Congress: The First Branch of the U.S. Government

Topics: United States House of Representatives, United States, United States Senate Pages: 3 (966 words) Published: July 1, 2014


Congress is our nation’s first branch of government, even in the constitution the first thing wrote is about Congress. Article I section I states “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” Congress has the ultimate authority for enacting new laws. A Bicameral legislature is how congress is organized it is made up of two separate chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The H.O.R are elected by the people of the United States and each state gets at least 1 seat in the House and based upon the population of the state that determines how many seats a state occupies. In the Senate seats are equally represented, two senators per state. Congress is a very complex institution and the bulk of work on legislation consists of what members do in committees, congress deals with a lot of things in different areas so in order for a member to become an expert in the subject area and manage workloads congress relies heavily on a committee system. The four types of congressional committees are standing committees, select committees, conference committees, and joint committees.

A standing committee is a permanent committee that exists in both the House and the Senate it focuses on public policy, labor, foreign affairs, and the federal budget. The key thing about standing committees is that neither chamber can vote on a bill unless the committee votes to approve it first, that power is called reporting legislation. There are thirty-six standing committees in congress, twenty are in the house and the other sixteen are in congress. The second type of committee is a select committee it is a committee established in either the House or the Senate for a specific purpose, these committees are temporary and are established for specific purposes such as serious national problems for example, to investigate the problem of illegal immigration and the...
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