AP American Government Model Congress Teaches Students

Zachary Sampo, Staff Writer

With the election drawing near, students are learning more and more on how our government works. Gary Blenner and his AP American Government class are putting on a mock Congress during second and third period. Second period is acting as the Senate, third period is acting as the House of Representatives, and Blenner is acting as the President.
Both of the classes will write bills and present them to the class. If the bill passes in one class, it will move onto the other class. Once both have passed the bill it will move onto the President: Mr. Blenner. He can veto to the bill and the Congress can either revise the bill or override his veto with a two thirds majority vote in both houses. Or he can also sign the bill into law and have it become a law of the classroom.
This year the majority party, in both the House and the Senate, is the Democratic Party, despite the fact that the majority of students are registered as Independents, making them most likely neutral voters.
In the House, the Democratic majority has a slim lead compared the lopsided Senate. In the House there are 18 Democrats and 16 Republicans; whereas, in the Senate there are 22 Democrats and 9 Republicans.
The Democrats in the House, are run by Tyler Reeves as the Speaker of the House, Julia Butterfield as the Majority Leader, and Sydney Selix as the Majority Whip.
The Republicans in the House are led by Minority Leader Tessa Stangl and Minority Whip Melissa Baker.
In the Senate the Democrats are run by Majority Leader Chance Dunbar and Majority Whip Collin Koss while the Republicans are led by Minority Leader Mackenzie Porter and Minority Whip Olivia Pazdernik.
“This assignment allows me to express my political views freely in class and debate with my fellow classmates,” Pazdernik said.
Both the Senate and the House have many bills that they are debating that are from a range of topics.
Many of those topics included gay marriage, the inclusion of Puerto Rico as a state, allowing revenue bills to be started in the Senate rather than just in the House, and eliminating the collage.
Both classes are either split evenly between a bill or they are all for it.
The inclusion of Puerto Rico as a state is a split bill where neither party as the edge.
However, gay marriage is a one sided bill and most people were in favor of it.
Blenner thought of the assignment as a good way to get students more involved in thinking about politics.
“The mock Congress allows the students to debate current events in a political setting and experience the process Congress undergoes to create a bill,” Blenner said.
Even though this assignment takes all semester to accomplish, the students are grateful.