1.  Summarize the role that political parties play in the structure and operatio

1.  Summarize the role that political parties play in the structure and operations of Congress, including their effect on congressional committees.  Then, explain the party situation in each chamber of Congress resulting from the most recent elections.  Be very specific about the Senate, including what it takes for the Democrats to pass a bill along straight party lines and the reason why the Democrats’ ability to pass legislation in the current Senate is limited even when all of the Democrats agree on a bill. 
3.  Explain why many liberals wish that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer had retired at the end of the most recent Supreme Court term rather than staying on.  Explain it in a way that would be meaningful to somebody who knows absolutely nothing about the constitutional procedure for replacing federal judges and the current political situation in the three branches of government.  Your answer should include the relevant constitutional provision, the significance of political ideology in Supreme Court selections, the current political situation, and how that situation could change even sooner than expected.
4.  When the country is in a recession, which political party is more likely to want the federal government to undertake a massive program of spending on construction and infrastructure-building projects to pump money into the economy and create jobs, and what specific economic theory is such action consistent with?  Your answer should identify that economic theory by name and also explain it further.
5.  There is a close link between fiscal federalism and social welfare policy.  Give an example of an existing social welfare program that illustrates this connection, and explain why this program is a good example of fiscal federalism.
7.  How can the current relationship between the United States and Russia best be described, and how does the current relationship compare and contrast with the relationship during the Cold War years?

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