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United States Congress

An Explanation

There are three branches of government, judicial, legislative, and executive. The President leads the executive branch, while the judicial branch's highest office is the Supreme Court of the United States. Congress has the power to make laws, as the legislative branch of the United States system of governance. Congress is the only branch of the government elected by the people. The people have given Congress the power to make the laws, to declare war, and to raise public money, as well as to impeach and try federal officers. Congress approves or impeaches the President, and has the power to approve treaties negotiated by the executive branch, as well as help out with oversight and major investigations.

There are two branches of Congress that exist, one is called the House of Representatives, and the other is called the Senate. Congress is representative of the American people as they are voted in to make the laws for us. Congress can declare war, but these days, in modern times, they twiddle their thumbs while making the laws. The House of Representatives and Senate are two separate institutions that make up Congress. Every State has an equal voice in the Senate as the upper house, while the House of Representatives is the lower half.

The House of Representatives, however, as the lower half, has representation based on a State’s population. The House has 435 members serving two-year terms, while the Senate has 100 members rotating six-year terms. In the House, speaker’s referral of bills is hard to challenge while in the Senate, any referral decision is easier to challenge. In the House, the Rules Committee is powerful, controlling times of debate, and admissibility of amendments, while the Rules of Committee is weak in the Senate, with fewer limits on the time a debate takes, or amendments.

A marked difference between the House and the Senate is that debates in the House of Representatives are limited to one hour, while in the Senate, there is unlimited debate, which may be perceived by the public as a general waste of time within the Senate. In the House, you cannot make announcements on the floor, while other non-relevant amendments can be introduced. The qualifications for being introduced into Congress are to be 25 years of age to serve in the House, while the Senate requires you be 30 or above, when seated, not elected. You have to be a US citizen for seven years in the House, while in the Senate; you have to be a US Citizen for nine years. You also have to live in the State elected, as custom, but the Constitution does not necessarily provide a representative live in the district that she or he is represented by.

The Speaker of the House is voted in by the majority party, holding one of the highest positions in Congress, voted in by the full house membership. Outside of Congress, the speaker holds major visibility through the media. The Speaker can function as an ally of the President, or in our current situation, a direct opposition to whoever is elected President without so much interference next time. Another important role in Congress is that of the Senate majority leader, who casts the tie-breaking vote. The way bills are passed are as follows; the House sends them to the Senate as bills are called up for debate. The majority leader, however, has influence that is not allowed for the House Speaker. The majority leader has a second in command who assists him by marshaling the votes of the party’s members. This is the basic structure of the US government, and now we have to talk potential changes to it in future articles.