United States, the concept of democracy is sacred as something that has existed for centuries and must be protected. But for many nations around the globe, democracy is a relatively new development. Here are the five of some of the youngest democratic nations in the world:

  1. Bhutan
    Once an absolute monarchy in the Himalayan mountains, Bhutan transitioned into a democratic nation in 2008 when its people voted for the first time on the members of its new parliament. Since then, the country has become a constitutional monarchy with Tshering Tobgay as its current prime minister.
  2. Guinea
    Guinea endured decades of dictatorship before becoming a democratic nation. In 2010, Guinea followed in fellow West African nation Nigeria’s footsteps and had its first democratic election, won by Alpha Conde.
  3. Tunisia
    Democracy has had a tough time taking root in the Middle East, but Tunisia braved the transition in 2011 when the populace successfully rose up and unseated the dictatorship that was in place. Though off to a rocky start, Tunisians are poised to fight for democracy in their nation in the upcoming years.
  4. Myanmar
    After 50 years of military rule, the Burmese junta made way for a new civilian government in 2011, but it wasn’t until 2016 that citizens were able to vote for their first civilian president, Htin Kyaw.
  5. Burkina Faso
    The citizens of Burkina Faso didn’t have their first free and fair elections until November of 2015, making Burkina Faso among the youngest democratic nations in the world.


It’s easy for citizens of the United States to take democracy for granted, especially since it has been a central tenet of American life since the nation’s birth in the late 18th century. But for young democratic nations such as Burkina Faso and Tunisia, democracy is not a birthright, and the fight for it is far from over.

Mary Grace Costa

Photo: Flickr

The Kurdish Democracy Model
In Northern Syria, the Kurdish communities have established three administrative and autonomous regions. These regions are called cantons and each enjoys their own legislative, administrative and legal bodies. Although these cantons are part of the Syrian territory, the Kurdish communities enjoyed autonomy in the wake of the Syrian crisis and oppression from the Islamic State fighters. These three cantons are named Afrin, Jezira and Kobani.

The Kurdish democracy model is an outcome of the Rojava movement, which seeks autonomy for Kurdish communities in Syria. The model is manifested in the Rojava constitution, which is also known as the social contract. It was approved on Jan. 6, 2016.

The preamble of the constitution reads as: “We the peoples of the democratic autonomous regions…by our free will have announced this contract to establish justice, freedom and democracy … without discrimination on the basis of religion, language, faith sect or gender.”

This Kurdish democracy model does not accept any imposed ideas of nation-state, centralized, military or religious state. It solemnly believes in human rights, democracy, free will and strives to protect those goals no matter what the cost is.

In every canton, there is a Legislative Assembly, an Executive Assembly, a High Election Commission, a Constitutional Assembly and Regional Assemblies. The Rojava Movement resembles historic acts of resistance such as the Algerian war against France and the Warsaw battle against invading Germany.

The Rojava cantons are remarkable examples of beacons of hope emerging from the Syrian civil war. Rojava maintained its independence and created its own democracy. In the Kurdish democracy model, the top three officials have to be from Arab, Kurdish and an Assyrian/Armenian Christian. One of these has to be women. In this phase of the Kurdish struggle, the Kurdish democracy model could start a global movement towards a better implementation of democracy and a cooperative socioeconomic model.

Financial Times describes the Kurdish democratic model as a power to people model. It is a radical experiment in narrow stretches of Northern Syria. In Rojava, which is hard to access due to Turkish blockade, the authority rests in the communal level (the village). In the villages, every social group has a say in decision making. The communities enjoy self-governing measures.

Furthermore, all minorities are included and everyone gets a chance to speak and participate in governing matters. This might seem radical to even the old-established democracies. But for the Kurds, after decades of oppression, this is one thing to look forward upon with eyes full of hope.

Noman Ahmed

Photo: Flickr

Africa_parliament_democracy_womenAccording to the Economist, only three out of 53 African countries had democracies by the end of the Cold War.

