Understanding U.S. Government

a_ROV-congressThe U.S. Congress 

The U.S. Congress is made up of two parts, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Congress meets at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Its primary duty is to write, debate, and pass bills, which are then passed on to the President for approval.

Other Powers of Congress
Makes laws controlling trade between states and between the
United States and other countries.
Makes laws about taxes and borrowing money.
Approves the making of money.
Can declare war on other countries.
Each Congress lasts for two years. When the two years are over, new Members of Congress are elected. We are currently in the 108th Congress. Congress meets once every year and usually last from January 3rd to July 31st, but in special cases, it can last longer.

The way that states are represented in the House and the Senate is different. Why is this? Well, when the Founding Fathers were drafting the Constitution, there were debates over how states would be represented. States with larger populations wanted more representation than states with smaller populations. Meanwhile, states with smaller populations favored equal representation. So, a compromise was made — Representation in the Senate would be equal, while representation in the House would be based on population

 

The House of Representatives

a_RPV-representation_houseIn the House, representation is based on the number of people living in each state. There are a total of 435 representatives in the House. Each member represents an area of the state, known as a congressional district. The number of representatives is based on the number of districts in a state. Therefore, states with larger populations have more representation than states with smaller populations. Each state has at least one congressional district and therefore one representative in the House.

Each representative serves a term of 2 years. When the term is over, people from that state may choose to elect a new representative or keep the same one. There is no limit on the number of terms a representative can serve.

Representatives must:
Be at least 25 years old.
Be a U.S. citizen for the past 7 years.
Live in the state they represent.

The House has special jobs that only it can do. It can:
Start laws that make people pay taxes.
Decide if a government official should be put on trial before the Senate if s/he commits a crime against the country.

 

The Senate

a_ROV-representation_senateEach of the 50 states sends 2 people to the Senate, so there are a total of 100 senators. This means that each state has equal representation in the Senate. Each senator serves a term of 6 years. When their 6 year term is over, the people from that state may choose to elect a new senator or keep the same one. There is no limit on the number of terms a senator can serve.

Senators must:
Be at least 30 years old.
Be a U.S. citizen for the past 9 years.
Live in the state they represent

The Senate has special jobs that only it can do. It can:
Say yes or no to any treaties the president makes.
Say yes or no to any people the president recommends for jobs, such as cabinet officers, Supreme Court justices, and ambassadors.
Can hold a trial for a government official who does something very wrong

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