The Functions of Congress

Topics: Legislature, Law, Legislation Pages: 2 (579 words) Published: April 27, 2006
The bicameral structure of Congress was designed to enable the legislative body and its members to perform certain functions for the political system. These functions include lawmaking, representation, service to constituents, oversight, public education, and conflict resolution.

The first of the functions of Congress is lawmaking. Lawmaking is the process of establishing the legal rules that govern society. This function is one of the two most important functions Congress, without lawmaking, society would be chaos. Lawmaking requires decisions about the size of the federal budget, about health-care reform and gun control, and about the long-tern prospects for war or peace. A majority of lawmaking decisions oftentimes comes from bills originated from the executive branch, interest groups and/or political party organizations.

Another function of Congress is representation, this being the other of the two most important functions. Representation is the function of members of Congress as elected officials representing the views of their constituents. It includes both representing their desires and demands and representing larger national interest such as farmers or the environments. Because the interests of constituents in a specific district may be at odds with the demands of national policy, the representation function is often in conflict with the lawmaking function for individual lawmakers and sometimes for Congress as a whole. There are several views on how legislators should fulfill representation (i.e. The Trustee View of Representation and The Instructed-Delegate View of Representation.).

The next function of Congress is the service to constituents. Individual members of Congress are expected by their constituents to act as brokers between private citizens and the imposing. This function usually takes the form of casework, which is the personal work for constituents by members of Congress. The legislature spends of lot of their time in casework...
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