Now countries like the one-party presidential republic Eritrea and the absolute monarchy Swaziland are becoming irregularities on the continent. Indeed, this is because Africa has experienced increasing engagement in the democratic process.

While African countries have made significant progress in regards to the spread of democracy, there is still significant work to be done. For example, according to the Guardian, nine African leaders have been in power for more than 20 years with three of them holding power for more than 30 years.

This is an example of the popular notion that African countries are directed by a group of authoritarian heads called “Big Men,” who dominate and control every aspect of the country.

Although authoritarian heads have not lost complete power, women in Africa have benefited greatly from democratically held elections.

For example, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected president of Liberia in 2011, becoming Africa’s first democratically-elected, female head of state. She was followed by Joyce Banda, who became president of Malawi in 2012 and Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, who was elected president of Mauritius in 2015.

The Guardian labels the notion that the transition of power in government is inherently violent to be “misguided.” There are many factors that could incite violence during the election process aside from transition of power.

These events include voter belief of election fraud, opposition initiated violence as a result of an act being considered unjust, or violence being instigated by leaders threatened by the opposition.

Kenya’s 2007 election proved to be an example of the devastation that can result from the election process when 1,133 people were killed and 600,000 displaced. However, while this kind of violent election gains the most international attention, it is the exception and there are more peaceful elections.

For example, the Guardian cites a recent peaceful election that took place in the Central African Republic, during which voters went to the polls in February in hopes of restoring democracy in Africa and ending years of struggle.

Post-Cold War advancement has been substantial for the African continent in many ways and the foundations that make up democracy in Africa have been overwhelmingly embraced by its citizens.

Alex Vines, head of the Africa program at Chatham House, a London-based think-tank told the Economist, “Progress comes in waves,” and much of West Africa has experienced a huge shift to democratic representation.

Many countries that have experienced devastatingly violent conflicts, such as Sierra Leone and Liberia, now possess, if not perfect, adequate political systems.

Heidi Grossman

Sources: Economist 1, Economist 2, The Guardian
Photo: Flickr

John Kerry
Secretary of State John Kerry and the U.S. Senate remain embroiled in a billion dollar foreign aid battle that has been raging since 2011.

In 2014, the United States signed a $500 million loan agreement with Tunisia, which would allow the people of Tunisia to access international capital and other financing techniques to assist with their “democratic transition.”

According to the New York Times, the U.S. has extended $700 million in direct aid to Tunisia over the past four years and two rounds of loan guarantees totaling $1 billion since 2012, after designating Tunisia a major non-NATO ally in July 2015. This status brings up the promise of added military cooperation.

Being called “the Arab Spring’s only potential success story” by the Al-Monitor, Tunisia has been a central player in the Obama administration’s efforts to promote democracy in the Middle East. Secretary of State John Kerry has been working to increase the amount of USAID dollars sent to Tunisia and has been advocating for other programs of economic growth that may reinforce Tunisia’s march to democracy.

“The eyes of the world are on Tunisia, and America wants Tunisia to succeed,” said John Kerry in a news conference in 2015. “Tunisia is where the Arab Spring was born, and it is where it distinctly continues to bloom in ways that are defining possibilities for other countries in that region.”

The Tunisian government has so far been enthusiastic about transitioning to democracy, despite potential threats they may face from “regional rivals” such as Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia.

Prime Minister Jomaa of Tunisia says, “We are very proud of our new constitution, of our shared values of democracy and rights […] we need to think about economic and social aspects, and also about teaching and learning because we are eager to develop our youth and to develop new technologies.”

However, not all members of the U.S. Senate are convinced that Tunisia is stable enough to promote Prime Minister Jomaa’s agenda. Senate members were wary of potential terrorist threats within Tunisia this past summer and blocked significant amounts of foreign assistance to the region that were proposed in a House Bill.

The alternative Senate appropriations bill was $10 million short of the foreign assistance demanded by the State Department. It also did increase military aid, although it cited “the terrorist threat Tunisia faces,” as a primary motivator for sending fewer dollars abroad.

