Democracy Matters answers commonly asked questions about politics

By Katie Campbell

Staff Writer

What is the National Budget?

A national budget is a proposal of revenues and expenses that a government plans to spend within a given fiscal year.

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Source: Democracy Matters

What is the process of getting the national budget approved?

There are five main steps in getting a national budget approved. First a president must propose the national budget to Congress. Then the House and the Senate pass budget resolutions. After this the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees “markup” appropriations bills. Then the House and Senate vote on appropriations bills and reconcile differences. Finally, the president signs each appropriations bill and the budget becomes law.

PACs and SuperPACs; how are they different?

PACs, or Political Actions Committees are political committees established by different groups to spend money on elections. However they are not run by a specific candidate or political party. While a SuperPACs are also known as Independent Expenditures Only Committees. They can accept an unlimited amount of contributions, and spend unlimited amounts on certain candidates.

What is a lobbyist?

A lobbyist is a person who works to persuade government officials on particular pieces of legislature. Lobbyists often work on behalf of an organization, corporation or group to push legislature benefiting that group’s interests or needs.

Who are the Koch Brothers?

Charles and David Koch, billionaire businessmen, are the founders of a group they call “Americans for Prosperity” and are referred to as the Koch Brothers. But what the group actually does is support extreme right-wing candidates who actively fight against the economic interests of workers and their families. They also fund university research in order to control the publication of scientific articles.


What is Citizens United? (Voter record include)

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission 558 U.S. 310 (2010) is a U.S. constitutional law and corporate law case dealing with the regulation of campaign spending by organizations. By a 5-to-4 vote along ideological lines, the majority of the supreme court held that under the First Amendment corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited.

This impacts the limit at which money is legally allowed to enter political decisions and is a crucial case when looking at the impact that money has on politics.

How are you influenced by money and politics? (enter: not a topic for just political science majors)

Everyone is impacted by money in politics, whether it’s impacting student loan rates, the environment, toxic consumables. When large money is involved in politics, it makes some voices heard and viewed as more important than others when it comes to politics.

Who is Democracy Matters?

Democracy Matters, a non-partisan campus-based national student organization, works to get big private money out of politics and people back in. Students organize actions and educate the Simmons community about issues of environment, civil rights, education, health care, foreign policy, and more.

When do we meet?

Tuesday 6:30 p.m. Quadside. You can email Democracy Matters at democracymatters@simmons.edu to get involved.

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