The United States Congress, which is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives, is the legislative body established by Article I of the Constitution. The Constitution gives Congress extensive investigative powers which are basically the powers of Judicial branch and makes it the single body with the power to initiate laws and declare war.
A total of 435 people choose to represent the people of the United States in the House of Representatives. 6 other members, without voting rights, represent the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and 4 other U.S. territories: Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands. The Representatives vote for the position of Speaker of the House, who acts as the chamber’s presiding authority. He or she is the third person in line to become President.
House members are elected every 2 years and must meet certain eligibility requirements, including being at least 25 years old, a citizen of the United States for at least 7 years, and a resident of the state (though not necessarily the district) they represent. The House of Representatives has the unique authority to introduce revenue bills, impeach federal authorities, and choose the President in the event of a tie in the Election System.
The Senate has 100 members, with 2 from each state. Before the 17th Amendment was ratified in 1913, senators were elected by state legislatures rather than by the people. Since then, citizens of each state have had the opportunity to vote for their governor every six years. The terms of senators set up so that about a third of them are up for election every 2 years. Senators need to be at least thirty years old, long-term residents of the state they represent, and citizens of the United States for a minimum of 9 years.
The Vice President of the United States acts as Senate President and has the option of breaking a tie vote. Confirmation of the President’s appointments that need approval and advice and consent for ratification of treaties is the exclusive purview of the Senate. However, the House must also confirm the Vice President’s nominee and any international trade agreements. House impeachment charges against federal officials tries in the Senate.
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate must approve the same measure with a two-thirds vote for it to go to the President for signing. The President’s veto may be overturned if the law is re-approved by at least two-thirds of each house of Congress.
Process of Legislation
The introduction of a bill in Congress is the first action in the legislative process. Legislation may write by anybody, but only Congress members can formally introduce it. The yearly federal budget is one such significant piece of legislation that generally propose at the request of the President. However, the original measure might alter significantly throughout the legislative process.
A bill send to the correct committee once it introduces. A total of 17 committees and 70 subcommittees make up the Senate, while the House has 23 committees and 104 subcommittees. Committee membership and composition might change with every new Congress to best facilitate the study of bills. Each committee is responsible for a different area of policy, while the subcommittees examine more narrowly focused policy issues. The House Ways and Means Committee, for instance, divide into Social Security and Trade subcommittees.
Subcommittees are the first to review legislative proposals and make recommendations on whether or not to go forward with the proposal. If the subcommittee votes to advance a measure, it will bring before the entire committee for further consideration. There will be a number of hearings held by various committees and subcommittees as they examine the measure at this point. Experts, supporters, and detractors are all invited to testify before the committee, and if required, witnesses may compel to attend through a subpoena.
If the measure passes in a full committee vote, it refers to the House or Senate floor, where the majority party leadership schedules a vote on the bill. An emergency bill may take up straight now. Others may have to wait months or maybe never get an appointment.
The House follows a strict protocol while debating legislation. Only a few minutes allot to each member who wants to speak, and there are typically restrictions on both the number and kind of amendments. On most measures, the Senate allows for unrestricted discussion, meaning that senators may discuss anything during their ground remarks, not just the bill at hand. A Senator may use this to filibuster a measure, delaying a vote and, by extension, the bill’s approval, by refusing to yield the floor. The filibuster may break by a supermajority of 60 Senators calling cloture, which ends the discussion and immediately brings the measure to a vote. Assuming there is no more discussion, a law may pass with a simple majority of votes.
Before the President signs a bill, both chambers of Congress must approve it. Constitutionally, the two bills must word exactly, although this rarely happens. A Conference Committee, made up of members from both houses, is formed to bring the measures into harmony. The committee members work together to draft a conference report that will serve as the final bill. The conference report approve by a majority vote in both houses. The Senate Secretary or the Clerk registers the report. The legislation is sent to the Senate President and House Speaker for their signatures. The president receives the bill.
There are a number of paths open to the President when he receives legislation from Congress. The President may sign a measure into law. If they find it to be generally acceptable, at which point it publishes in the Statutes at Large. The President has the power to veto legislation and return it to Congress. If they feel it would be a poor policy move. A veto may overturn if Congress votes in favor of the measure by a two-thirds majority in each house.
The President also has two more options. If he doesn’t veto a bill in 10 days, it becomes law. There will be no chance of override if Congress leaves before the 10 days have expired and the President does not sign the law. This is known as a “pocket veto,” and if Congress wishes to go on with the measure despite the veto, they will have to begin from scratch.
The powers of Congress
As one of three equal institutions of government, Congress gives wide-ranging authority under the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. The ability to create and amend laws rests solely with Congress, making it the only branch of government with this legislative power. Regulations issued by Executive Branch agencies have the same legal weight as the legislation that authorized them to do so. The President has the power to veto legislation passed by Congress. But a veto may override with a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers.
The Constitution’s Article I lists Congress’s authority and the subjects over which it may pass laws. Furthermore, the Constitution grants Congress the authority to pass whatever laws are necessary. And appropriate for carrying out the responsibilities of any branch of government.
A yearly budget establish as part of Congress’s exercise of its legislative authority. For this reason, Tariffs and taxes generate revenue for government activities. If enough money not generate, Congress may also approve borrowing. Legislatively directed expenditure, sometimes known as “earmarks,”. In this process Congress allocates money not to a government department but rather to a specific project.
Each chamber of Congress may investigate and demand papers or testimony from anybody. Congressional members spend much time on hearings and investigations. Refusing a subpoena from Congress might place you in prison for Congress charges. The Senate may approve presidential nominations and treaties with a two-thirds supermajority. Legislation like trade agreements and the Vice President’s confirmation need the approval of the House of Representatives before they can go into effect. Congress has the only authority to declare war.
The legislative branch consists of the House and Senate, known together as Congress. Among other powers, the legislative branch declares wars, makes all laws. Operates foreign and interstate commerce, and controls spending policies and taxes. There are many legislative branch organizations. I hope you have got a clear picture of the legislative branch by reading this article.