The concerns of the Senate are not unfounded. The deteriorating situation in Syria has had profound effects on Tunisia, both with Syrian refugees pouring into the region and Tunisians themselves becoming involved in the civil war. According to Al-Jazeera, 5,500 Tunisians have joined groups like ISIL, al-Nursa Front and al-Qaeda in the neighboring nations of Syria, Iraq and Libya.

However, USAID has been working with Tunisia to create programs of entrepreneurship and economic opportunities that may halt the flow of young Tunisians toward radical groups in Syria, Iraq and Libya. Funds like the Tunisian-American Enterprise Fund, which allocates investments totaling $20 million into small and medium enterprises in Tunisia, is one attempt to jump-start Tunisia’s private sector despite political turmoil that may hinder it.

“Measurable economic progress can help bolster democratic reforms both in Tunisia and elsewhere in the region,” said Alina Romanowski, the Acting Assistant Administrator for the Middle East for USAID. “The Tunisian-American Enterprise Fund will help to address gaps in financing for entrepreneurs and small businesses that overwhelmingly drive Tunisian private sector growth.”

USAID and the budding Tunisian democracy are hoping that these economic reforms can be perfected in Tunisia and then transferred to other nations like Syria. Private sector growth, combined with financial support from the U.S. and USAID, could promote a new era of peace and prosperity for Tunisia while also creating a useful ally for the United States in the Middle East.

John Kerry has called Tunisia “a shining example to those who claim democracy is not possible in this part of the world.”

Emma Betuel

Sources: NY Times, Al-Monitor, USAID
Photo: Flickr

Important Job of a SenatorThe job of a senator is to act on behalf of the American people in legislative sessions to ensure the voice of the common citizen is heard. Each of the 50 U.S. states has two Senate representatives. Discussed below are the most important aspects of the job of a senator.

 

The Job of a Senator: Key Aspects

 

Represent Constituents
The most important job of a senator is to represent the people. A senator speaks with citizens about problems, concerns or suggestions they have for their district.

People elect their senators with the expectation that they will fight for legislation that is in the best interest of the average citizen.

Senators’ offices take phone calls and emails from citizens who want to share their opinions. They then review the information  they receive to find out the stances of their constituents on various issues.

 

Inform the Public
In addition to gathering information from members of the community, a state senator shares information with the public.

A senator must be proactive and diplomatic. They may make many visits to schools, clubs and other organizations who want to learn more about the legislative process.

Senators also hold press conferences, give speeches and speak with the media in order to educate people on current issues and inform them of current legislation.

Additionally, if a constituent is having difficulty working with a government agency, they can contact their state senator to help facilitate interaction and strengthen their voice.

 

Serve on Committees
Senators are required to serve on Senate committees. Each committee has a different focus such as health, education, business or national security.

At each scheduled committee meeting, members listen to presentations from lobbyists, organizations and other interested parties on important topics. Afterward, senators debate new bills and propose amendments to existing legislature.

 

Introduce Legislation
A senator also uses constituent feedback to identify new laws that need to be passed. Senators work with their staff to research topics, identify issues and propose laws to protect citizens.

An important part of the job of a senator is to be active and vocal in order to get as much publicity and support for a bill as possible. They consistently network with fellow Senate members and organizations to convince others why supporting their bill is important and just.

A finalized bill will pass through several committees on its way to the Senate floor for a full vote.

If said bill originated in the Senate, it is passed on to the House of Representatives for approval by Congress. If approved by Congress, the bill goes to the president to be signed into law or vetoed.

 

So what are the differences between the Senate and Congress?

The Senate and the Congress share the responsibility of drafting and passing legislature for law. However, each body has differing structures and powers.

According to AllGov’s website, the Senate is known as a “continuing body,” because its members are only up for reelection every six years, whereas members of Congress are reelected every two years. Additionally, while the rules of procedure for Congress are re-adopted for every new session, the rules of the Senate have remained continuous since 1789.

The Senate also has the sole power to approve or reject nominations by the president and treaties with foreign governments by a two-thirds vote.

Taylor Resteghini

Sources: AllGov, United States Senate, United States House of Representatives
Photo: Flickr