United States Congress

The United States Congress is the legislative branch of the federal government of the United States. It is a bicameral institution composed of two separate chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. Congress is responsible for making laws, overseeing the executive branch, and representing the interests of the American people.

House of Representatives: The House of Representatives is the lower chamber of Congress, and its members are referred to as representatives or congressmen / congresswomen. The number of representatives is based on the population of each state, with each state guaranteed at least one representative. Currently, there are 435 voting members in the House of Representatives. The representatives serve two-year terms, and the entire House is up for reelection every two years. The Speaker of the House, elected by the members, presides over the chamber and plays a key leadership role.

Senate: The Senate is the upper chamber of Congress, and each state is represented by two senators, regardless of its population. Therefore, there are 100 senators in total. Senators serve six-year terms, with staggered elections such that one-third of the Senate is up for reelection every two years. The Vice President of the United States is the President of the Senate but can only vote in the event of a tie. The Senate is led by the President pro tempore, who is typically the longest-serving senator of the majority party.

The primary function of Congress is to create legislation. Proposed bills must be passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate before they can be sent to the President for approval or veto. Congress has the power to pass laws on a wide range of issues, including taxation, defence, commerce, and more. Additionally, Congress has the authority to declare war, confirm presidential appointments, and ratify treaties.

Congress also serves as a check on the executive branch. It exercises oversight by holding hearings, conducting investigations, and reviewing the actions of the executive branch agencies. Congress has the power to impeach and remove federal officials, including the President, if they commit high crimes and misdemeanours.

Furthermore, Congress plays a crucial role in representing the interests of the American people. Members of Congress act as liaisons between their constituents and the federal government. They receive and respond to constituents' concerns, advocate for policies that align with their constituents' interests, and work on legislation that addresses the needs of the American people.

The work of Congress is facilitated through committees, where members specialise in specific policy areas and conduct in-depth examinations of proposed legislation. Committees hold hearings, invite expert witnesses, and draft legislation before presenting it to the full House or Senate for consideration.

In summary, the US Congress is a vital component of the federal government, responsible for making laws, overseeing the executive branch, and representing the interests of the American people. Through its legislative and oversight functions, Congress plays a critical role in shaping national policy and ensuring the functioning of US democracy.
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